CMO Momentum 2017: What takes to build better customer journeys

From left: Asim Brown, Clive Dickens, and CMO's Azadeh Williams
From left: Asim Brown, Clive Dickens, and CMO’s Azadeh Williams

Today’s digitally savvy customer is interacting with brands across so many different channels, from email to social to test – and brands are now faced with the challenge of creating a consistent and personalised customer journey across all these various touchpoints.

But looking at strategies across startups to big business, there is no one size fits all solution to a finding that path to 1:1 and a consistent, personalised journey that truly surprises and delights customers.

Speaking at CMO Momentum in Sydney, startup Bountye’s MD and founder, Asim Brown, agreed while the ‘customer journey’ has become a bit of a buzzword, for a startup the strategy starts with acquisition.

“Our company is about providing the right product at the right time, for the right person, and as we are a startup, we need to focus heavily on acquisition,” he told attendees. “So we look at how they interact with us, such as via Facebook or email, and what they tell us through those channels. So in terms of the journey, it’s about first educating them to get them on our platform, and then once they’re eon board, it’s about personalising that experience so they stay on that platform.”

For a more traditional and established business like Seven West, the focus shifts to both customer and stakeholder experience, Seven West Media’s chief digital officer, Clive Dickens, said.

“We need to just think differently around our consumers, and admit in the broadcast industry that consumer experience is key,” he said. “And as the voice of the broadcast industry on the stage today, I can openly admit and acknowledge that this hasn’t always been the case. So really, it starts with a change of mindset about what business we’re in – and then once you have that mindset, you can utilise the strength of the brand and content and leverage technology as the enabler to rapidly improve both consumer and stakeholder experience. And given our stakeholder and consumer focus, we need to put the whole brand experience first – and that’s important to build a sustainable model for a commercially funded business.”

A non-linear customer journey

According to Brown, startups like Bountye follow a non-linear customer journey path. The early stage community-based mobile platform for secondhand goods offer users the opportunity to donate some of their proceeds to charities or schools and receive a tax-deductible receipt. With a focus on digital-only channels, their user base has grown 20 per cent month over in the first 18 months, with…

IAG nabs News Corp innovation head as chief digital officer

Brennan IT expanded its team with a double executive appointment, designed to help spearhead growth across its mid-market and channel businesses. The internal revamp sees Wayne Simmonds appointed to the role of sales manager, business development, and Andrew Borthwick to the role of head of partners and channels.
Brennan IT expanded its team with a double executive appointment, designed to help spearhead growth across its mid-market and channel businesses. The internal revamp sees Wayne Simmonds appointed to the role of sales manager, business development, and Andrew Borthwick to the role of head of partners and channels.

IAG has poached New Corp Australia’s head of innovation and product chief, Mark Drasutis, as its new chief digital officer to over digital strategy and experience.

The newly created position sits within the insurance giant’s Customer Labs and covers a broad range of brands, including NRMA, CGU, SGIC and WFI. Drasutis will report directly to IAG’s chief customer officer, Julie Batch, and starts officially in October.

Drasutis has spent the past four-and-a-half years with News Corp, initially as its head of innovation, before being promoted to chief product officer of Digital in February last year. Prior to this, he led consumer products development for Yahoo!’s European, Middle East and Africa teams, based out of the UK….

The name is Bot, Chatbot: How to shake up conversions with stirring conversations

Think back to five short years ago: Facebook IPO’d; Oxford American Dictionary named “gif” its word of the year; and your only options to order pizza were by phone or on a website.

Five years! It seems like forever ago.

Now, Facebook stock has only gone up since its much-decried stock market debut, gifs are old hat (though the “jif” vs. “gif” pronunciation debate rages on), and you can order pizza by text, chatbot, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and more.

It’s not just pizza. New technology is changing the way we behave as consumers and marketers. The landing page, once the internet’s gatekeeper and conversion hotspot, is becoming unessential. It’s a middleman that’s growing middle-aged and might not know what “the cool thing” is anymore.

The new conversion platform for brands and commerce?

Conversation.

From AI with love

Where the conversation happens matters.

According to a 2016 Ovum study, 53 percent of American and German respondents stated that they favor talking with businesses through chat apps versus the phone, mainly because of speed and convenience.

Meanwhile, 50.6 percent of consumers responding to a 2016 Ubisend survey said they believed that a business should be able to respond to their queries 24/7.

So, we have soaring usage of messaging apps, and a considerable number of our customers who believe we should be contactable 24/7. But staffing a customer service center 24/7 is costly and expends human capital by the bucketload.

Enter stage left: chatbots.

Take stage center for explanation purposes: XiaoIce, sometimes dubbed “Cortana’s little sister.”

Created by Microsoft (my employer) in 2014, XiaoIce is an AI chatbot that is based in part on Bing’s search technology. She’s designed to have a high IQ, as well as high EQ (Emotional Quotient, or emotional intelligence), to help her build strong bonds and connections with humans.

She’s able to remember and learn from previous conversations, and she is sensitive to emotions. For example, if you chat with her about a relationship ending, she’ll put you on a 33-day break-up recovery plan, checking in with you throughout.

To say she is popular would be an understatement. In just her first three days, XiaoIce was added to 1.5 million conversations on WeChat. On Weibo, she’s one of the most popular celebrity accounts. Can you imagine a bot having celebrity status? She has approximately 40 million users in China, with incredible engagement stats. The average conversation with her lasts 26 turns, and one out of four users has even said “I love you” to her!

What we learned from Xiaoice is that people want their tech to be approachable and to adjust to the way we communicate.

WeChat has proven just how profitable that can…

Comparing content production models: Which is right for your business?

If you’ve been in content marketing for a while, you’re probably familiar with different content production and development models. Two common ones are hub-and-spoke and skyscraper content. It should be noted that there are other models as well, but these are two of the more popular approaches people take.

How do you determine which one is right for your business? As with all marketing, it’s important to start with your goal in mind. What outcome do you hope to achieve from this content marketing program?

Starting with the end in mind helps us zero in on which strategy will help us the most. You also need to think about the resources you have on hand, the budget available and how much content you can produce in a specific time.

The hub-and-spoke model

The first model is often referred to as the hub-and-spoke model. In this model, you focus on producing big, in-depth content pieces that are often gated and used as an opt-in for your business. These in-depth pieces are your “hub.”

Hub content should address a potential customer’s most pressing needs. It should be in-depth enough to provide value and help them with the issues they’re facing today (or very soon).

The strategy behind hub content is like that of content customer service. You’re focused on your customer and their needs. You create content that addresses their needs.

Examples of hub content can be webinars, e-books, white papers, videos and more. They’re not one-minute teaser videos or 500-word blog posts. Hub content takes time to produce. It may involve a research study.

Hub content should align with a content pillar. In most cases, you’ll want one great piece of hub content for each pillar. Then, you create lots of smaller pieces of content that support your hub content piece.

You might have quick videos, blog posts, infographics or website content that serves as spoke content. Spoke content is generally not gated and shared freely. It’s designed to drive traffic to a site, build links or push a reader to a piece of hub content that’s gated and serves as an opt-in, where the company can get your email address.

The email address is still a very valuable commodity to a marketer. Once an email address is shared via the opt-in content, you’re often added to the customer list and may be greeted by a nurturing campaign.

When you’re following the hub-and-spoke model, you’ll create significantly more spoke content than hub. You may only create a few pieces of hub content each year but multiple spokes monthly.

Advantages of the hub-and-spoke model

Hub-and-spoke works exceptionally well for business development goals. If you’re trying to generate qualified leads for your sales team, this type of content can help. If your spoke content is well-done and addresses your potential client’s needs, people will likely share their email address to receive the hub piece.

If someone is willing to part with their contact information in exchange for a piece of content, it’s likely they feel the content is valuable and will help them in their job or with their business. They’ve essentially selected themselves as a warm lead and are showing that they may be interested in your product.

You may also be able to attract links through your spoke content. If you’re creating content that addresses your customers’ questions and solves their problems, they’ll be more likely to share it with others.

Disadvantages of the hub-and-spoke model

This is a time-consuming content…

Kids on Bikes Outride ADHD in This Cinematic, High-Energy Ad From Goodby Silverstein

Directed by Johnny Green, the spot breaks during Tour de France

Kids seeking to break the frustrating cycle of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder take to the streets on their bikes in this fast-moving ad from the Specialized Foundation, an offshoot of Specialized Bicycle Components that touts cycling’s positive effects on health and well-being.

Research shows that biking, and other forms of exercise, can help ADHD students find focus and improve their ability to pay attention. The spot aims to get the word out to parents, teachers and healthcare professionals.

Dropping during today’s coverage of the Tour de France, “Outride ADHD” follows a middle-school kid who can’t seem to sit still and concentrate on his assignments. We watch him grow increasingly edgy as he gazes blankly at a computer screen, stalks around his house and stares out the window into the distance.

“If I could have any superpower,” a youthful narrator begins, reading copy culled from interviews with ADHD students, “it would be the ability to just hit pause and just be able to catch up with this world that I felt like was moving way too fast.”

The second part of the ad shows lots of kids—actual ADHD students—riding at a furious pace through the city at night, accompanied by projections of animated wolves and horses. Through sensors attached to their bikes, they actually control the speed of the animals depending on how fast they pedal. This symbolizes the power of biking to help them manage ADHD.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners developed the cinematic 60-second spot with director Johnny Green, who, along with agency co-founder Rich Silverstein, live with ADHD.

“When we got this opportunity to create something to help kids with ADHD, we learned that many of them don’t actually need medication, but just a way to release their inner energy to be able to focus,” GS&P creative director Sam Luchini tells AdFreak. “When we talked to kids with ADHD, some of them said they felt like they were caged or trapped. So we looked at the bike as a tool for them to release that energy and free them from that cage. We wanted to find a way for people to visualize this energy being released. That’s what the animals…

Why BBDO Rolled Out a Food Truck in NYC That Served Poisonous Meals

Who’s up for some crispy pufferfish?

If a chef offered you a dish that included “paralyzing toxins” that “could suffocate you,” you probably wouldn’t eat it. But that’s the sort of choice people suffering from food allergies endure every day.

A new campaign from nonprofit End Allergies Together (or E.A.T.) and BBDO New York seeks to raise awareness of food allergies—and money to research possible cures—by illustrating the harsh reality that, for people suffering from food allergies, one bite of the wrong food can be deadly.

To that end, the agency teamed up with celebrity chef Ming Tsai to create a food truck that offered non-allergic eaters a taste of the allergic experience—by serving up poisonous dishes.

In a PSA set to air in movie theaters starting July 28, Tsai mans the gourmet vehicle, titled “Khil Mi,” while offering passersby dishes that include ingredients like toxic yew berries, and other components that might cause shortness of breath or heart failure.

The truck was set up in New York City, in what looks like a small public area across from Madison Square Park (a bustling commercial area where food vendors often hawk their wares). As an attention-grabbing stunt, it’s…

10 Tips For Marketing To Gen Z On Instagram

Shutterstock

Generation Z is currently the youngest generation — those born during or after 1995. They are the first generation to have been born when the personal computer, cell phone and internet were ubiquitous. In short, they are the first truly digitally immersed generation.

At present, Gen Z appears to be enamored with Instagram. According to findings published in The Drum, 88% of Gen Z regularly uses Instagram. Marketers who rely on Instagram to create brand awareness and drive meaningful business outcomes should be aware that there are a few unique characteristics common to Gen Z. This article will walk readers through how to go about marketing to Gen Z on Instagram.

1. Interview Gen Z Customers To Create A Persona

As with any demographic, marketers should first create a buying persona that helps everyone at the company to better understand the target customer. If Gen Z is indeed a target customer, then it makes sense for the marketing team to interview Gen Z customers and prospects to understand their demographic and psychographic makeup.

While there are many different methods that can be used to create a marketing persona, there are a few important things all marketers should understand. First, it can be helpful to know what Gen Z customers are interested in when they’re shopping for a product or service similar to the brand you represent. What influences their decision making? When are they typically interested in purchasing a product or service? What are their expectations of the buying process?

Second, marketers should understand how Gen Z customers like to consume information. Are members of Gen Z using Instagram to discover new products, or are they using Instagram to research products they have already discovered via other channels (or both)?

Finally, marketers should understand if the answers to the questions above vary in different segments of the Gen Z population. Are the differences geographic, demographic or to do with other factors?

2. Use Instagram Stories

According to a survey referenced in Social Media Week, 78% of respondents said they use Snapchat at least once a day. Furthermore, 88% of respondents said they use Snapchat to keep in touch with friends. But what does Snapchat have to do with Instagram?

Instagram Stories is a feature derived from the mechanics of Snapchat. That means that Gen Z Instagram users are likely using Instagram Stories, since it resembles how they use Snapchat. For brands interested in connecting with Gen Z customers or prospects, using Instagram Stories can be a great way to connect.

3. Experiment With Instagram Video

A report from Defy Media suggests that 50% of Gen Z respondents could not live without YouTube. These findings make contextual sense given the rise of…

Under Armour Launches New Digital Campaign Using Misty Copeland

In its new campaign launched today from Droga5, Under Armour uses iconic ballerina/warrior Misty Copeland, first African American to be named as principal ballerina. Words by Saul Williams. As we all know, personalities can be iconic—just like the logos and products they represent, they instantly signal specific values that resonate and keep products relevant.

Under Armour riffs on this well-worn meme by aligning with the values of personalities like Ms Copeland, Zoe Zhang, Jessie Graff, Alison Desir, and Natasha Hastings, who are atypical sports heroines: ballerina, actress and Taekwondo Black Belt, a stunt…

Chief financial officers take on traditional CMO tasks using data and analytics to drive customer strategy

With the drive to improve customer experience a company-wide concern, the traditional role of the CMO is evolving to include the data-centric CFO as the driver of customer experience.

A combined study between Dunn & Bradstreet and Forrester revealed that 53% of finance leaders surveyed report being responsible or accountable for customer-focused initiatives.

The report is based on 250 CFOs and EVPs of finance familiar with their organization’s use of data/analytics to inform decision and strategy.

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Because positive business results are often fueled by customer experiences, chief financial officers use data and analytics to drive home customer strategy. By insuring that it is rooted in insights that drive favorable outcomes, 36% of finance executives surveyed were identified as customer-obsessed leaders. The report also shows data and insights driven companies are 39% more likely…

How The Weather Channel Does Social Media

weather-channel-social-media

Jennifer Watson began her career as an on-camera meteorologist in Mississippi and Alabama, where she also helped manage both stations’ social media channels and weather blogs. Taking a job as a social media specialist with Atlanta-based The Weather Channel was a natural transition for her. “The Weather Channel is a dream job for a weather nerd like me,” says Watson.

CCO: How do you manage the amount and variety of information you curate every day?

Watson: At The Weather Channel, our main goal is to provide weather information to help our fans plan their day and stay safe during severe weather. One of the most critical responsibilities of my job is during severe weather outbreaks; we use Twitter to break down storm information to our followers, making sure people have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. We have meteorologists on the social media team to ensure that we’re always posting accurate information.

In addition to breaking weather information, we also post about a lot of other weather verticals, such as wildfires or drought. Weather impacts every part of your life, whether you realize it or not. It even affects the economy and what you purchase. A lot of our meteorologists are big space geeks, so we also post information about satellite launches, different astronomical events, etc. We are excited and looking forward to this year’s total solar eclipse.

CCO: There must be risks related to reporting breaking weather news via social media.

Watson: We want to make sure people have a way to get real-time information if they can’t see it on TV. Social media is a great vehicle to disseminate this information but there are definitely challenges.

Facebook isn’t ideal for breaking information because information is served up to users based on habits and preferences. Twitter, however, allows us to push out alerts as they are issued and we are able to update forecasts in real time. If we’re following tornadoes in Louisiana or Mississippi, for example, we have automated location-based alerts that go out.

My role requires long hours to be sure everything is quality-checked and to ensure that we are getting people the information they need to stay safe. With weather reporting, social media coverage is a 24/7 job; it never ends. I’m always monitoring. I don’t want to miss anything.

CCO: What about fast-moving systems in which you’re not sure of the accuracy of the information you see online? What type of guidelines do you follow to ensure that you’re sharing good content?

Watson: It’s important for all of us at The Weather Channel to post the most accurate information online and on social channels. To ensure that the correct information is being posted, we have guidelines in place and we always have a meteorologist on duty to review posts before they are published if needed. We have a lot of checks and…