William Hill PLC, one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies and trusted UK high-street brand, has recently undergone a significant strategy review. The strategic changes came in response to the fact that more and more of its customers want to engage with the company via digital and increasingly also via mobile platforms — which at Forrester we refer to as the mobile mind shift.
In this new business context, William Hill now focuses on three main initiatives for expansion: 1) develop a wider product range, 2) encourage greater multichannel usage, and 3) increase internationalisation. To better understand how it is tackling these business priorities and, in particular, how the firm is driving multichannel usage by delivering visible value (and in context), we invited Kristof Fahy, William Hill’s Chief Marketing Officer to deliver a keynote presentation at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London coming up on May 13-14.
In the run-up to the Forum, Kristof was kind enough to answer a few questions to provide a sneak preview to the content from his speech. I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London!
Q. You’ve led marketing efforts at a wide variety of companies, from big and established brands like Orange and BlackBerry to challengers like Yahoo. Are there key things that all brands—regardless of size and industry—should be doing today to stay relevant and top of mind in our hyper-connected, multi-channel world?
The vast majority of Facebook and Twitter usage is coming from mobile devices, and both companies generate a significant proportion of their revenues via mobile ads (53% for Facebook and more than 70% for Twitter end Q4 2013).
Facebook is splitting into a collection of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Paper, etc…) and likely to announce a mobile ad network at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco in a couple of days. While failing brand marketers, according to my colleague Nate Elliott, Facebook is increasingly powerful at driving app installs for gaming companies and performance-based marketers who have a clear mobile app business model.
At the beginning of the year in our yearly mobile predictions report, my colleague Julie Ask and I made the following call: "mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business. 2014 will be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses with mobile as a focal point." McDonald’s France is a great example of such a trend.
In France, you can now order a Big Mac anytime, anywhere on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop and pick it up later at any of 1,200 McDonald’s restaurants. But mobile ordering and in-store pick up are just the first steps of a broader and more ambitious strategy: differentiating McDonald’s brand experience and powering a future relationship marketing platform by enabling direct behavioral customer insights. Although it started with a mobile ordering and payment app nationwide, McDonald’s France aims to transform all points of customer engagement by building a platform to extend new services to loyal customers and evolving the entire organization.
Despite a less mature mobile ecosystem and lower mobile usage than in the US, McDonald’s France was the first subsidiary of McDonald’s to launch a mobile ordering offering at scale. Such an ordering service is only at pilot stage in the US. France is McDonald’s second-biggest market after the United States, with €4.35 billion in turnover in 2012. Most other countries had piloted mobile payments so far. With more than 16 million members, McDonald’s Japan mobile couponing and in-store contactless payment services is the only other mobile service for McDonald’s (and the vast majority of brands) that has scaled massively, but it does not yet offer the same value.
I have just returned from our Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, and am now looking forward to being the host at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London (May 13-14). Our analysts are excited to share with the European audience our latest Forrester thinking on brand-building in the post-campaign era and how to balance achieving business objectives whilst delivering highly contextual, real-time customer value. We will be joining forces with key industry keynote speakers such as Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer at William Hill, Amy Nelson-Bennett, President at Molton Brown Global, and Francesca Nieddu, Managing Director, CRM and Sales Planning, Intesa Sanpaulo.
As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Francesca Nieddu from Intesa Sanpaulo about the marketing opportunities and challenges specific to retail banking. Here's what she had to say:
Q: Retail banking marketers aren't typically known for being customer-centric as they tend to focus their marketing efforts around products. What was the biggest barrier you faced as you attempted to pivot?
It’s true; the mobile advertising opportunity is huge. With nearly a third of the world’s population toting smartphones, today’s mobile audience is sizable, always addressable, and can be reached with hyper-targeted messages based on mobile data. So it makes perfect sense that marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors are turning their attention to mobile ads.
But when we look past the excitement in this market we face the reality: It has a long way to go — just because the mobile ad market is growing doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be. Why is this? Well, the marketplace is still evolving and in flux, and there is a lot of deferring to familiar desktop thinking from marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors. This poses one glaring problem: It completely overlooks the uniqueness of the mobile experience.
The time has come to rethink your mobile ad strategy, and here’s our advice: Divorce your mobile strategy from desktop and focus on integrated, personalized experiences. Here are some steps to help as you go:
Accept that mobile advertising is different. Your mobile customers are fundamentally different than your desktop customers — they are task-oriented, using a smaller screen, and demand that their mobile experiences be immediately actionable, simple, and contextually relevant to them. If your mobile customer is fundamentally different, shouldn’t your ad strategy be, too?
Half of US online adults have reached 'always addressable' status: using at least three connected devices and accessing the web multiple times per day from varying locations. It’s perhaps no surprise that this customer base has grown quickly since we first introduced it in 2012, when 38% of US online adults were always addressable. And for marketers, this is seemingly good news — now you have more opportunities to meaningfully engage with these customers than ever before. So what's the bad news? These customers tend not to trust or pay attention to advertising, and worse, largely find brand messages irrelevant.
There is a silver lining, though. Forty-six percent of always addressable customers don't mind getting emails from companies they've opted in to as long as the offer is relevant, and 27 percent are willing to share information about their interests to receive more relevant advertising. This leaves marketers with a great opportunity to engage with these willing customers, just as long as you embrace customer obsession.
But first, you must accept a hard truth: Your customers are done with traditional, campaign-based marketing. More often than not, customers are interacting with a brand outside of typical campaigns, and it's marketing's job to identify the context of those interactions and build upon them to create new forms of useful, continuous engagement. At the center of this contextual marketing is utility — becoming visibly and functionally useful to your customers. You can offer this utility either organically or transformatively, depending on your level of maturity across four key elements: customer addressability, data maturity, partner compatibility, and digital commitment.
Marketers have paid lip service to customer-centric marketing for a long time. But consumers and business buyers have flipped the conversation from "Oh, they think they know me" to "They better know me, or I'll find someone who does." For brands to be truly competitive in the Age of the Customer, companies must become customer obsessed – or risk losing market share to the competition.
At Forrester’s Forum For Marketing Leaders next week, Forrester analysts and industry speakers will address why marketers must go 'beyond the campaign', to deliver real-time customer value. We'll hear from Jeannine Rossignol, Vice President of Marketing Services at Xerox, who will discuss Xerox’s Get Optimistic initiative. Designed to engage buyers by talking about what they care about (hint: it’s not your brand!), the initiative feeds self-interest with highly relevant, customer-centric content.
In the run-up to Forum, I posed a few questions to Jeannine. Here's a sneak peak of what's to come next week.
Q: B2B marketers aren't typically known for being customer-centric. What was the biggest barrier you faced as you attempted to pivot?
Barriers are just opportunities in disguise (I am an optimist, after all). How you view them can make all the difference in whether you can overcome them or not. Businesses today face unprecedented choice on a daily basis – and to stand out among their options, we can’t just say we’re customer-centric; we have to make them believe it. And for most of us that requires a complete mindset change.
Measurement: Better measurement can help marketers make better decisions, and it is time for the industry to convene a central body to guide the measurement discussion.
Piracy, fraud, and viewability: These issues have led to the erosion of the value of digital media. Marketers, agencies, and publishers must take notice and address these problems.
Media transparency: ANA members have told the organization of their concerns about agency trading desks, rebates from media companies to agencies, and programmatic buying. The question is: are agencies and media companies hiding information from marketers, or is this just representative of the new media environment we are living in?
Two ways media’s changing now, and two ways it’s going to change:
The FT Digital event in London last week pulled together some of the cream of the European media world. The big conclusion they were made privy to?
The media world will soon discover exactly how many ways you can skin a cat.
The old-fashioned way for media brands to skin a cat – make the content and license rights to distribute it, or advertise next to it – doesn’t work anymore as a standalone product. As a result, the business model experimentation we’ve seen so far in the media world is turning into business model explosion. Evidence: Half of the speakers and attendees at this media event wouldn’t have been at a media event at all only three or four years ago. Facebook. Shazam. BuzzFeed. And tech VCs, for example.
Two pieces of news exemplified changes taking place right now: One, Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus (a virtual reality gaming device) forced discussion toward the value of a platform – the device is only as valuable as the community of developers creating remarkable content for it; tech and media companies alike need to take a platform approach to their assets.
Second, The New York Times’ launching of NYT Now – a premium version of the Times exclusively for smartphones – showed how media companies are bending themselves backward to divorce (call it “conscious uncoupling” if you will) resources from revenue. The mobile app will take a Facebook-like approach to making money by allowing advertisers to publish sponsored content in-feed.
And two discussions painted a picture of media’s future:
As mobile messaging apps become increasingly popular across the globe, China’s WeChat (the top mobile social app in China, which has reportedly surpassed 600 million users) is often compared with other mobile messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Japan’s Line. Of all such apps, WeChat has the most complicated features; it goes beyond messaging and keeps adding new features and further evolving existing ones. Among the many possibilities, three stand out:
Exploring location-based business. Chinese consumers have been using WeChat’s QR code functionality for a while to get discounts and rewards from offline stores. WeChat also has an advanced scanning feature, the street view scanner (available for the Chinese version of WeChat 5.0 or higher only). The scanner not only shows street names but also nearby stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other locations. WeChat has recently cooperated with Dianping (China’s Yelp) to upgrade its location check-in feature on Moments (WeChat’s timeline, on which users share photos and texts) from cities to specific stores. WeChat’s successful cooperation with taxi-hailing app Didi Dache has also enhanced its location-based capabilities. All of these features pave the way for WeChat to be able to provide location-based marketing.