Chris Lee

Head of Social Media Knowledge

Grayling London, Soho

the Big Questions Live panel

I found myself nodding in agreement an awful lot at Brand Republic’s Big Questions Live this week, as intelligent use of customer data can drive true business transformation, and benefits for both the brand and the customer.

Nothing ground-breaking in theory, but in practice this is very challenging to implement. That’s why it was refreshing to see organizations such as LEGO, IBM, E.ON and Lebara put their heads above the parapet and talk openly and honestly about their respective journeys towards becoming data-led organizations.

Insights need not be expensive

Driving business change does not necessarily require a great deal of expense, according to E.ON’s Head of Digital, Pardeep Duggal. A simple act like showing customer feedback on your Facebook page to the board can help generate an emotional response, and I’d agree that personal feedback can form an emotional response that pure numbers alone may not. This can make key decision makers sit up, take note and ultimately help drive business transformation.

Listening is, of course, key.

“We have eyes and ears for a reason,” said Lebara’s Director of Online and Data Analytics, Martyn Jobber. “We have a massive opportunity to leverage [customer] data and we don’t take advantage of this.”

And as a word of warning, E.ON’s Duggal reminded delegates that lots of customers does not necessarily equal an audience.

Applying data to drive improvements

Jobber hit the nail on the head by stating that the conversation is happening whether organisations like it or not. They therefore have two choices; to get involved, or to pretend the conversation is not happening.

“The latter is not a good place to be,” he said.

Again, I found myself nodding in agreement.

LEGO’s VP of Marketing and Customer Experiences, Conny Kalcher, was similarly succinct.

“If you don’t know who you’re creating products for, your chances of success are low,” she told delegates.

LEGO has famously failed in the past but learned from those failures, engaged with influencers and customers, and is now enjoying something of a renaissance, culminating with the launch of The LEGO Movie. This underlines that, however bad things look for a brand – and Kalcher was candid that between 2002-4 things were pretty bleak for LEGO – finding relevance from customer insights can lead to a business turnaround. Again, data won.

We’re not there yet.

Despite the talk about using customer data to lead development and customer service, we need to be honest and say that a lot of organizations are not there yet, which is where Grayling looks to add value and assist.

As Lebara’s Jobber stated; “We’ve described where brands would like to be but the reality is they’re still in a shift.”

Martyn Jobber of Lebara

He’s right. The worlds of digital marketing and customer service are merging. It’s a conversation and organizations need to be involved to learn from customer data and comments to create a more compelling and relevant experience for them. This will ultimately help retain them and help recruit more customers based on good experience and the all-important word-of-mouth marketing.

If your organization is struggling to articulate its offering to customers and would like Grayling to help you, do please get in touch and we’d be delighted to begin a conversation.