tomorrowthink

The Rise of the New Consumer

First published on Isobar.com

Transformation, the disruption in search, and creating data-informed, customer-centric experiences was the focus of a panel to discuss "The Rise of the New Consumer" at the Dentsu Aegis Network Beach House this morning. 

In a discussion of how digital has created infinite ways to communicate with consumers and how that is disrupting marketing, iProspect’s Global Chief Product Officer, Rohan Philips, hosted the session and was joined by Blake Cahill, SVP Global Head of Digital and Media, PHILIPS; Mike Bainbridge, Digital Innovation & Transformation, Amazon; Arthur Sevilla, Vertical Strategy Lead CPG, Pinterest; and, Dave Meeker, Global Director Emerging Technology, Isobar.

Mike opened on the impact of increased customer expectations “Customers get used to something new, that becomes the normal.. so the innovation cycle has to be constant” and Blake continued, “The new consumer is very diverse.”

Founded in 1891, PHILIPS is disrupting itself to stay relevant and has put innovation at the heart of it’s business. Blake explained, “We’re in a transformation business. We have always been product obsessed, making great products... But we are moving to being customer-obsessed.”  He went on to describe the changing relationship PHILIPS has with consumers “About 99% of what we do is through retailers. Now through deep commerce and CRM, we are learning about our consumers; and, it’s really changing what we do.”

The panel agreed that access to data and using it to drive experiences was critical to meeting the expectations of the New Consumer. Dave Meeker explained, “At Isobar we are moving our thinking around CRM to customer experience management... Brands today can say ‘I know about you, but I don’t know you.’”

Arthur Sevilla, Vertical Strategy Lead CPG, Pinterest, continued, “True personalisation requires more than an understanding of taste... If I am looking for a sofa, brands should know I like minimalist sofa.  Scaling to the new consumer taste, and capturing that is really the marketing of tomorrow.”

How people use digital to search and shop is fundamentally changing, with human interaction becoming more natural and more visually led. The entire customer journey needs to be optimised through data, as Dave Meeker explained, “The post sale customer experience needs to be modernised. With this digital economy, people don’t go shopping; people are shopping. People don’t go to find support; they expect to be supported.”

Blake shared an example of how PHILIPS is enforcing customer-centricity in its corporate teams, “We have a phone box that dials straight into our customer call centres, so we can hear people’s queries; and, we understand their challenges.” So how can brands and agencies ensure they are creating experiences that specifically respond to customer needs? Dave Meeker explained Isobar’s approach, “We have multidisciplinary teams together, to discover what is possible. We use an innovation accelerator called NowLab to learn and give a diverse set of people the opportunity to understand new technologies - from A.I. to blockchain - so they can go away and apply it to their job.”

Staying on top of technology isn’t always the answer. It’s the behaviours around how it is embraced in an organisation. Blake summarised, “It’s about the DNA of a business, using agility and enabling people to pivot.”

So, we know the approach we should take to transform, but what does the future look like? Arthur explained, “Technology will change. That we know. What is constant is creativity supporting the emotional connection between us.”

“It’s like a road with exits continually added, so there is no end to the highway. Only more road is put in front of you. And, the quicker you build the road, the faster you can travel down the highway,”
 Blake described how digital is expediting change; and, it's a journey that all agencies, brands and businesses are on.