Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, often receive a lot of attention, but for many businesses, the older generations are far more important.
As heavy consumers of news, the over-45s made up 40% of Fairfax Media New Zealand’s audience in 2015, a figure expected to grow to 42% by 2020.
“Despite the myths bandied around about Millennials, they are far from a homogenous group with the same attitudes, shopping habits, media consumption, or channel preferences,” said Grant Torrie, Fairfax Media NZ’s audience growth manager.
CMO.com recently caught up with Torrie, who will be on July 26 at Adobe Symposium 2016, in Sydney, about business-critical customer communications management and the importance of a true multichannel marketing solution. (Click here to register for Symposium 2016.)
CMO.com: Media and publishing has changed significantly over the past decade. How are your customers responding to that change and how has that affected your role?
Torrie: Many of our customers are in love with their newspapers, like old friends that have been part of each other’s lives for decades. But, like an old friend, there have been times when we’ve taken our customers for granted, and we’re working on putting our attention back into the relationship.
At Symposium I will cover the importance to Fairfax Media of a true multichannel marketing solution, particularly as it applies to inbound and outbound marketing to Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation [born from the mid-1920s to the early 1940s].
CMO.com: What are your biggest challenges at the moment?
Torrie: The challenges of traditional media are well-documented, occasionally exaggerated, but real. I think the biggest challenges we face as an audience team is moving fast enough to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by our new technology platform.
We’re a small team, so we’ve had to pick our priorities pretty carefully regarding what we roll out to our audiences and how we make that sustainable. The cultural changes are actually more important than the technology changes.
The technology allows you to talk to your audience in relevant, targeted ways, though in some respects it can make it almost too easy. It’s vitally important to be disciplined about how you use your technology to make sure it delivers better customer experiences.
CMO.com: What opportunities is technology creating for Fairfax New Zealand?
Torrie: We’re at the beginning of a business realignment where we’re becoming truly audience-focused. We are blessed to have massive, engaged audiences. There are more than 3 million people who engage with us monthly from a population in New Zealand of between 4 million and 4.5 million.
To take advantage of those opportunities, we need to really understand the value of our audiences and to talk to them in ways that remain relevant.
We are currently looking at ways to optimise our marketing technology. The opportunities we’ve identified can be broadly grouped into five streams of work: improving digital marketing literacy, optimising connectivity across marketing technologies, better understanding the value of audiences through their data, driving efficiencies, and addressing capability gaps. We are developing a range of activities for each of these streams that will help us to greatly improve our services.
CMO.com: What does the term “customer experience” mean to you?
Torrie: Our parents told us the most important thing for getting people to like us was how we treated them. It's taken a while, but business is catching up to this homily. The experiences we deliver our customers, and how we treat them, is our brand.
We’re in the very early stages of the transformation process that will deliver better experiences to our customers. There’s a lot to do, but our C-suite and audience-facing teams are fully committed to delivering great experiences through the smarter use of technology. We’re not kidding ourselves: We know we have a lot to do, and it’s vital to know that, too.
CMO.com: How does the customer experience focus affect the way your marketing is crafted and delivered?
Torrie: It affects nearly every aspect of how marketing is conceived and delivered, and it has a huge effect on the role marketing has inside the company.
As an organisation that reaches so much of the population, the chances are better than average that whenever you talk to a Kiwi, let alone someone we’ve formally identified in a customer database, you’re already delivering a customer experience in one way or another. That brings both tremendous power and a tremendous responsibility.