‘We are complicating the shit out of it’, Spotify MD on engaging customers

Marketing teams and brands should keep their customer interactions simple and avoid “complicating the shit out of it”, says Spotify’s incoming managing director Jane Huxley.

Speaking at ADMA’s Global Forum in Sydney today, Huxley said: “The basics are the basics, we’re complicating the shit out of it, in all of the various ways we are trying to lick the customer first.”

Huxley said “the basics are the basics”

The customers of the future have the same needs as the customers of the past, Huxley noted, warning marketers and companies are “in danger of complicating needlessly the interactions that we have with customers”.

“The customer is still the same customer that it was hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

“When you think about customers talking to your company about a particular product or a service, the three categories they’re considering are the same as they were hundreds of years ago.

“Choice, cost and convenience,” Spotify’s incoming MD said.

Huxley was announced as Spotify’s new managing director in August, replacing Kate Vale who departed earlier in the year.

Before joining Spotify Huxley was the managing director of rival streaming service Pandora, which closed down later in August.

Naomi Simson, founder of Big Red Group, argued customers in the business to business sectors will change.

“In a business sense, you are either a commodity or a value and you need to sit somewhere on the spectrum.

“We need to start treating businesses as individuals because everyone in this room does business with people they like, with people they get value from or people they think have knowledge and someone they can add value to,” Simson said.

The Big Red Group’s founder said there needs to be a “fundamental shift for how we are looking at marketing”.

“We have all the strategy in the world, all the data in the world but really we need makers.

Naomi Simson, Jane Huxley, Philip Corne, Jodie Sangster and John Batistich

“There is a real shift from how a marketing department is constructed to the analysts, the people who are reading, and then the makers and we need more makers. We need people who are making conversations and creating that intimacy,” Simson said.

Huxley agreed saying creating a brand which consumers want to be a part of comes with “humanising the brand” and telling a story.

“The serving of creative is great, and being able to automate that and get the right messages to the customers, but really humanising the brand and putting a human face on it, is actually all about telling the stories of the brand,” Huxley added.

“It’s about using stories to invoke memories and it’s about using stories to ask the customers to embrace the brand that you are working on,” Huxley continued.

The Spotify MD also urged brands to listen, reminding companies “listening is listening and using your ears and not your mouth”.

“The listening piece is about having the ability to sit still and listen.

“The piece around humanising the brand is shutting up and letting the conversation happen and then influencing it using the channels of marketing,” Huxley advised.

Adding to both Huxley and Simson’s view on the future customer, John Batistich, non-executive director, consultant and governor of The Heart Research Institute, said customers needs will not change.

“While needs are not changing, expectations and behaviours are,” Batistich noted.


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