It’s all about the G word...

One of the big questions we hear almost daily from our clients is how can you help us deliver stronger growth?

Simple in theory, tougher in practice: be better at understanding what customers feel and want right now and then galvanise the whole organisation behind delivering a customer experience that’s better than your competitors, every day.

This demands that Marketing spend time working with other functions more closely than they’ve ever done before, helping all functions to understand their specific role in delivering the customer experience. In short, in addition to a deep understanding of what customers want, Marketing’s role and objectives need to embrace collaborative leadership. This is a significant mind-set and capability challenge to many of the organisations we work with, from Financial Services to Pharmaceuticals.

Let me give you some examples: 

I was recently working with a client to help them develop more customer focussed plans. One of the assumptions in the plan was that there would be ‘out of stocks’ at a number of unspecified times of the year and a contingency needed to be built in to their plan. Clearly this has a fundamental impact on the experience customers have of the brand, but no-one was able to explain why the out of stocks were happening, when they could be expected to occur, and what could be done to avoid it happening again. Where was the dialogue with supply?

With another client, the Marketing Team were spending all their time and attention to get work out of the door and little or no time understanding what their customers were feeding back to them on a daily basis, despite the fact they had customer service centres on their doorstep.

So in practice, how do you start being better at understanding what customers feel and want right now and then galvanise the whole organisation behind delivering a customer experience that’s better than your competitors, every day?

3 practical steps you may want to consider:

Start in your own back yard – make sure Marketing is the beacon for customer-centricity and builds the credibility to lead the business in putting the customer at the heart of every decision. “Our customers are saying….” is a great way to get the attention of the business and the Boardroom. As a first step why not commit to spending an hour a week with your customer services team hearing from customers who want to speak to you, or talk about your brand on-line through your own social listening tools or free tools such as Social Mention, Hootsuite, Topsy or Talkwalker.

Bring clarity to what you’re aiming at – align around a clear vision and strategy for an amazing customer experience, and a broad understanding and commitment to fulfilling it through working partnerships with other functions. It could be as simple as making sure there is a good understanding of supply constraints going in to a plan, or that you set up a briefing for other functions where you explain the experience you want customers to have and ask how they can help deliver it  - you might be pleasantly surprised.

Organise to serve your Customer Design your organisation so it is enabled to deliver your desired customer experience, and doesn’t inhibit it and be prepared to flex it when customer demands evolve.  A first step is to dig out your organisation design and ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. When was it last reviewed as a whole (not just tinkering around the edges)?
  2. Does it enable the big streams of work that will deliver the desired customer experience? i.e. Brand Development - strategists and those who’ll build the key stories for the brand, Activation - those who focus on socialising the stories, and Insight - those who’ll identify actionable insights from data streams and research and feed the brand development and activation teams

When thinking about how you can deliver stronger growth it’s worth taking a look at what opportunities might be sitting right next to you.

You can download our white paper on organising around the customer experience here or for more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisation’s marketing capabilities, please get in touch. Alternatively, join the conversation and share your opinions on Twitter or LinkedIn, where you’ll find our latest content as well as some of our favourite thought-pieces from other influencers.

BRAND LEARNING: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations.