We find that really helping [clients] be customer-centric helps them move away from products that are orientated around business lines and not customer needs.
Mark Uttley is the Group Strategy Director at AKQA, a brand experience agency spanning five continents specializing in physical and digital activations. In 2019 AKQA was received two Cannes Lion Grand Prix awards and was recently named by Gartner and Forrester as one of the world’s leading experience design and innovation agencies.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Uttley shares his thoughts on putting the customer first, misconceptions about marketing, and content collaboration.
Destination: Everywhere (2:01)
There’s a lot of interactive displays, areas where you could try Fitbits and try a variety of different digital products in the store, and [we] made it a very immersive discovery experience. So that’s a great example of a physical activation that had a very digital component to it.
Destination marketing is essentially targeting consumers in order to bring them to a retailer’s physical location in somewhat of a tourism campaign. AKQA worked with Verizon to create its destination stores built on engaging and immersive experiences, featuring a Device Wall serving as a comprehensive retail product-guide.
The website of tomorrow (2:44)
For us, it’s less about individual websites than it is entire digital ecosystems and thinking about a unique ID that signs you into all of them—be it a map or a voice service or a website—and really thinking through what is the role of each of those different things within the ecosystem.
The industry landscape is shifting at an exponential pace, even more so with the increasingly fluid digital ecosystem. Going forward, content collaboration and partnerships—even with competitors—will be crucial to success. (McKinsey refers to this as “Coopetition” in its Digital McKinsey Insights publication.)
Game on (3:33)
We look for areas where we can…add value to people’s lives. We think the new luxury is convenience. We don’t do voice for the sake of voice but we look for opportunities where it can really add value to people’s lives.
Putting the customer front (and centric) (4:35)
We help clients overcome silos by focusing on the customer, really understanding the customer journey end-to-end and helping different silos see how they all interrelate with each other.
In a new report from Forrester Research, marketers that fail to adopt customer-centric strategies across the consumer journey will be left behind. Here’s a quick summary from HubSpot of what’s needed to become a customer-centric company that expands beyond marketing.
Take me to your data (5:35)
Agencies that can help brands get to that place faster are going to be the ones that really succeed. To do it, you need to think about data, media and creative holistically to help brands build out the architecture they need to be personalized in that kind of way.
There are three different types of data, information collected from users. However, due to serious privacy concerns, the kind of data being collected is under serious scrutiny. With Google phasing out third-party cookies by 2022, first-party data firmly takes center stage. Digital Media Solutions highlights how P&G has adapted to the challenge by pairing their first-party data with machine learning.
Safe and sound (6:36)
We take a lot of care making sure that client data is very secure and isn’t shared. We want to make sure that people opt-in to the experiences that we provide them, and that we’re already adding value to them in their lives. To do that you have to understand the customer, their needs, and how you can really serve them and help them in their lives.
According to Gartner analyst Penny Gillespie, “Companies often operate under the misconception that personalization and privacy are conflicting efforts, not symbiotic opportunities. Organizations are losing their best chances to create great customer experiences due to needlessly risk-averse privacy ideas that limit the use of personal data.”
Just don’t call us advertisers (7:13)
The biggest misconception about digital marketing is that it’s advertising or communications. I see marketing as managing the end-to-end customer lifetime from acquisition and awareness to loyalty retention, repurchase, upsell, cross-sell.
IDC predicts that in just two years, demand for tailored digital marketing experiences will double every six months industry-wide. Certainly the end-to-end customer journey will be a critical component of any content strategy.
Making it personal (8:09)
Start with individual touch points and campaigns and then help brands through a journey of evolution and transformation. The ones that really get it can get a lot of results over a long period.
In “The Value of Values: Building better digital experiences with AI,” WP Engine emphasized the need to balance personalization with privacy, although studies have found that consumers are more likely to provide their data for more customized experiences. We see this with Nike, which is hyper-focused on their customers and uses analytics to personalize their experience.