Put customer first: Ray Velez @ Goafest 2013

06 Apr,2013

By A Correspondent


With the mantra being Digital everywhere one looks, it was not surprising that this theme predominated at the knowledge seminars on Day 1 of Goafest 2013.


The most significant points came from Ray Velez, Chief Technology Officer of Razorfish, who spoke on Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology. Emphasising that technology is transforming the customer experience, he cited a Gartner study which predicted that CMOs will own more of the technology budget than CTOs.


This meant that technology plus media plus creativity made for the new brand experience, he said. Traffic is now two-way, and the hashtag is a way for customers to communicate back to the brand.


He said there are five principles that must be embraced:

1. Put the customer at the centre.

2. Think of your brand as a service.

3. Reject silos.

4. Act like a startup.

5. Embrace diversity.


Your organization must be structured around the customer, Mr Velez said. What you get is data based on actual activity, in digital more than anywhere else. Strategy must be based on actual data from customer feedback. Marketing, technology and creativity are no longer discrete activities. If you don’t act like a startup and put the customer first, someone else will.


As an example of such proactive responsiveness, Mr Velez cited the case of the Smart Car / Smart USA Twitter reaction to negative comments about the car. The tack taken was Humour the Haters, and for every wisecrack about the car, the company put out well-thought out, informed responses which gained them a great deal of goodwill and appreciation for the wit and good humour with which they had handled the comments.


Mr Velez stressed that the organization must be structured around the customer; and that if it does not put the customer first, someone else will.


Roger Mulchandani, Director of Warc Asia-Pacific, tackling the topic of ‘Seriously Social’, said the traditional way of looking at television and digital as rivals was no longer valid. TV and digital are buddies, he said, as their roles were overlapping and often symbiotic.


Social media is certainly here to stay, he said, but he also highlighted the dangers of over-reliance on it. In any given week, less than 0.5 percent of a brand’s Facebook fans engaged in any actual engagement with the brand that they are fans of. That is how effective Facebook really is, he said, and added that we need to lower our expectations of brands on social media. Social media should be used for reach rather than loyalty, he suggested.


Nick Vale, Global Planning Director of Maxus Worldwide, speaking on “What great work looks like in our changing world”, said that the focus needs to shift from the big idea to the long idea, ie, ideas that are sustainable over time and have staying power. Digital was a great enabler, as it can make ideas now live beyond the screen, he remarked. He added that the focus should be on storytelling across channels, not silo-based thinking.


Each speaker also interacted with the audience in a Q&A session at the end of their talk, and the best two questions in each session won iPads.



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