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Category Archives: customer centric marketing

A Space to Think Project

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments
SD and UXI am customer centric marketer that has been working in the field of Marketing for 20 plus years. For the last 12 months I have been investigating the service design methodology and how this is intersecting with service marketing. I have interviewed thought leaders on my podcasts, read everything I could find about touchpoint mapping, personna’s, customer experience journey mapping you name it. Since investigating

Space Innovation

I have found that my true passion is around Strategic Service Design and helping small business humanise their services as a competitive advantage. Large corporations do this internally, Shell, BT, NAB, etc but small business I feel are best placed to action ideas quickly as they have less barriers or silos to navigate through, they just need the expertise and space.
This is my passion and my mission. To create a place where we can get back to humanising services.
 If you are interesting in learning more please follow this idea becoming a reality at my Pinterest Board. Any ideas and insights or resources would be greatly appreciated. I believe the only bad idea is a single idea.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister

I have an ambition to build A Space to Think for small businesses to map out their current service and develop innovative ways to improve it. This is a multidisciplinary apporach and requires a unique space to take small businesses out of the day to day grind of running their businesses. It is a chance to step into their customer shoes and take an outside in approach to their businesses. I want to create this space and then run it as a business.


Are you making promises you can’t keep? Now you can’t hide.

By | Branding, customer centric marketing, Customer experience | No Comments

Are you making promises you can’t keep? Chances are you are and now you can’t hide . There is so much pressure to deliver more than the competitor next door that it forces many small businesses to over commit and under deliver. When your service has become a commodity it is a pressure that is constant.

However customers are now seeking authenticity, transparency and collaboration. We want to engage with brands we identify with and trust. To do this we need to be sure that you are going to deliver what you say and keep your promises!  Phoniness can now push consumers away because it is not what it says it is.

Consider clothing retailer Gap Inc. Its advertisements over the past decade, featuring line dancers and celebrities, have had several effects. First, they put off many current customers who saw images portraying Gap as different from how these individuals saw themselves. Gap no longer conformed to (and thereby confirmed) their own self-images. With each successive ad, the Wall Street Journal observed, such consumers grew “tired of [the] trendiness.” Second, in-store displays merely paid lip service to the advertisements — actual interactions with sales personnel fell far short of the energy and enthusiasm displayed in the ads.All Gap stores — thousands of them — look exactly alike.Gap’s advertising says “Unique,” but the in-store experience falls far short of what it says it is.

Or think of any airline, hotel, or even hospital; if you could only check into the ads, you’d have a great experience. When you check into the actual place, however, it so often falls short of what the ads represented. When it comes to the Is What It Says It Is standard of authenticity, the easiest way to be perceived as phony is to advertise things you are not.

The Dove real beauty campaign was such a success because it focused on real promises and achievable success.Your promises don’t have to be extra ordinary but they have to be real.A promise only works as long as it hasn’t been broken.  Don’t make promises you can’t keep because someone who has put their faith in you only to be disappointed won’t make the same mistake twice, and they’ll warn all their friends away from you as well using sites like, trip advisor, product review and more.

My favorite skincare that doesn't cost the earth!

My favorite skincare that doesn’t cost the earth!

But the converse is also true.  When you are able to over-deliver on your promise and give people more than they asked for they will eagerly become your biggest fans.

So if you are going to stand for something and make a promise you better make sure you are going to deliver it every time. Every touch point has to be delivering on that pburgerromise. We know that this has become more critical today than ever before, which is why we have built Strategic Service Design to align your service to the promises it makes.

Worst still is to lie because there is no where to hide. Make good on your promises or you will be out of business.


Coles is listening to me, and won me back!

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight | No Comments

I must admit I am a bit of an Aldi shopper. Basically cos it is cheaper! A whole lot cheaper. I love Aussie Farmers and I do a bit of this too because I am so busy and it is convenient and supports local farmers which for me is important.  This weekend I was in a rush and I knew that Coles would have everything I needed so I went there the first time in months. I am glad I did. They totally got me. They know that they can’t really win on price  with players like Aldi in the marketplace, but they can deliver differentiated product just made for me. They just get me! From packaging kids snacks, to location of stock so it is logical, to pre-packaged meals that take the guess work out of a tasty recipe and (it actually take 15 minutes to make unlike some TV recipes)

shop coles

They have a number of markets I believe they are seeking to serve with clear offerings:


  • The busy mum that is seeking convenience (pre-packaged healthy options for kids and family meals)
  • The Gen X that wants to eat well and try other cultures, ie indian, thai or veggie
  • The retiree that wants the plain label basics to fit the pension budget
  • The person who is trying to loose weight with there Coles Less brand.


So good on you Coles you have won me back. Your options and product packaging have told me that you have gone the extra mile to understand your market and while the teenager on the desk serving me was half asleep and not a least bit interested in conversation, I will forgive you this as it beats the Aldi tolley slug pack and unpack routine any day. If a grocery store can start to think like their customers, why can’t you? It is even more important as a service based business. How can you offer a service that is differentiated? Are you listening to your customers?

PS Lamb shanks that are pre-cooked for 5 hours are dellish!


Learn more at  Strategic Service Design.



The Future of Marketing

By | Business marketing, customer centric marketing, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

I was asked the other day to explain the role of a marketing manager. It is a good question because it has changed so much over the past few years. I love this Gartner map that outlines all the areas that a marketer needs to be across today.


Lets look at each section in turn.

Strategy – Understanding market opportunities, cultivating markets and customers, generating demand and awareness.

Marketing Management – Business processes and tools associated with implementing the marketing activities

User experience – the discipline associated with creating customer experiences that meet business objectives.

Analytics – the process of  discovering meaningful patterns in data.

Creative – services and tools that supports the implementation of marketing programs.

Ad Tech – managing advertising through all the channels (web, social, offline, mobile) – targeting, design and bid management, optimising and reporting and automation.

Real Time Data – can now be provided by geotargetting and other technologies to assist us reach prospects on the fly

Search – to help get found and find things on the web.

Social – applications, technologies and environments that build social communities

Mobile – communication, applications and wireless devices (smart phones, tablets, portable computers)

Emerging technologies – new technologies that consumers are adopting, 3D televisions, solar cars, google glasses. Only very early adopters. 5% of the market.

So as I see it the role is enormous. In the coming years I see more experts being created around each area of expertise. The intersection between customer centricity, strategy and technology is my sweetspot. Learn more.

To learn more go to the webinar. or download slides

Here is a good slideset on the future of Marketing

Q:Are your customers smarter than you? A: more than likely.

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

Smart Customers, Stupid Companies is a must read book. It details how we now as customers have access to more information than ever before, we have a microphone to share it and we know before we enter a conversation with you ten other competitors who we can go to at a click of a button.

We are getting smarter every day too! We download an app to answer or address any number of questions we might have. Our Iphone or Ipad are our communication, shopping, curating, productivity and relationship device. How stressed would we be if we lost it?Smart Customer image

On the company side, many are slow, inflexible, have layers of red tape, inconvenient and a non existent customer centric culture. The old approach to business doesn’t work any more. We are not getting the experience we want and with the world as our shopping trolley we vote with our click! We have access to information at a click of a button but can the same be said for employees?

The book refers to some key disruptive forces:

  • Social influence: our ability to use customer relationships in our buying journey
  • Pervasive memory: the data that is created as a digital footprint of our experiences
  • Digital Senors: devices that see, hear and feel our activities
  • Physical Web – being all encompassing. Connecting everything

Bruce Kasanoff is a speaker, author and business strategist who helps companies profit from disruptive forces, rather than fall victim to them.

Bruce helps companies understand what comes next, and how they can leapfrog their competitors. His entire career has focused on helping companies leverage emerging technologies to better grow revenues and serve their customers. Bruce with co-author  Michael Hinshaw have asserted that our tolerance to mistakes by companies we engage in is reducing. We now have more information before we engage with them.Companies are still slow to recognise this and so rather than leverage the same disruptive forces like:

  • Social influence; how we use our social contacts to check information, get their opinion instantly
  • Persvasive memory: how we leave a digital footprint
  • Digital Senors: how the world is evolving to have digital recordings of our footprint
  • the Physical web: how our world is changing to be a web of inter-related connected, internet based communications.

Companies are not keeping pace with our need to have a better experience with them. Well most anyway.Bruce believes that it is hard and hard to get away with business the old way. Give us money and we will sell you something. Companies need to use these forces to reinvent but also questions are not really are not doing a good enough job and have to do something about this.

A Bain & Company research study showed that while 80% of managers thought their firm was providing a superior customer experience, only 8% of those firms’ customers agreed.Now that seems stupid.

Listen to my Podcast with Bruce Here.


Bruce’s website Now Possible

Smart Customers website



Customer Centricity has never been more important

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Employee Experience | No Comments
As part of the run up to the 2013 Incite Summit, we asked 300+ marketing and communications executives about the key issues they see impacting on their roles in 2013.Customer Centric 1
Incite uses crowd sourcing to discuss with marketing and communication executives key marketing questions.
Customer centricity is starting to become a focus because of the social channels or the conversation is coming from customers or us. We are directing the conversation and so companies have no choice but to be transparent, customer facing, responsive and empathic. I would challenge that many marketers would not have gone this route if it wasn’t apparent that they had to. On the other hand I come at it from a customer centric mindset because it resonates with my value set.
It will be interesting those companies that give it a token gesture as part of their campaigns and those who have it as part of their DNA and more importantly how customers respond.

 Ncustomer_centric_maturityote on definitions of ‘customer-centricity

One could read these results as a more cautious reading of what ‘customer-centricity’ means for a corporate audience. The ideal espoused by Bob Thompson of Customer Think is of a ‘customer-inspired’ business, which

“Thinks deeply about what customers are trying to accomplish in their business and personal lives, and create new ways to add value before they ask”

But perhaps corporate practitioners’ understanding of ‘customer-centricity’ is lower down Thompson’s “Customer-Centric Pyramid” – at the ‘Customer-Driven’ phase:

Incite shares some brilliant interviews with different marketers.

Nicki Briggs is the Chief Marketing Officer at Chobani, the US-based Greek Yogurt company. –

“To be honest, no, we didn’t. It’s naturally a part of who we are. It’s not forced, it’s what we believe. It’s how we have always been.

One of the core principles in our company stems from the notion of ‘the golden rule’ – treating our consumers the way we want to be treated ourselves if we were buying that product.

But because my team is so closely linked to the consumer – through our visual engagement team and customer loyalty team, amongst others – we make sure that everything we’re saying is consistent with our DNA. And that it’s something that consumers can really get involved in.Everything we try to create is around being authentic and transparent like that.”

What steps have you taken to achieve that aim? What have you done to make L’Oreal more customer-centric?

Marc Speichert is the Chief Marketing Officer at L’Oreal USA. 

“We’ve done a lot of work around the path to purchase. We partnered with McKinsey, to help us rethink how consumers are actually approaching, and how they think about purchasing, beauty.

That led us to move from the traditional funnel metaphor to a more circular path to purchase. In this circular model, it all starts with consideration, then moves to evaluation, to purchase, and then to advocacy. Understanding when people move from one step to another, by each category, is very important for us.

Moving forward, we then use those learnings to think differently about our Go To Market strategies as we launch products.”

Claire Burns, Chief Customer Officer at MetLife
“My role at Metlife is leading a transformation – we’re trying to transform the company from a product-centric to a customer-centric organisation. It’s a huge change remit – in terms of transforming almost everything that we do to an outside-in perspective, from what today is very much inside-out. –

To get there, we’re doing a lot around gathering customer insights, both in terms of improving our existing experiences, and in terms of helping design new experiences for customers.

We’re also fixing a whole lot about today’s experience, and we’re making more consistent experiences across multiple products, markets, channels of communications, channels of interaction.

For us, we’re trying to stand out in terms of our brand promise as enabling and emboldening consumers, and to act in their financial interests, and what we’re finding is that all of our competitors are talking about scaring people. Scaring people into buying this product because it’s something they need, and what we’re trying to say is that this is in your control –  solutions to help you secure your financial future and realise your dreams.

We’re spinning this as ‘we’re giving you the tools, you can do this’. And to do that and to be successful in delivering that promise, we absolutely need to be customer-centric. We need to be absolutely simple, intuitive, easy to work with, and be providing these kinds of tools that help people feel that confidence – and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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