I wanted to start with the concept of experience – again a term that I can't recall ever being mentioned when I went to uni, and yet now is increasingly becoming the primary unit of life's currency.
For consumers, especially millennials, it's all about the experience. We're seeing a delay in committing to some of the traditional big milestones such as moving out of home, buying a house, even buying a car, to enable them to be able to afford and experience as much of life as they possibly can – almost always underpinned by the ubiquitous desire to travel.
For us marketers, the rise of the experience has manifested in two main ways. Firstly, we now map and manage customer journeys – ensuring the process of interacting and buying from and using our brand is as smooth as possible.
Customer expectations are higher and tolerance for clunky experiences, broken processes and stuff-ups is lower. Everyone is empowered to tell each other about an experience – good or bad!
Therefore an increasingly important measure of success is to create 'an experience worth talking about'. Customer advocacy remains the Holy Grail – but it's even more powerful now given the reach of social media.
The second key thing about experience management for marketers is the role it is playing in our advertising – which is essentially how we convey a proposition of why you should choose us.
ANZ's current Buy Ready Home Loans campaign contains ads that don't really talk about products at all. Rather it taps into the experience of competing for a property and demonstrates the role a bank can plan in helping you when you find 'the one'.
Content and content marketing is not just a whole new category in marketing but is rapidly replacing much of the role of traditional above and below the line advertising.
Every brand is facing a similar challenge – how to create and manage engaging, relevant, shareable content that provides meaningful utility to the customer.
That utility can be many different things – information, education, problem solving, amusement, even aligning on a passion point, but either way, brands need to be clear about their purpose, stay authentic, and provide valuable content to keep a consumer engaged.
This has had rapid implications for how we allocate our budget, the skills we're hiring, the agencies we're engaging and the tools and platforms we need to manage the 24/7 content demand.
DATA & ANALYTICS
Data and analytics are the powerhouse underpinning customer experience management. As I mentioned earlier, if a customer has chosen to engage with you as a brand, they expect you to understand them – and be able to deliver relevant, personalised, real time communications.
For large companies with millions of customers this can only be done with highly sophisticated analytics and automated communications processes.
Ninety per cent of the data that exists in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. Virtually everything we do is tracked digitally and as I mentioned earlier we've seen a shift from 'digital natives' to 'data natives'. Data natives expect their world to be 'smart' and, to seamlessly adapt to them and their preferences.
Organisations that can harness the power of this data and turn it into personalised customer experiences will truly thrive in the future.
Adding to the complexity of the new marketing world is the breadth and ever-growing role of channels. The year 2013 marked the first time we spent more time on digital media than we did watching TV.
In Australia 47 per cent of all online time is spent on social media. That's 28 out of every 60 minutes. Even when we are watching TV we're consuming it on laptops, mobile and tablets (40 per cent of viewing time for teens and 35 per cent of viewing time for 18 to 35s)
More people now own a mobile device than a toothbrush. An Accenture report has revealed that by 2018, 75 per cent of interactions will be initiated through online or mobile channels.
In a banking context, although customers' banking needs remain relatively constant, technology is changing the way those needs are met. The centre of gravity is moving to digital – even more so to mobile first.
A Google study found that two in five mobile users will turn to a competitor's site if their bank is not mobile-optimised. We also know that customers who regularly use digital and online-banking options generate more revenue and are less likely to switch banks.
Fewer people are visiting bank branches, preferring to use internet banking and mobile banking for simple transactions. In ANZ's experience, branch traffic is decreasing by approximately five per cent per year and it's a trend that's occurring globally.
In a marketing context, this year we will spend three times what we spent on paid search last year – and almost all advertising call-to-actions have been simplified to a simple search term. As Google likes to put it, search is the zero moment of truth.
However, it would be a mistake to think it is all about digital. Digital is not an 'either/or' – customers don't think of channels in isolation and even 'digital customers' are still frequent users of other channels – particularly in my category of banking and finance.
For instance, many customers still want to speak to a person for complex problem resolution or face to face when discussing life's big decisions. Most home loans searches start on line, but almost all finish with some form of face to face or phone based interaction. This is most definitely about omni-channel integration not just digital.
ON ART VS SCIENCE
At school I was a pure maths and science girl. My friends would say whatever I ended up doing I'd be wearing a white coat. Here I am today – not in a white coat, but applying social and behavioural science, analytics and data driven marketing every day.
When you look at the four pillars I've discussed today it's clear that we need new and different skills in the team, different organisational designs and vastly different spend allocations. We need to be prepared to disrupt our own businesses.
With the disruption that has occurred over the last 5-10 years, and the extent to which customer experience management, content, data & analytics and omni channels have changed the shape of the function for ever, I believe that today's marketing discipline is far more science than art and it's here to stay.
It's an incredibly exciting time to be in marketing, and for a maths and science girl that suits me just fine!
This is an edited version of a speech presented by Carolyn at Omni Media’s CMO Disrupt conference on June 16.
Carolyn Bendall is head of marketing at ANZ Australia.