Westpac digital boss: ‘No one has got personalisation right’

CMO Disrupt panel

CMO Disrupt panel L:R Batistich, Robson, Marks, McDonagh, Egan

Very few brands have yet to master personalisation as relevancy was flagged as one of the next key objectives for marketers, a conference has heard.

Westpac head of digital marketing Simon Marks, speaking on a panel at the CMO Disrupt conference this morning, said “contextual banking” was its next target, a view shared by Westfield director of marketing and digital John Batistich.

“No one has got personalisation right, and context is key,” Marks said. “We are moving to contextual banking and that is understanding the customer in the moment. You can’t afford to be irrelevant. Everything is about timing and synchronising what you have to say.”

Batistich said only mobile can provide what marketers crave as he described the web as “clumsy”.

He told delegates at the Art Gallery of New South Wales that the desktop web is unable to identify location or “what a consumer is doing and thinking”.

Mobile on the other hand provides marketers with the ability to provide content to consumer when it will have the greatest impact.

“What mobile enables is location. The web is clumsy, it does not understand where you are or what you are thinking, feeling and doing at that moment,” he said. “With mobile it gives you location and identity and provides rich context for marketers.

“The conversation has moved on from the old paradigms of media and advertising and comms to having content in the right conversation and in the right context.”

The panel, which also included Airbnb Australia country manager Sam McDonagh and Adobe APAC president of sales and marketing Paul Robson, also suggested the oft-discussed issue of “disruption” should not be limited to just technology.

It sshoud be expanded to cover issues such as work process and staff, who sometimes do not possess the right skills in such a tecb-driven and digital age.

Robson: “We have an industry based on wanting to understand the impact of a campaign that is in market now. We don’t want to look at a campaign six weeks after and ask whether it successful or not.

“We want to be able to use the data thay we have and extract insight that can make a real difference to the business at that time.

“But we have teams of people who aren’t necessarily good at that job. We have people who are not data scientists… so when you think about disruption it can’t be about just technology it has to be spoken about in the context of process and people as well.”

Marks agreed that finding the “right mix of people” in a data age is difficult.

“Banks have no shortage of data, getting insights from the data is a whole different challenge,” he said. “Trying to find insights and act on that in real time is the real sweet spot.

“I can get a lot of reports that tell me what has happened but what I am really interested in is what is going to happen.

“It’s getting that blend of insights-led repoiring teams and blending that with your markering model, and it is not easy. I’ll be frank, it’s quite challening to find the right mix of pepople.

“You struggle to find many brands apart form the technology giants, that really have grasped this challenge of the masses of data that we have and what is important, what is not, how and what we do with it and what the customer expereice is as a result if it.”

Robson added that the need to offer relevant and timely content was becoming increasingy important as consumers become more demanding.

He said: “The tolerance for a poor customer experience is incredibly low. They do not want to be offered something they have already bought or not relevent.

“On the flip side our expectations for a great experience are incredibly high so the more brands and organisations get better at how data is used the more marketers spend time delivering amazing experiennces the more our expectations rise.

“With the expectations going up and the tolerance going down there is a big white space in the middle that is just noise and doesn’t have cut through.”

Steve Jones


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