With the evolution of today’s consumers, marketers are having to shift their approach to business to maintain success and growth.
This was the key message coming out of Accenture SA’s Welcome to the New Era event, held recently at Mesh Club in Rosebank. At the gathering, marketing professionals swapped stories, explored case studies and shared insights.
“Today, we want to have a dialogue, to talk about what the changing world is. There are some characteristics unfolding in the global and South African market that require us to change much faster than we think we are,” said Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital for South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Hyper-relevancy is crucial
In his presentation, Hull touched on the five Ps, characteristics coming out of hyper-relevant brands that ensured their success. They were:
- Purpose – Customers feel the company shares and advances their values
- Partnership – Customers feel the company relates to and works well with them
- Pride – Customers feel proud to use the company’s products and services
- Protection – Customers feel secure when doing business with the company
- Personalisation – Customers feel their experiences are tailored to their needs and priorities
“Customers are expecting this from brands. And it doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C, it’s the same expectation and that’s the pressure on us. And if you think it’s coming in a while, it’s actually now,” Hull said.
“Hyper-relevance is a massive contributor to disruptive growth in the market, as it touches the customer and they are demanding something very different,” he added.
He cited Nespresso as a great example of a hyper-relevant brand, and praised local brands Woolworths, Discovery, FNB, and Aerobotics for their efforts, but said that overall, brands were not hyper-relevant in South Africa.
The cost of not embracing hyper-relevance
Research, conducted by Accenture SA, showed that last year, three quarters of consumers switched brands or services because of the lack of relevance. This equated to half a trillion rands of potential revenue that was jeopardised or lost.
Twenty percent of those customers also switched because the digital or online experience didn’t meet their needs.
These insights highlight just how crucial being hyper-relevant is, as well as the importance creating effective digital experiences for consumers.
“The days of having just one big idea, an amazing advert, one fantastic media release is not going to get customers to engage with brands today, that’s what we did in the past,” he stressed.
How chief marketing officers need to evolve
All this change is forcing CMOs to adapt. “The visual language of design matters more today than ever before, and that visual language of design has to be underpinned by raw materials, rocket fuel, around analytics and applied intelligence, and we need to extract meaningful insights from the data to inform the design,” he explained.
He also stressed that new technology was not an IT function, it should be embedded in the marketing capability.
What consumers want most are magical experiences and marketers and chief marketing officers are best positioned to drive these.
Lessons to marketers from Michael Jordaan
Former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan was the guest speaker at the event. He told six true, personal stories to deliver his lessons to marketers.
Here are his takeaways:
- Simply putting your brand next to others at a big event won’t necessarily get it noticed
- Social media is powerful to get marketing messages out there, but more importantly, you are able to listen to what people are saying about your brand
- If people hate your advert, look at who those people are
- Take your employees out of their comfort zones so they learn about new areas
- Marketing departments are still relevant and as much as things are changing, some things still stay the same. As long as there are people who want more customers, sales and growth there will be a crucial role for marketing
Jordaan is now out of the corporate world and is a venture capitalist. He has invested in 25 start-ups, which he says are striving towards solving real problems which matter.
He said smaller, very knowledgeable teams with more cost-effective operations are becoming the norm, and they strived to provide their services/products to consumers at the lowest possible price, or preferably for free, while exploring other revenue generating models.
“What is changing, is that some of the stuff that was core to how marketers do their jobs is no longer needed. But creativity, simplicity of messages and understanding target audience remains … A huge part of marketing has become science and this requires more accountability,” he concluded.
Here are some pics from the event:
Michael Bratt is a multimedia journalist at Wag the Dog, publishers of The Media Online and The Media. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelBratt8