The Age of the Customer
It’s been widely discussed that we’re in the midst of a ‘Generation C’ outbreak. As IBM has confirmed, this is not a demographic as the title initially suggests, it’s everyone. Consumers are now empowered constantly by their accessibility to information. Whether that’s through mobile devices or integrated social campaigns, the benchmark for best-practice customer experience (CX) design has shifted.
Whilst at The Connected Marketing Summit, part of The Connect Show, it was widely discussed by speakers that the customer’s experience is now central to all digital planning. Monica McGurk, SVP Strategy, Decision Support and eCommerce for Coca-Cola USA discussed this through the lense of a case study.
Coca-Cola’s marketing team works at optimal efficiency when they have strategic clarity from leadership, McGurk confirmed. So, as the business began to shift a few years ago, the strategic throughline needed to as well. Enabling staff to be clear on their purpose, the brand decided to focus on the ‘daily drinker’ as their target audience for particular campaigns and provide this customer with the best experience possible.
By working in a four week cycle of production and execution, the Coca-Cola team could test their data driven campaigns in the wild and pivot rapidly if required. This way, they were designing the CX based on real, tangible ROI for a specific segment of their customer base. For example, if a particular geographical location wasn’t performing as strongly as another, the targeted in-store messaging could be altered; all within a four week turnaround period.
McGurk is a firm believer in arming her team with data to make decisions, so continuously plotting the journey for Coca-Cola’s customers enables a sophisticated CX design to be implemented.
While in the realm of supermarket shopping, Dale Preston, Head of Customer Research and Insights – Marketing for Coles, affirmed this stance. Australians have changed the way they like to shop, and Coles is always iterating based on their consumer feedback.
In fact, he pressed the point that consumer feedback directly drives their customer experience decisions. Data shows that 80% of all their shoppers are female, an astoundingly large majority. So, Dale mentioned that a focus for Coles is offering their customers real value in every brand interaction. By knowing this, they can target messaging to each unique audience demographic – both online and in-store.
An example he gave was the strategically customised eDM campaigns produced for FlyBuys, which cross-promote Coles products. Based on customer data, and previous purchases, FlyBuys sends emails with products unique to their shopping behaviours. By doing this, they have a 50% click-through-rate on ‘specials’ content, proving those customers had the brand experience they wanted.
On top of this, Coles have determined that $2m of revenue still comes from their shoppable catalogue. So rather than listening to the general consensus that ‘catalogues are dying’, they are catering to customers’ demands and providing a great CX online.
These brands have it right. They can pinpoint particular areas of the customer journey and target their messaging accordingly. ‘Generation C’ now expects this, and it’s enlightening to hear that there’s a way to get it right. However, failing is also important; to test, measure and learn from things that haven’t worked for CX and make them better. Both Coles and Coca-Cola admitted this is an important factor in planning for the future. For example, both brands agree they have too many apps out in the market, but they’re being proactive in trialing and testing ways to condense them.
The pressure to have customer experience design at the forefront of not only your digital, but entire retail strategy is only going to rise higher. To make sure you’re on track, get your data working for you and use it to drive your sales even higher.