The ‘Marketing Freakonomics’ Roundtable Road Trip

Acquia commissioned a global report on customer experiences, then invited 50 senior marketers to discuss the findings during events across Australia.

The ‘Marketing Freakonomics’ Roundtable Road Trip

Acquia recently commissioned Regina Corso Consulting to produce a global research report on the state of customer experience. The week of the global report, Closing the CX Gap launch, we invited 50 senior marketers to a sneak peek of the findings, during three separate roundtable lunch events across Australia.

Taking place in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, our exclusive roundtable lunches treated attendees to an in-depth analysis of the Australian findings of the report, presented by Regina Corso herself – head researcher and founder of Regina Corso Consulting – all the way from the U.S.

For everyone else who wasn’t lucky enough to see Corso present in-person, you can watch a recording of her webinar presentation on-demand here. Alternatively, here are some of the key Australian findings – and what our 50 senior marketers had to say about them.

Key finding 1: Almost three-quarters of Australians will abandon a brand for another when the online experience is poor.

This statement sparked a lively debate amongst our attendees, around what a defines a “poor” customer experience. Many said “a poor experience” was too difficult to define as it’s personal to each individual consumer. For example, a poor experience could be a major issue in a single touchpoint (e.g. when a website becomes unavailable); but, equally, it could be a minor issue in a chain of unrelated events that are completely outside of a brand’s control (e.g. the customer has had a bad day, so a few additional clicks in an online purchase suddenly seems disproportionately inconvenient). What’s considered a poor experience by one customer could be considered perfectly acceptable to another.

Key finding 2: Almost two-thirds of marketers say they are dealing with technology that is just too complex to create good customer experiences.

Our marketers took a refreshingly diplomatic stance on this finding, with most agreeing that, while technology is often a barrier, marketers should be responsible for their own upskilling and understanding of technology, IT and digital – “too complex” is no excuse nowadays. However, there were also frustrations voiced around control of budgets, and that marketing and IT teams often have completely incongruous KPIs and no shared goals – two fundamental and on-going issues.

Key finding 3: Loyalty is key – almost four in five Australians are loyal to certain brands until they have a bad experience with them, at which point they move on to another brand.

This statement also opened-up a wider debate; namely, does customer loyalty even exist? Are we loyal to certain brands, or have we simply chosen them because they best suit our needs? Or perhaps we’re simply creatures of habit and being “disloyal” to brands requires too much effort (the research and administration associated with changing an insurance provider, for example). One marketer admitted that they always shop at a particular supermarket for no other reason than that they pass it on their way home from work. Food for thought.

Key finding 4: Four in five Australians say brands should not be able to use their personal data to try and market different things to them.

There were mixed opinions when it came to data privacy. While most marketers at our lunches appeared to be happy to share their personal data, there were sensitivities around brands accessing their children’s data, as well as gathering the personal data of minors for marketing purposes in general, from an ethical standpoint.

Trust, like loyalty, is a very emotive subject and many of the marketers in our groups recognised that personal data and a customer’s sense of identity are closely linked; for example, banking customers might be happy to entrust their savings to a financial institution, but feel uncomfortable sharing their personal information.

Key finding 5: Nine in 10 Australian marketers say a human touch is still needed in addition to technology for a positive customer experience.

Regina Corso

All of our marketers agreed that offline experiences (the “human touch”) are essential for a good overall customer experience; but that this is also the most difficult part of the experience to control. This is where marketing must delve into other business areas such as HR, since keeping staff motivated and happy will also encourage them to go above and beyond to keep customers happy (see what CX expert, Jeanne Bliss, has to say about this in her webinar #MakeMomProud).

Discussions on this topic moved towards artificial intelligence (AI) and the concern that many consumers don’t fully understand it. One of our marketers noted that some customers associate AI with science fiction and robots – technology that will ultimately take over their lives and livelihoods. Another referenced recent research that suggests the issue lies with negative associations with the word “artificial” and proposed this be changed to “augmented.” The conversation then moved on to educating the customer and the role of marketing in providing greater transparency around personalisation, AI, and the handling of data in order to reassure and build trust with customers.

All in all, our marketers agreed with most of the findings of the research and said they shone a light on some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. Do you agree? To hear Corso’s expert analysis of the key findings, feel free to watch the on-demand webinar recording. Alternatively, watch this space for the full research report, coming soon.

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