“Experience business” was the buzz phrase floating around Symposium 2016, but it came with a message from brands that have begun the transformation process– “becoming one ain’t easy.”
Here are some of the challenges APAC marketers faced in transitioning to an experience-centric customer relationship brand.
Australian health fund HCF had traditionally met all marketing objectives in-house, but there came a point where the team had to up-skill across new platforms and technology to improve their customers’ experiences.
HCF chief marketing officer Jenny Williams spoke candidly about the importance of internal buy-in before adopting new technology.
“We are not a software company, we are an insurance company. We needed internal buy-in at every level of the business, and incorporating change management is probably as important as implementing new tech,” Williams said.
Investment in technology to gain deeper analytical insight was, according to Williams, like “buying a Ferrari but still needing to know how to drive it”.
It’s been a bumpy ride, but the most important success factor when undergoing cultural change is ensuring all departments understand the strategy and its importance, Williams said. “The digital transformation started with the marketing team but is now a full business transformation,” she said.
Digital executives Lena Jenkins and Warren Davies led the charge for a full digital transformation at telecommunications provider Spark NZ three years ago.
For Spark, the catalyst for a brand overhaul started with the disruption in traditional consumer telco demand for call usage by mobile data and messaging platforms.
Since then, it’s taken three years to replace all their technology, processes, and products but has led to the company’s largest release to date.
Jenkins said one of the biggest obstacles they faced in transforming the company’s marketing strategy was in gaining internal buy-in: “When we started, trust in the team was at an all-time low, and we didn’t share a common digital strategy. We drafted the first set of requirements without talking to anyone.”
Jenkins said the business had come a long way from multiple marketing departments tackling a single online project to one virtual digital team.
ANZ head of digital marketing and sales Chaminda Ranasinghe knew something had to change when the majority of marketing efforts were leading customers to the branch.
Flagging the lack of digital efforts, Ranasinghe re-assessed the bank’s internal mindset. “We needed to change the way we think about digital,” Ranasinghe said. “Digital is an end-to-end conversion channel. We own that.”
Ranasinghe started by putting more emphasis on the marketing team to not only attract but convert online visitors into customers, and he urged the audience at Symposium to do the same. “If digital is going to be taken seriously, you’ve got to make it count. We needed to make ourselves relevant to the organisation.”
Searching for new ways to improve their digital navigation interfaces, ANZ introduced a Customer Experience Observation Lab, simulating real-life environments that customers can access online, such as sitting in a cafe or on a tram.
Ranasinghe said understanding analytical technology and nurturing the team through this transition was pivotal for success: “Having fun is vital. You need the right tools to engage your team but you also need a great culture.”