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Managing Marketing: The Seven Customer-Centric Shifts

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Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

This is Ashton’s third appearance on the Managing Marketing podcast. Ashton Bishop is the CEO of StepChange, who have been studying the way customer-centric transformations occur within organisations both successfully and unsuccessfully. In the process they have clearly defined the requirements of a successful customer-centric transformation and identified seven fundamental shifts required to create a truly customer-centric business. You can find out more on this research and the insights here.   

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners.

Today I’m sitting down again with Ashton Bishop, the chief executive at Step Change. Welcome, Ashton.

Ashton:

Thank you, Darren.

Darren:

Clearly you are a thought leader because this is your 3rd returning visit to Managing Marketing. You were here back in October 2015 with Jeff Cooper, talking about the importance of strategy, then we met again and had a conversation in May 2016 where we discussed disruptive organisational changes.

Now we’re talking about customer centricity, and you’ve been observing some changes, I believe.

Ashton:

I think it’s very interesting—73% of statistics are made up on the spot—but this one’s a Gartner stat that says 89% of businesses now compete on customer experience as a battleground versus about 36% ten years ago. It’s a longitudinal stat and the piece that sits underneath that is that when it comes to that competition front of customer experience 80% of companies believe they deliver a super customer experience whereas only 8% of customers agree.

Darren:

So there are some huge gaps there aren’t there?

Ashton:

Huge gaps.

Darren:

Almost all of the conversations we hear today, especially from traditional brand building focused marketers is that customer experience is an essential pillar or platform for building brands in this century.

Ashton:

Yeah, and it’s interesting when we come back to this concept of building brands and all the Field and Binet work that asks what’s the horizon that a brand wants to build or return into? For 6 months, if you just want a result then it’s activation, promotion but if you really want to build brand then it is a longitudinal play.

And it comes back to that definition of a brand. It’s amazing how many communication specialists are coming out with specialist marketing comms degrees and you say what’s a brand and what does it do?

Brand sets up positive expectations that are then self-fulfilling. What is the role to one, set up but then deliver? And I think that’s a big part of the gap; to get the different parts of the organisation to speak together and coordinate that value delivery and what is the expectation and delivering against it.

Darren:

It makes sense doesn’t it because fundamentally the world has changed? The genesis of the brand was the post-2nd World War, it was a media boom—television was dominant. And if you had the money you could build brands almost exclusively through communication. It was the golden era of advertising right through until the end of the century. Advertising was the way of building it.

There are now brands you can almost cite off the top of your head that have built brand saliency without actually relying heavily on advertising.

Ashton:

Yeah. I remember my first Apple iPhone, which was an Apple iPhone2. And I was effectively an unpaid demo brand ambassador as I went through and demoed the phone. There’s that real shift when people talk about social media and its prevalence; I think a lot of it is still face to face.

And a lot of it still comes on that attribute of the brand (there are 3 parts of value; getting good value, then owning the product) but that social signalling piece. And the way we connect and interact with each other and the signalling value of brands is probably as important as ever.

Darren:

There has also been a fundamental shift in trust hasn’t there?

Ashton:

Oh yeah.

Darren:

And going from an era when people trusted brands, media, communications to be honest. Now, people have really retracted back too, they trust their own experience and they trust the recommendation of people they trust so it’s quite interesting how the balance has tilted there and why customer experience and taking a customer-centric approach is so important.

Ashton:

And I think it’s interesting too, the whole gush around net promoter score. A detractor will tell 10 times as many people as a promoter and a 10 will tell three times as many people as a 9 and that really comes around as that social proof aspect. I think, in a post-COVID world, a lot of businesses are not just having to maintain a relationship online they’re having to build a relationship online.

And traditionally online was a good place to maintain and a poor place to build but then right next to your value proposition this social proof becomes absolutely inseparable and needed. All of the things like the Google reviews, positive reviews, the ability to make sure you’re very easy not just to buy but to use and recommend—that holy trinity.

Darren:

I don’t want to go into naming them but we’ve seen some really big brand campaigns launched and the customer experience is almost completely out of step with the promise that that advertising brings forward.

It’s almost like they’re still relating to the idea of building the brand on chest-beating and grandstanding and yet haven’t actually done the work to make sure they fulfil on it. And there’s nothing worse is there?

Ashton:

Yeah. If you remember the breakup campaign; it got a lot of headlines. It’s a big promise; do you deliver? And I think that accountability and transparency around if you make a big promise you better be able to deliver against that and you will be held accountable.

And the voices of the customer—it’s not just the media now, the customer will surface those complaints.

Darren:

I just want to get some clarity from you so that we’re both talking about the same thing. When we talk about customer-centricity and customer experience what’s the definition of that from your perspective?

Ashton:

We actually took this on as a bit of a project late 2019 for Step Change. We’re quite fortunate in that we get to work across a lot of different categories and sectors. We used to say we had a maternity ward and a funeral home; we were birth to burial and then we got a fertility clinic so we were fertility to funeral.

Probably about 1,000 businesses over the last decade and there was a little pocket of financial services and then when the Royal Commission rolled through they just got inverted. And we saw sector after sector and category after category get challenged with this customer-centric transformation and they found out that they couldn’t define it.

There were a lot of issues around what did being customer-centric mean versus customer experience? And we needed to go back and have a recalibration on the definitions so we held a series of seminars and workshops and did some research and got everything from industry pundits from Choice magazine, media commentators, through to CEOs who’d successively engaged in customer-led transformations and ones who had been part of unsuccessful customer-led transformations.

It was brilliant. And we said ‘Let’s not go to the textbooks; let’s go to the real-life war stories.’ So we held 3 symposium events, did some research and brought it all together. And what we distilled it down to was effectively there were 3 forces that were driving the need for reappraisal.

The first one was customer’s demands in their expectations changes. That’s that Kano model saying that customer expectations aren’t set, and across category; The moment someone gets drunk and vomits on their iPhone, drops it in the toilet, fishes it out, and turns up the next day and a genius goes, ‘Sorry, sir. We don’t have that model. I’ve upgraded you and here’s all your contacts and no receipt. No worries.’

They do that sort of Disneyland, welcome to Disneyland. It very much is that Disneyland experience where you’ve got no accountability as a customer. You don’t even need to have the receipt, done the right thing, yet you’re treated like a genius. When you’ve got the multi-billion dollar support of Apple you can afford to do that.

But that expectation then gets translated across categories and we get those Uber micro-moments of frustration now if we have to wait a minute longer for the thing to load or transaction to process. So there has been a move with customer expectations, demanding change.

There have been the innovators driving change and we’ve seen unicorn after unicorn do the Uber of or the platform business in particular categories. Not only do they drive the expectations, they make promises they often can’t fulfil. And we’ve seen the whole WeWork and many other unicorns promise the world and deliver Dapto (sorry if any listeners are from Dapto).

There’s an overpromise there. They’re not playing on the quarterly earnings; they’re doing the Bezos trick of a quarter of a century earnings and businesses that don’t just deliver a customer experience but deliver it at a certain level with commercial reality can’t compete. So there’s the innovator or unicorn challenge.

Then you’ve got the regulators who just roll into town saying you will focus on customers now. Certainly in the fin services, it was very much at the front. Anyone who got front row seats to a Hayne Royal Commission could cost you 7 million dollars just for the call up let alone if you had done anything wrong. The cost of actually appearing was off the charts.

Darren:

Having the representation.

Ashton:

Absolutely. So those were 3 of the forces.

Darren:

I completely get the customer’s expectations are changing and demanding change. The more technology is innovating their experience in the world the more they’re saying ‘Why can’t you do this?’ rather than “Thank you for doing that.’

They’re always wanting more because it’s what’s in the offering. I totally get the innovators as well. The biggest challenge for innovators is they’re still being driven by private equity and venture capital who still want the return on that investment. And they’ll play a longer game to a certain point but there has to be an underlying commercial arrangement in it.

You can’t be so customer centric without having a way to support it. Businesses are not charities.

Ashton:

They play capital leapfrog.

Darren:

Exactly. The interesting one for me is the regulators. Neo-liberalism has largely said ‘Allow the market to regulate itself’ and in a marketplace doing the right thing by your customers has to be the bottom line because that is how you’ll maximise profits.

Do you think some of this is a sort of wake up, that the idea of a pure, open market, that neo-liberalist capitalism doesn’t always lead to great customer experiences and there needs to be a certain amount of regulation and guidance to keep people’s focus on customers?

We did see in the Royal Commission into the financial sector– fees being charged to dead people, advice being given that was not in the best interests of customers but in the best interest of the people giving the advice. All of these things work against the market putting the customer centre.

Ashton:

With any market, there’s the Bell curve where most of the people do right stuff most of the time but then there are the outliers and sometimes the outliers get all the attention.

I don’t have the answer from a regulation point of view. I just think it’s interesting in Australia where people have done stupid things, it seems less that the perpetrator gets punished or called out and more that we go for the, lowest common denominator where regulations and processes come in that make everybody play down to that level.

Or complexity and compliance goes up and then you get the unintended consequences where you then solve the problem of customer disclosure with 92-page product disclosure statements that nobody’s going to read.

That led to the broader conversation about customer experience versus customer-centric transitions of how the customer experience is each individual touchpoint versus the organisational engine that’s delivering that now but planning for an even better experience in the future.

So they’re the 2 dimensions; customer experience being what the customer experience is now as the combination of all the touchpoints in communications and experience through the journey but customer-centricity being the engine that delivers that but has a vision for the future.

You can’t just ask customers what they want. If you asked customers what they really wanted they’d probably say, ‘Leave me alone and stop researching me.’

Darren:

Steve Jobs said that you’ve got to inspire people. You can’t ask them what they want; Henry Ford said they’d want faster horses.

Ashton:

Or the Gretsky quote, ‘I don’t skate where the park is, I skate where it’s going to be’. I think that’s where the shifts we’re seeing of organisations who are successfully going from the old world of brand or comms through to the integrated world are.

Darren:

There’s an industry quote that says you’ve got to be factory-in rather than factory-out. The idea that if you’re manufacturing something, it’s not about what you can manufacture, you have to step outside and ask what is it that I need you to manufacture for me?

That’s an incredibly difficult thing for an organisation to do when their whole purpose or reason for existence is to make things. It also applies to services as well.

Ashton:

Yeah, there’s an interesting book called ‘The Goal’ which says the organisation’s purpose is to make money but how do you do that? You don’t focus on making money; you focus on delivering customer value. I think that’s where we came back to this redefinition of what customer centricity means.

And you pulled out factory there; we go back to Taiichi Ohno and Edwards Deming in the 1950’s looking at the transformation in value creation that Toyota went through with lean principles—that actually applies today. Sound principles across the generations, across the decades and we actually drew on that heavily and we looked at customer centricity as the deep adoption of seeing the person behind the moniker ‘customer’. Whether it’s client, consumer, customer, we need to see that there’s a person behind there and attend to the whole person is probably the 1st bit.

The 2nd bit is maximising the value they receive and the keyword in there is value (not stuff they receive) which is a qualitative piece. And then the most prevalent piece at the moment, we’re removing anything that reduces their ease of interaction. And where we’re seeing competition go down the wrong path is where businesses are mimicking other businesses in delivering more and more and the customers are getting less and less value (an inverse relationship).

Darren:

It was interesting working with a couple of the banks; your point about copying everyone else—one of the issues one of the banks had was that they had so many offers for largely the same credit card. There were more than 50 different offers for a credit card and so it became incredibly complex to communicate.

How can you, from an advertising point of view communicate so many different offers? And I naively asked the question, why have we got all these? These were the ones we had to match our competitors. They were offering these so we had to offer it too and so we bundled all these options.

Consumers, time and time again, don’t actually want choice; they just want the version that’s right for them.

Ashton:

I love the work of Sheena Iyengar and Dan Gilbert around this. They talk about information being a barrier to action and this optimisation of choice is that more choices often lead to less satisfaction and action. And they modelled the 401K in the United States. For every additional 10 options that you could get they get fewer and fewer people taking it up because it just becomes too complex, too hard.

And that’s where traditional incumbents have been fighting each other and then a disruptor just comes in straight underneath. We even saw that in a traditional category with Audi around their ability to simplify choice and get a really good outcome, not just on value, but also on trust.

Darren:

Hmmm, it’s interesting. So what are the real shifts that you’ve noticed in customer-centricity? No one picked or predicted the pandemic and there is so much being written now about what the new normal is going to be. Clearly the work you did was just prior to this so I imagine you would see these trends continuing or even accelerating?

Ashton:

Absolutely. We did a new normal talk 4 or 5 weeks ago and then everyone had a new normal talk. We’ve just rebadged that—2020 Force and Effect. But what we’ve found and seen is less than COVID being a new generation of everything—there are particular things around hand sanitisation and safe spacing and those sorts of things.

But a lot of it is the underlying accelerators of the rise of platform businesses, the need for customer-centricity being more prevalent than ever. I get to work with a lot of CEO groups. They’re not booking the COVID new normal talks; they’re booking this talk around customer-centricity because they’re already looking to see when the cycle moves, a lot of sectors and categories are just washed out, poor competitors.

It’s the Warren Buffer quote that says, ‘It’s only when the tide goes out that you see who’s swimming with no clothes on.’ And a lot of businesses have been caught. And for the ones that are still standing, they’re seeing that as an opportunity but they also know that they’re going to need to turn the wheel around delivering customer value.

And that’s really what this comes down to. We’ve got it down to 7 shifts that we’ve observed in organisations that are scaling well, seeing brand reputation and customer value measures rise, they are thinking about things differently.

Depending on your sector, your size, it comes down to the intention.

Darren:

I’d love to hear the 7 shifts and get a sense of what the implications are.

Ashton:

Any change starts with an intention. And that’s really when we talked about the customer experience and the customer-centric nature of the organisation. It says as an organisation we should have this corporate intelligence focused at the higher level because then that all cascades down.

It’s not command and control directing but leaders inspiring better outcomes. So, the first one here is– in the past it was understanding customers to sell to them. We’ve probably all seen the old cowboy’s sales team. And we talked about the financial sector and the focus being in the wrong place. It was ringing the bell now for the organisation.

It wasn’t ringing the bell for the customer. And that’s the first shift; understanding the customer to sell to them versus understanding the customer to serve them.

Darren:

There’s a fundamental shift there in philosophy because selling is largely transactional. There is a point where the sale occurs whereas service is an ongoing relationship. That is for me a really important component of that; to start thinking about your relationship with your customer is not to just hit that point of time of making the sale.

Ring the bell and put the docket up to say I’m winning the sales game but actually see it as an ongoing relationship.

Ashton:

I love that, Darren. Your transaction was the word around it being a mindset, a transaction mindset versus a relationship mindset. The sale question says did I sell the customer and maximise the business’s value versus the servitude and relationship pieces? Did the customer get the right thing? Did they get value out of it? It’s a fundamentally different outlook.

Darren:

Well, that’s a great start. What’s next?

Ashton:

The 2nd one is understanding what customers want versus understanding what they value. It’s crazy, I still see research come through where researchers are asking customers, ‘Out of 10 how important is this to you?’ versus ‘Prioritising which of these is most important to you?’ The difference between absolute ranking versus prioritisation that forces a values question.

When we buy we really do it emotively; emotional decision and rational justification. And there are only a few things that get called out. The rest of it is just supporting noise. An organisation needs to be very clear—not just what the customer is saying ‘I want’ but what’s the evidence I value it?

I’ve told you this is more important than that or I’ve shown you it’s valuable by putting my hand in my pocket and presenting.

Darren:

Throughout this COVID lockdown there has been so much, what looks like very quick research that says customers demand brands make a stand and be leaders. And then they put numbers on it as if that somehow validates that this is absolute. It drives me crazy.

Ashton:

It does. I was at a webinar yesterday and ran a poll—90% of people agree with this and that tells you a lot about the people on this webinar and not much else. But if you think about what people value from brands and we go back to first principles. Transactional value—people, when they hand over the money, want to feel like they’re getting a good deal.

The 2nd thing is there is the usage or acquisition value of actually using it. And then there is that social signalling. All 3 are really valuable. The next one here is additional ways to serve. And that’s looking at competitors where you get 50 credit card offers versus removing any points of friction.

And it goes back to some Gartner research again; 73% of features or functions on SaaS platforms are used by fewer than 5% of the customers. So they spend a huge amount of development on just creating noise and nonsense and getting in the way. And I think we’ve seen that really play out, the businesses that have polished up the nugget or jewel of value and made it very easy to buy, use and recommend are winning.

Darren:

And you see that, not just in technology but even just in the ease of using things. There was a great sketch:

‘I’d like a ham sandwich.’

’What sort of bread would you like?’

‘I’ll have wholemeal.’

‘Do you want butter or margarine or mayonnaise?’

And by the time you’d gone through all the choices, you didn’t want a ham sandwich anymore. So what’s next?

Ashton:

The next one is capturing data to report versus looking at data to predict. There’s the work out of Singularity University that says that when you do business strategy now you should start with data in the middle of the page and you should write 2 questions underneath it. Can I get the data? And can I use the data?

People are not your greatest asset. Your factories, services and brands aren’t potentially your greatest asset. It’s the data that sits underneath that might be long-term the way you deliver value in the future.

Darren:

I love that because for me the metaphor is do I drive along looking in the rear-view mirror or am I looking ahead and want the GPS to tell me what’s up on the road ahead?

Ashton:

That’s a great example, Darren. That’s the lag metrics that a lot of businesses are still looking at and doing. And they’re getting fancier and fancier, and the graphs and depictions of where we are and they’re paying less attention to where they’re going. It’s that predictive nature of Apple and Google recommendation engines.

What’s your equivalent of that? How are you using that data to better predict what the customers want? The customers don’t know and don’t care. They want you to do your job.

Darren:

And there’s so much behavioural data around. And behaviour has been proven to be the best predictor of future needs. What people are doing now will give you great insights into what they’ll need tomorrow.

Ashton:

Absolutely. And the more they do certain behaviours the more likely they’re able to build patterns. And the more patterns they build the more habits that occur. And that’s loyalty; the Holy Grail of brand is loyalty. Understanding those behaviours that lead to the patterns that lead to the habits. That’s where certainly marketers need to put their focus and drive.

The next one here was looking at customer journeys for segments and personas. I won’t tell you the name of the business but over a decade ago I was working for a very large Australian brand that was using the mosaic segmentation and they highlighted 7 core mosaic segments and we would do these elaborate campaigns and all the research to 17 different nuances and then they’d do one TV ad for people 18 to 64.

That’s not a target audience; it’s a family reunion.

Darren:

Exactly.

Ashton:

Segmentation is only as useful as your ability to identify that person, serve them a message and get a feedback loop around it to see whether they’ve taken that action or behaviour.

Darren:

What’s the intention then? If we’re moving away from segments what’s the intention?

Ashton:

To really see every customer as an individual.

Darren:

Wow.

Ashton:

Prince Charles and Ozzy Osborne; both white, rich English males but couldn’t be more different in the way that they engage. But the challenge is how can we use technology to let people create their own individual experiences by their behaviours?

And a lot of businesses still haven’t made the move to using recommendation engines to help them guide journeys or very simple marketing automations systems that let people guide journeys based on the individual’s choices. People don’t fit neatly into a box. And this whole persona game sometimes shrouds the diversity and the fact that behaviour will trump a profile.

Darren:

We heard Gartner say the people are going to give up on personalisation because they’re just not getting their heads around it. In trying to treat people as individuals they’re actually falling into the trap of alienating people because either the data is incomplete or it’s been misinterpreted.

You’re not so much talking about personalisation of advertising; it’s personalisation of the experience.

Ashton:

Absolutely.

Darren:

Allowing people to navigate themselves rather than making some assumptions about people and potentially and often getting it hopelessly wrong.

Ashton:

Absolutely. It goes back to that 1st point—seeing the person behind the moniker ‘customer’. Your customer is not the persona. All that digital persona stuff; a lot of it is made up, inaccurate and hides the richness of your individual customers. I’m not talking about customisation or personalisation.

If businesses are trying to tailor the products they’re scaling complexity. I’m talking about the personalisation of being able to serve up different things maybe around messaging that feeling of personalisation; those nice touches. And whether it’s customer-directed or intelligence-directed, at least seeing that that’s the future.

Darren:

I remember Amazon was held up as a fine example of using data for customer experience. My boys are 3 now and they’re still serving up things I bought on Amazon 3 years ago as if they haven’t grown up. Me, as a customer, I have evolved. I’m no longer interested in infant food and nappies.

Ashton:

There’s a new book out called Bezonomics, which looks at the economics driven by Jeff Bezos. Certainly, Amazon web services being the engine that drove the profit that’s fuelled the Amazon wheel, they’re looking for different customer advantage in pricing. They’ve probably taken some of their focus off data to make sure their supply chain and delivery and whereas most other retail businesses have negative cash-flow Amazon has positive cash flows.

They will get smarter and smarter around that and they have viewed you as an individual. You will be served. Have a look at what Siri is—she’s going to get smarter and smarter and she’s always listening. The ambient processing of Hey Google I need this is going to get better and better.

So, the infrastructure is in place even though the experience isn’t perfect. I think we just need to disconnect or decouple those things because this is intentional. You’re absolutely right, Darren. Trying to be the Amazon of the early 00’s around leading that is probably too much for some businesses.

But we’re seeing the quality of the Netflix recommendations getting better and better.

Darren:

It’s a learning exercise—machine learning.

Ashton:

That’s the loop.

Darren:

So, next.

Ashton:

You’ll love this one, Darren. The role of the marketing team to the beating heart of the whole organisation.

Darren:

Love it. It’s one of my big bugbears, that so often marketing is constrained to be the comms or promotions department. And yet they’re also seen as the ones that should be driving the customer experience. You cannot drive customer experience with one lever called comms. That’s brilliant. When you’re doing these presentations and having these conversations do you find much traction or pushback?

Ashton:

We see a lot of flags being planted. When we ran one of the symposiums around this we had someone who had been firsthand at the Levi 1,000 day customer transformation and during that time they managed to halve the value of the organisation from about $7 billion to about $3.5 billion. And they had 200 people on the organisational transformation team and 5 people in new product development.

So, in the customer-centric transition they put in all of those massive teams and resources and they forgot about the customers interested in the product. And when this gets lost it gets lost in the marketing being the coloured pencils department. You always start knowing your numbers, seeing what the strategy aligns with and then marketing delivering on business objectives; that really needs to be a customer objective.

Darren:

What I like is the beating heart of the organisation—the other thing is it’s not about marketing controlling things; it’s about marketing setting the pulse for the whole organisation. Operations, retail, call centres, sales teams are not being controlled by marketing but marketing is setting a pulse that everyone dances to or is working with.

Ashton:

I guess that was the promise of the chief customer officer. In Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, he says that if you’re still seeing sales, marketing, and customer experience as 3 separate functions you’ve already lost. The whole purpose of the organisation is to deliver value in the form of happiness in that moment. And what I love about that is that happiness is the value of the experience we have.

Darren:

We’ve done 6 so far, what’s the 7th?

Ashton:

It’s probably the most challenging and most pertinent at the moment. What’s your time horizon? If you’re looking for results now, the hard work in getting all the parts in the organisation to align in that customer flywheel effect, it’s probably not right for you. The organisations like Amazon that do the 5 to 7 year plans that really look to see where value is going to be and look at the customer lifetime value is where it’s at.

All business exists between cost to acquire a customer and customer lifetime value and there are still so many organisations that can’t tell you what those two numbers are and agree to play within those posts.

Darren:

I’ve had these conversations with CFOs where I’ve pointed out that the last day of the financial year, effectively from a financial perspective, all the customers die and are resurrected the next day as zombies. They say to me I can’t book lifetime value of customers and I say it’s not about booking it; it’s about having a management process that can go over your financial years. But you can still draw a line, just don’t stop everything.

It does mean though that budgeting has to be more than year on year. You need to start projecting into the 2nd and 3rd year so that you can keep that continuum and relationship happening and evolving.

Ashton:

Ford did the 1,000 day variable budgeting method where they looked at maintaining consistency as well as investing in new things to enrich the experience but you’re absolutely right.

When we did a framework that sits underneath this, the first bit was aligning your time horizons to make sure that your business is really committed to this for the long-term and the budgets are going to line up because customers don’t fit neatly into a financial year.

You’ve got to see them as people and be prepared to deliver value to them over that lifetime.

Darren:

I remember a bedding retailer who said to me, ‘My biggest problem is people will buy a bed only once every 8 years on average and I have to be in the market to be there when they’re ready to buy a bed so they buy it from me.’ And I said but if you sell them a bed and know they’re going to upgrade every 8 years why don’t you just keep a track of that? And he looked at me like he’d never thought of that.

For a fraction of what he’d been spending all year round on advertising just to be top of mind he could’ve taken that to a very successful business. But starting to think of this long-term relationship, rather than just selling them a bed, serve them over time.

Ashton:

And that’s that personalisation thing—see them as an individual. If you’re going to speak to them in 8 years through that bed cycle you need to remind them when to flip their bed.

Darren:

Yeah, and he also said pillows, quilts and things like that have to be changed more often. So there were lots of opportunities for ongoing. This is great stuff. How can people access this? You’re doing talks and presentations.

Ashton:

We run it as a masterclass and there’s a framework that sits behind it where we have got the firsthand examples of people who had made it but most interestingly the people who hadn’t made it and where it had got stuck and fallen over. And we integrated and synthesised what we could learn from all the wins and losses into a 12-step framework.

And depending on where your organisation is at what are the things you need to do to coordinate it? For the bed guy, you gave him the assets and strategy; he then needed to line up the organisation so what does that mean around designing a journey? If we can’t get their email address because that’s going to change within 8 years; we need their phone number.

There’s also a landing page.

Darren:

Hey, Ashton, it’s great catching up. No wonder this is your 3rd return visit to Managing Marketing. We really appreciate you spending the time. This is terrific thinking and I really hope people take the time to look into it and work with you to apply it to their own businesses.

Ashton:

Thanks very much, Darren.

Darren:

One last question. In all of those symposiums what’s the worst business case study you saw?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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