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Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, November 27, 2017

How Innovators are Breaking Silos and Creating Cross-Functional Alignment

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
Summary: When silos rule, internal communications break down and it’s difficult to present a united vision, brand and compelling message to consumers. However, some innovators are redefining cross-functional integration and alignment. 

How GE is Redefining “Communications”

GE Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Deirdre Latour, noted in regards to the company’s restructuring, that there is “no longer a divide between internal and external communications.

Latour commented how the company has fused its total communications, “We view communications as completely boundary less. There are no internal communications and external communications.” The company uses a system they call “go direct” to, as Latour notes, “build a direct communications program using data, that allows us to speak directly to [all] people and …communicate with those who care most about GE.”

How Cross-Functional Alignment Is Growing Tumi 

Luggage company, Tumi, has learned that “Cross-functional alignment to help the brand grow “beyond incrementality” helped boost effective customer engagement and drive growth. Following are cross-functional insights from Charlie Cole, Chief Digital Officer at Tumi,

  • “…it’s imperative that we put all our own needs aside and focus on working together to deliver on that expectation.”
  • “All four of us [digital, creative, merchandising and brand] work together against the same goals, and we have a mutual respect for each other’s expertise, making us effective and efficient.”
  • “It’s marketing/brand’s job to best understand and engage the customer from an emotional perspective. It’s digital’s job to continuously test and measure the impact of our engagement efforts…. I focus on how to provide the most immediate feedback on what’s working and what’s not so we can maximize our tactics.”
  • “We are also able to achieve new heights due to our strong collaboration…”
Research Shows Cross Functionality Fuels Superior CX

McKinsey & Co. noted that in order to build better consumer communication brands need to fix their internal communication.

Their insights indicate that brands need to “better organize and mobilize employees around consumer needs.” Additionally, they note that “designing the customer experience entails…reorienting company cultures.”

And that, “rewiring a company to provide leading customer experience is a journey in itself…. requiring high engagement from company leaders and frontline workers alike…it takes patience and guts to train an organization to see the world through the customer’s eyes and to redesign functions to create value in a customer-centric way.” But here is their caution, “too many companies focus on individual interaction touchpoints…”

The company noted that there is a distinct difference between a single touchpoint and a total journey, noting that “…customer satisfaction … is 73 percent more likely when journeys work well than when only touchpoints do.” And that building this journey “ “…must be made clear to every employee through a simple, crisp statement of intent: a shared vision and aspiration that’s authentic and consistent…” And, that journeys should be, “the framework that allows a company to organize itself and mobilize employees to deliver value…”

Takeaways
  • Communication with consumers begins with communication across departments at all levels. If there is no clear vision shared across all functional areas, then brand messaging, goals, and strategies become jumbled with no clear objectives.
  • When companies unite teams to work together for common goals, the collaborative results produce far stronger marketing that drives growth.
  • Companies need to put ego aside to continually re-evaluate and fix what is not working and adopt new interdisciplinary actions.
Pontish Yeramyan, founder and CEO of performance consulting firm Gap International, noted on the breakdown of interdepartmental communication,” When.. department or function becomes the most important thing, they lose perspective of the bigger outcome.” Brands need to break the cycle of tunnel vision to embrace wide-scoping, all-encompassing thinking in order to provide the type of consistent, well-rounded consumer experiences that builds relationships and thereby sales and loyalty.

Monday, November 13, 2017

GM's Global Director Of CX Answers 4 Questions For Digital Innovators

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
David MingleAs global director of CX strategy and enterprise experiences at General Motors, David Mingle has spent the past four years laser-focused on transforming the customer experience.
“There is a lot of friction in today’s car buying process that we need to address,” said Mingle, who has held various management positions at Nissan North America, Chrome Systems, and Ford Motor. “At the same time, customers increasingly tell us that technology is a top purchase consideration, and they want their vehicles to seamlessly integrate with the rest of their digital lives.”
Read on for what followed.
1. What did you do with that feedback?
This insight fueled GM’s decision to make connectivity a strategic priority. We now have more 12 million connected vehicles on the road, and we have nearly 4 million customers using our mobile app. Both are incredible opportunities to introduce new and innovative experiences to our customers.
2. Why is this so important?
Research shows that engaged customers are more loyal, less price-sensitive, and more willing to talk favorably of the brands they love. We see digital, especially mobile, and vehicle connectivity as huge opportunities to move from customer interactions centered around maintenance and repurchase cycles to providing engaging content and value-added services at every key turn. It’s a game-changer for our industry.
3. What does that look like at GM, specifically? How will this improve the customer experience?
CX is still an emerging discipline for most of us. There isn’t a playbook that can tell you how to successfully innovate your customer journey. You just need to start with the basics and mature your approach over time. Develop a clear articulation of your customers’ needs and expectations. Leverage your existing surveys, social media insights, and internal or third-party studies. Don’t be surprised if you identify gaps and additional research is required.
At GM, we receive nearly half a million survey responses every month. We built a tool that flags surveys for follow-up when it identifies a low score or certain issues in the customer comments. We see meaningful uplifts in NPS and retention when successful recontact is made by our dealers or contact center advisers. This gave us a valuable early “quick win” that we could leverage in justifying further investment in our CX roadmap. And we now have a database of millions of customer surveys, giving us limitless opportunity to drive customer understanding across our organization.
We use this data and other research to map the customer journey. These maps help us identify the moments that matter most to our customers that also have high levels of customer effort or pain. These become priorities in our CX roadmaps.
As your customer understanding and journey maps mature, they will enable you to change how your company plans and solves problems. Our CEO calls it “Think Customer” and has declared it a key leadership behavior central to our ongoing success. This customer-centric mindset is driving unprecedented levels of collaboration across the many departments responsible for delivering each segment of the customer journey.
An example is our mobile app for owners. It includes features from sales, marketing, service, care, and Onstar packaged as one integrated experience, which is far easier for our customers than each business unit having their own app. That would not have happened without a common, customer-centric vision for our customers’ mobile experience.
4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Customers today expect you to know their journey, act on their feedback, and be available 24/7 on the channel of their choice. Brands that effectively leverage their customer understanding to continually simplify and personalize the customer experience will drive higher levels of loyalty, lower customer acquisition costs, and streamlined customer support.
I would say we are still in the early innings of GM’s CX transformation, but we are already seeing demonstrable results that suggest the strategy is working.
Bonus: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
My wife and I have been blessed with three incredible and differently abled children. Our oldest has autism. We spend a lot of our free time advocating for adults with disabilities. [They are active board members at Dutton Farm, a program that provides vocational and life skills training for adults with autism and other disabilities.] It’s been very rewarding to get to know and support the caregivers, teachers, and others who give so much for those in need.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Learn from Innovators Transforming Companies to Align with Customers

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
Summary: For years brands told consumers “YOU play by OUR rules.” Now, innovative companies are transforming themselves and developing new products/services built specifically to deliver on the changing needs of customers.
Consumers are increasingly disconnecting from brands that do not go the extra mile to understand their needs and are flocking to brands that do take the time to understand them.
VoC research we have conducted indicates that consumers feel that actions which demonstrate a commitment to personalization and value, build strong ties and reinforce loyalty. Conversely, when consumers feel that brands do not understand them, or fail to meet their needs, then the brand relationship is weakened and often, irreversibly damaged.
To connect with consumers, the following innovators are developing game changing methods of meeting consumer’s needs.
1. Test. Evaluate. Expand.
Nordstrom did a test run of their Reserve Online & Try In Store as a pilot and it was so successful that 80 percent of shoppers who tried it continued to use the service multiple times. So now the company is expanding the program. Consumers can select the service from the website’s product detail page. They then receive both a text notification when their items are ready to try on at their nearest location as well as an in-store notification to locate their dedicated dressing room.
Per Shea Jensen, senior vice president of customer experience at Nordstrom, “Many of our customers like to feel and try on clothes and shoes before they purchase them and we’re excited to offer them a more convenient way to do so.”
Nordstrom’s innovative use of multi-channel engagement with consumers is just one of the reasons the company has seen 45% year-over-year growth for its in-store pickup options in 2016 as well as being one of the only department stores to see positive results in its latest quarter.
2. Anticipate What Consumers Want, and then Deliver.
Apoorva Mehta founded the same-day grocery delivery start-up Instacart to meet an unmet need. “It was 2012, people were ordering everything online, meeting people online, watching movies online, yet the one thing everyone has to do every single week — buying groceries — we still do in an archaic way,” he said. So, he came up with the idea for an on-demand grocery delivery platform. The strategy behind Instacart has been to, “… innovative and respond to challenges creatively.”
Mehta noted that, “if you use new technologies or look at the problem in a different way, you can come up with a solution that’s much, much better … I liked putting myself in a position where I had to learn about an industry and try to solve problem.”
3. Don’t Compromise Brand Standards
On Amazon’s first day as owner of Whole Foods they spent their efforts cutting prices as much as 43%. This move is a direct action to demonstrate that they are serious in their promise to change the way customers shop for groceries. Amazon also understands that they can make changes, but they need to maintain the Whole Foods reputation.
“Everybody should be able to eat Whole Foods Market quality – we will lower prices without compromising Whole Foods Market’s long-held commitment to the highest standards,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer.
The company has also rolled out new services specifically for its Amazon Prime members such as its selection of 17 new Amazon Fresh meal kits, access to exclusive deals and benefits. 365 Everyday Value, Whole Paws, and Whole Catch, can be purchased via Amazon’s Prime Pantry and Prime Now food delivery programs and Prime members will be able to order food items online and pick up at an Amazon Lockers at their nearest Whole Foods.
In summary, the new bottom line is knowing customer’s needs so completely that you can transform your business to innovate and create new services that break unchartered ground in customer experience engagement and value.