This was the third time I’d found myself stood in the middle of the magnificent Google London offices. This time, it was for the IDM Annual Lecture.
The Telly Tubby fantasyland, with its grassy mounds, town hall conference room and all you can eat canteens never fail to impress. But did the lecture match in grandeur?
The future of digital
I’ve been a member of the IDM for many years now and I’m consistently impressed with their continuous growth, and also the support they give our ever-changing industry.
From industry training to supporting the brightest marketing students with sponsored summer schools to improve skills - organisations like the IDM help to close any gaps that might affect our progress as marketeers.
Lessons from ‘the world’s local bank’
Global Head of Marketing at HSBC, Amand Rendle, delivered the evening’s lecture giving an inspiring insight into the world of HSBC and its marketing challenges.
Amanda’s glittering career has seen her work both client and agency side for brands such as Debenhams, Whitbred, Levis and Topshop. This has driven her passion for pushing brands to deliver a heightened level of customer experience and engagement.
My top 5 lecture takeaways:
1. Business marketing is more about ‘what it does’ than ‘what it says’.
In days gone by - the marketing landscape was full of broadcast media. Not any more, in a world where brands have just 4 hours to prevent issues ‘going viral’, brands are judged on their actions rather than their message. If a brand can’t walk its talk then it better not try and pretend.
2. Social isn’t just a marketing platform!
Something close to our hearts; with 25% of the entire world using social media, it’s something to take very seriously.
Brands have a fantastic opportunity to use social media to create dialogue with their customers. With social listening tools like Falcon and Radian6 we can measure sentiment and advocacy, enabling us to craft our customers’ thoughts and ideas back into the products and services we provide.
3. There is no such thing as BIG data
Firstly it’s a privilege to have access to our customers’ data, so we must keep it well organised and secure, and continually nurture it. Our next responsibility is to look at the increasing ways in which we can find and harvest new, previously unfathomed data.
I have to agree, in a world that picks up buzz words quicker than Russell Brand picks up clichés; the word ‘big data’ makes my skin crawl. It is in fact just data - the issues are just the same. If we don’t enable this data to improve our services or help build profits then a trick is being missed. Today, the business with the ability to correctly identify, input, use and maintain larger volumes of data that will win.
4. An integrated customer experience
Omni-channel customers are becoming more discerning than ever before. It is the responsibility of brands to make sure the experience they want to give flows through everything. If a customer walks into your shop, visits your website, engages with you on social or talks to your call centre, that experience needs to be 100% consistent. Moreover that customer needs to feel it’s a personalised experience.
We are spoilt with the advent of robust CRM systems and data management platforms – if you want to improve your business use these expertly.
5. The biggest gap is humanism
The marketing industry consistently cites a digital skills gap, or the lack of technicians, that causes businesses to fail. However, these are known issues and they are being addressed.
For me, I think we have a severe lack of “humans”. People do business with people, and the generic automated approach to digital promotion doesn’t work for businesses that pride themselves on personality.
Marketeers, brand managers and even agencies are becoming obsessed with numbers, metrics and the technologies that combat these. Very few are concentrating on the biggest motivator of all EMOTION.
Concluding the proceedings
Amanda concluded with three takeaways:
I would argue there’s a forth almost most important one.
As an industry it is our responsibility to be human!