Entering the world of hyper-personalisation

18 01 2014

In a recent interview in the Sunday Independent Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, talked about the airline’s future marketing strategy. While the announcement of a collaboration with Google caught the attention of the headline writers I was more interested in a comment he made towards the end of the interview. “We will be doing more individual marketing” he said. “We will build individual profiles for each passenger.”

This struck a chord with me because it echoed a very interesting presentation at the CMO Summit 2013 organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland last November. Amanda Gosling, Associate Partner – Strategy, IBM, introduced the idea of hyper-personalisation. The simple idea is that mass communication, even with segmentation and tailoring to audiences, is not going to succeed in the future. What will succeed is having “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. This means having a deep understanding of each individual customer rather than a generic customer persona.

Amanda was presenting the results of a major survey entitled “The Customer-activated Enterprise“. A key finding of the report is the need to create engaging customer experiences. This is driven by social media in particular as it gives customers the ability to “bang on the door and demand to be heard”. This trend demands that a company be more than just customer centric. It needs to be customer activated. The customer needs to be part of the company’s decision-making process. There are clear overlaps here with the concept of open innovation.

The report is well worth reading if only to get an idea as to how some of the world’s largest companies are thinking about the challenges of creating an effective digital strategy and a winning customer experience.

To learn more about the CMO Summit 2013 please read my guest post on the Marketing Institute blog.

To learn more about the IBM report visit IBM’s Institute for Business Value.





CMO Summit 2013

3 12 2013

Change is an interesting process. It excites us and scares us probably in equal measures. An underlying theme that ran through the CMO Summit 2013, organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland, is how the marketing profession is constantly changing and perhaps changing at a faster rate than ever.

Peter Fitzgerald, Country Sales Director for Google UK, highlighted the rapid growth in the number of smartphones, bandwidth and in ecommerce as evidence to support the rapid growth of the internet economy. The key challenge facing mobile is to be relevant to what the consumer wants.

Francois Nicolon and Vanessa Lynch of Kantar Media challenged us to look again at the role of marketing and communications. They spoke about changing the traditional roles so that Communications looks after creating all types of content and Marketing takes responsibility for taking that content and using it to create leads and convert them into sales. They also highlighted their view of the marketing team of the future which includes experts in graphics, technology, search, content and social.

Amanda Gosling of IBM continued with the theme of change when discussing the IBM report on The Customer-activated Enterprise. Amanda pointed out that many organisations still present to the customer in a way that reflects corporate structure. She highlighted necessary changes in approach including:

  • moving from being campaign driven to being always on

  • moving from batch interactions to realtime or location aware interactions

  • increasing use of hyper-personalisation

  • having an attraction approach rather than a transaction approach

In common with Francois and Vanessa from Kanter, Amanda strongly suggested that marketing needs to parter with technology in order to achieve this level of change.

The challenge of truly delivering a high quality customer experience is to have “real connections at relevant moments delivered with relationship care”. To really deliver this require significant levels of change requires a real effort and a dedicated change agent to make it happen.

In the afternoon session Simon Bailey of Interbrand and Phil Rumbol of 101 (and formerly of Cadbury) continued to highlight the ways in which the interaction with the consumer is changing. In discussing the 10 elements of strong branding Simon included responsiveness, relevance and presence or being where the customers are, which echoes some of what Peter Fitzgerald said at the beginning of the day.

Phil Rumbol talk about how we still see marketing communications “through an outmoded lens”. Phil talked about the highly successful “gorilla” ad campaign for Cadburys which he said consumer understood immediately but corporate executives objected to as it did not include traditional element such as the product of the brand. The campaign was hugely successful increasing revenue by £150m from just £5m in spend.

Phil also spoke about the subsequent “Bring back Whispa” campaign which was essentially a customer driven initiative. As part of that Cadbury handed over the outdoor advertising to personal messages created by consumers. You can just imagine the reaction in the Legal/Compliance department when that idea was first discussed.

Change is also under way in Enterprise Ireland where Julie Sinnamon has just taken over the reins. Julie highlighted the incredible innovation and international success among Irish companies and pointed out that they contribute as much to the economy as multinationals.

To sum up, the pace of change in the way marketing works is only going to increase and the need to move away from old models, relinquish control and genuinely collaborate with customers is more urgent than ever. We are, I believe, moving from a Business to Consumer model to a Consumer to Business model driven by the power of digital channels.

This article on the CMO Summit was first published by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in November 2013.





Marketing Campaigns

2 05 2013

Marketing campaigns, and in particular the current Sky TV and Broadband campaign, were the focus of the Marketing Breakfast on 1 May 2013. Mark Anderson of Sky Ireland talked the audience through the current campaign featuring Pierce Brosnan. Three things struck me from what Dave said.

Firstly, radio is hugely important in Ireland

Mark made the point the Sky adjusted their media buying to include more radio than they do in the UK. This is because radio is such a popular medium in Ireland.

Secondly, social media is difficult

I think we all know that social media is hard to do. Sky’s experience is that social media frequently turns into a customer service channel and a very inefficient one at that. This is a real challenge for social media.

Thirdly, integrating sales and marketing is not so hard

Sky simply sit their marketing team right in the middle of their call centre team so that the marketing team can hear the issues that customers every day.

Watch my interview with Mark to learn more.





Turning Leinster Rugby into an elite organisation

6 02 2013

Mick Dawson, CEO of Leinster Rugby, addressed the January 2013 Marketing Breakfast. Mick took the audience through the journey that Leinster Rugby has taken from the amateur to the professional to the elite era. To give some perspective, when rugby union turned professional Leinster Rugby had no structures, no fan base, played three matches a season and was seen as a stepping stone to the national side. Today it has:

  1. 145 employees
  2. A turnover of €17 million
  3. 13,000 season ticket holders
  4. State of the Art facilities in UCD
  5. Plays 28 – 33 matches a season

We live in a moment where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when is it already disappearing” RD Laing

From a marketing perspective a key message that I picked up from Mick was the importance of managing people and relationships. Mick and his team have to manage relationships with professional sporting bodies, players, sponsors, supporters, volunteers and the amateur side of rugby in the province. I was very interested in the emphasis Mick put on this. For example, the supports club is a separate entity to Leinster Rugby but they meet regularly to keep in touch with what the supporters are saying.

Leinster Rugby has also invested in trying to understand their audience and their brand. They carried out a brand study to see how they were perceived by a cross-section of stakeholders including season ticket holders, clubs, schools, staff, players and sponsors. Based on the result of this study they made three key decisions:

  1. the brand was Leinster rather than Dublin and they need to expand outside the traditional south Dublin stronghold
  2. a new logo was need to drive the brand forward
  3. the profile of match attendees needed to change from men in their 50’s to families

This clear understanding of the brand has helped position Leinster Rugby as the “12 county army” and a remarkable sporting and commercial success story. Mick’s full talk is available on the Marketing Institute’s YouTube channel or you can view my interview with Mick below.





The importance of your staff

25 10 2012

At recent Marketing Breakfast Nigel Blow, the CEO of Arnotts, gave some excellent insights into the ongoing work of rebuilding the classic Irish retail brand that is Arnotts. You can see the entire presentation on the Marketing Institute You Tube Channel but what struck me was the emphasis Nigel put on the workforce.

Nigel started by saying that he inherited a very demotivated workforce. This is hardly surprising given that they had been told they were being made redundant during the planned redevelopment and were very much aware of Arnotts’ financial problems. However, despite all this, the staff were very passionate about Arnotts and wanted to contribute to its turnaround. Because of their great loyalty and passion Nigel was very keen to involved them in the process.

Nigel and his team held coordinated sessions with all staff . These sessions usually had about 100 people at a time and included the full range of staff for longing serving to new, from Arnotts staff to concession staff. The key points to come out of these sessions were:

  • feedback was hugely positive even though you would have expected negativity
  • staff were very grateful for being included even if many of them had seen it all before
  • you must implement at least some of what comes out of the session in order for them to have any credibility
  • the level of honesty was impressive: “you have to get rid of the s**t people”
  • a lot of time was spent on vision and values and on the ‘bullseye customer’
  • all of the results were communicated clearly
  • annual goals for staff were based on the tone set by the values

Nigel finished his section on staff by reminding us that change is difficult. As much as people say they want it you must be aware that when it is happening it is very difficult.

If you want to learn more check out my interview with Nigel conducted after the breakfast event.

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ihmbLXVU9s8&#8243; frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>





Content marketing is easy?

12 10 2012

I attended the Digital Thursday event organised by the Marketing Institute of Ireland last night. The speaker was Nick Biggam, Commercial Director of AIB Merchant Services. Nick and his team provide the technology behind electronic payments whether that is using your credit/debit card in-store, purchasing over the phone or buying online.

Nick outlined how they have grown their business through content marketing and SEO using a new website to position themselves as industry experts. I wrote a guest blog post on the event for the Marketing Institute which gives more detail but what struck me most was how much time Nick and his team invest in this content driven approach to marketing. What they do is:

  1. Write 3 to 6 independent, non-biased articles a week to showcase their expertise. This is done using a team of independent journalists as well as articles supplied by other industry players
  2. Serious SEO work involving 141 key words of which they rank first for 90
  3. Backlinks to the AIBMS website for additional information
  4. Sharing content via LinkedIn and Twitter
  5. Monthly email

That’s a lot of ongoing work!





Twitter is a press release

7 09 2012

I attended the Marketing Institute of Ireland’s Digital Thursday event where the speaker was Lisa Clancy, Communications Director of the GAA. Lisa took us through the digital journey that the GAA is going through. I wrote a guest post for the MII blog on the event which give more detail than I cover here.

One aspect I want to focus on here is the GAA’s use of Twitter and a brilliant piece of advice Lisa gave to us: Twitter is a press release. If you are managing a corporate Twitter account this is vital to remember. Based on Lisa’s experience with the GAA here are some questions that we should all ask ourselves before tweeting.

  1. Is the information correct? If you are the official voice of your organisation do not tweet or retweet rumours or unchecked statements.
  2. Is this the official view of the organisation? It is all too easy to tweet a personal view but if you are using a corporate account then you should be careful of this. Lisa gave the example of an over enthusiastic county PRO criticising the referee at a match through the official County Board Twitter account.
  3. Is the tweet relevant? If you have a diverse audience then tweeting information that is only relevant to a tiny minority of your followers will simply annoy them. Don’t tweet just because you can.
  4. Get your timing right. Use your analytics and any other tools available to find out when your audience is most active and time your tweets for then.

Simple stuff but good advice all the same.