Welcome to our new podcast series, The Experience Makers. Once a month we’ll be bringing you insight, inspiration and top tips on making the most of your martech investment to create a compelling customer experience.
Hosted by technology journalist, Gemma Milne, The Experience Makers will bring together some of the best minds from the world of marketing, business and technology. They’ll be discussing the big issues and examining trends in marketing technology and customer experience.
Our first episode, Get Platformed or Die Trying, features our very own CTO, Cleve Gibbon and Econsultancy founder, Ashley Friedlein, who has also recently launched, Guild, a private messaging app for business.
Cleve, Gemma, and Ashley at the Soho Radio studio.
I was lucky enough to sit in on the recording and was totally hooked by the discussion. I’m happy to share some of Cleve and Ashley’s nuggets, but don’t take my word for it, listen to the podcast here and subscribe to make sure that you don’t miss episode 2, coming up in July.
Get Platformed or Die Trying!
So what’s this all about? Get Platformed or Die Trying is the clarion call of our CTO, Cleve Gibbon. In this episode, he defines the platform as a business model, rather than simply a piece of technology that you can build things on. The model is characterised by the way in which producers and consumers exchange value and generate revenue across that platform.
Ashley describes the model in the same way that we talk about Software as a Service, as ‘Everything as a Service’; where the technology is an enabler but the business becomes an ecosystem that links demand and supply. We all know the successes of the disruptive leaders in the ‘Get Platformed’ race; Uber, Spotify, Netflix, Airbnb, to name just a few. But how can more traditional businesses emulate their success? What are the obstacles? And why should they try?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
What we’re talking about here comes under the big, bad banner of digital transformation. As Ashley points out, the disruptors listed above don’t even talk about digital, they don’t have people with ‘digital’ in their job title - they just are. For companies that didn’t start out like that, there is a mindset shift required that transcends the technology.
According to Cleve, the decision to commit to the technology is the easy bit; the security blanket that provides comfort. But the idea of change brings ‘visible and tangible fear of the unknown’. Change may be as fundamental as questioning the underlying business model, understanding the new skills and capabilities needed or the rhythm and processes around the way in which you work. I love the analogies to being a new parent that Gemma and the guys share! If you’re struggling to manage expectations in the boardroom around a transformation programme, you’ll find some solace and great advice here.
If it’s not just about the technology, what is it about?
Ashley gives some sound Econsultancy advice. It’s probably stating the obvious to say that digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. But what should you be looking out for on the way? And how will you know when you meet success?
Econsultancy has defined a digital business as one that has both a focus on the customer experience and a digital culture. He further breaks down a digital culture as one that has specific hallmarks; customer centricity, being data-driven and having a transparent, collaborative, learning and agile culture. As he points out, none of these have anything to do with technology. It’s all about mindset. Oh, and people….
Good people can overcome bad structure
You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’? Ashley expounds on this and talks about the need for top down and ground up change. Cleve’s example of working in a digital publishing house earlier in his career is a great warning. When he was told by a senior figure, ‘Good luck with the project but none of my journalists will ever log into your CMS’, he realised that winning people round was a two way process. When he was able to demonstrate that he could make their lives easier, they started giving back and the project finally took off. As he says, you can’t change people until they understand the pain they are in.
Why are marketers bearing the brunt of change?
Consumer adoption of technology is moving at a far faster pace than enterprise technology adoption. Since marketers are the voice of the consumer in the organisation, it’s not surprising that they are having to take the digital transformation bull by the horns and run with it. But enterprise technology is not always as easy to adopt as, say, Uber or Airbnb. So whilst marketers are under pressure to provide world-class experiences across every channel and every device; the technology, people and processes that fuel these experiences are not always set up to be as skilled, agile and responsive as they need to be. Cleve has some good advice on this...
‘Tap into your ecosystem of participants’. Know who your partners are and what they can do to drive benefits through your platform. Look to your agencies, understand their skills. For him, the best way of doing business is to work well with partners in the ecosystem.
Don’t get so hooked up on digital
Kind of strange advice from a marketing technology podcast. But as Ashley says, digital natives don’t talk about digital. And this extends to digital native companies. For them what they do is not digital, it’s just the way it is, the norm. So the challenges are different, in fact many of the disruptors are now going offline to transform. But what they have which will enable them to do this is built-in customer-centricity, smart use of data and agile ways of working. These are the goals that traditional businesses should aim for.
Okay, enough from me. I hope this has given you a taste for the great discussion, debate and golden nuggets of advice that you’ll get from The Experience Makers podcast. So download episode one today and subscribe for more next month.
Gemma will be joined by Leigh Gammons, Cognifide CGO and Jamie Brighton, Head of Product & Industry Marketing, EMEA, Adobe to explore what’s driving the experience economy. Stay tuned!