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Top issues and capabilities required for marketers: practitioners weigh in

Part two of a four-part series

Need marketing advice for what works, what doesn’t and how to do more with less? Marketing professionals from Staples, eBucks and banking share their strategies for understanding customers, social marketing and more. Read on and watch the Q&A videos to find out what worked for them.

David Chong on marketing in Asia

David Chong, SVP of Marketing at a leading Malaysian bank

David’s primary focus is:

  • Defining and communicating strategy.
  • Timing and triggers.

Defining and communicating strategy
David articulated 3 challenges:

  • Understanding which products, offers or services will be of interest to your customers.
  • Communication from executive management.
  • Central capability to ensure alignment.

Timing and triggers
The fundamental challenge for all marketers is one of execution – offering the right product to the right person at the right time. This is complicated given that everyone is different.

There is a greater emphasis on understanding the context of event triggers, personalizing actions and evaluating performance in a series of experiments or test and learn loops.

The future …
David envisions a continued emphasis on developing better segmentation profiles – ultimately getting to a segment of one. Customer needs will be identified in real time, not just for your best customers, but for the masses.

Jim Foreman on doing more with less

Jim Foreman, Director of Circulation and Analytics at Staples Inc.

Jim identified three key challenges:

  • Macro economic conditions.
  • Understanding the customer.
  • Understanding the buying process.

Macro-economic conditions
Marketing as a percent of sales is expected to stay in line. There are two basic tactics impacted – acquisition and retention. But it’s not a case of doing either or – it’s about getting the right balance.

Understanding the customer
Your strategy for engagement with a Fortune 500 company will be very different than to a smaller business and totally different for an individual consumer. The challenge centers around three questions:

  • What makes a good customer?
  • What are their characteristics?
  • How do you appeal to them?

Jim suggests macro-economic conditions force you to look at this as an optimization challenge – how to get the biggest bang for your buck – and that requires modeling and data analysis. Access to data and the explosion of channels makes the task harder.

Understanding the buying process
It’s no longer about identifying fit then making an offer through the most appropriate channel; it’s about understanding how a person makes a decision and then providing value at each step of that process.

Jim talks about the challenges associated with attributing success, understanding influence and ensuring the best marketing actions are taken across the whole business – not just one part of it.

The future …
The mantra will be one of taking data driven decisions. The biggest challenge will be that as time goes on, there will be more and more sources of data to mine; more channels to consider and even greater complexity. It will become more challenging to uncover new and insightful findings in the data.

Warren Murray weighs in on social marketing challenges

Warren Murray, Head of Business Decision Support at eBucks

Head of Business Decision Support at eBucks, South Africa’s leading multi-partner rewards program.

Issues …

  • Getting the right members active within the program
  • Knowing the specifics about what members use eBucks for

Getting the right members active within the program
Interestingly, eBucks isn’t looking for acquisition targets i.e., new members. 90% of their customers enter the program by opening a bank account with First National Bank, South Africa (FNB).

The challenge for eBucks is to nurture or incentivize the right behavior of their partner’s customers so that they feel rewarded and remain or improve loyalty.

Getting permission to contact customers, knowing where someone lives or how to contact them is a real issue in South Africa. Integrating data, managing quality and tracking usage becomes the main focus to address this challenge.

Knowing the specifics about what members use eBucks for
If you are trying to drive behavior, you need to know what a customer will be interested in to be successful and efficient. eBucks analyzes both category of offer and frequency to identify patterns that will help them make the right offer at the right time. The same information has been used to optimize which products they stock and promote on their web store leading to improved customer experiences and reduced cost.

The future …
Every time a new channel or partner is added to the program , it has woken up interest in customers that appeared to be dormant in terms of earning or spending eBucks.

But this time, social has the promise of awakening far more interest. By combining existing data with interests, opinions and a person’s circle of friends – the possibilities for relevant marketing go through the roof. Not just in terms of improving relevance, but experimenting with incentives and experiences.

For more, download the white paper Driving Profitable Growth: The Practitioner Perspective, the second of our four-part Driving Profitable Growth series.

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