— Interviews

Staff Q&A: Abi Cooke

Summary

What are the most common challenges facing brands starting out on a digital transformation journey? We sat down with Abi Cooke, our brand new Head of Client Service, to discuss some of the misconceptions and overlooked opportunities to watch out for.

Welcome to krunch.co! Why krunch.co, and why now?

Thank you, it’s great to be here. Having worked agency-side, client-side and also in some Marketing Automation roles, I was looking for a new challenge where I could use my blend of experience to help clients on their own journey.

I think being able to use my skills and experience in Marketing Automation, which is what I’m really passionate about, will help because I can understand the unique challenges that businesses face when they’re working through a Marketing Automation integration. I know what they’re going through as part of that process – I have been on the ground, working through it, just like them!

Having built such a varied career in tech and automation, on both agency and client-side, what do you think krunch.co does differently to the rest?

What interests me about krunch.co is that it’s a true Marketing Automation agency. So many agencies say they are, but they really aren’t. That we have a full team focusing on Marketing Automation is fantastic and so interesting to me.

Also, how krunch.co ties in Marketing Automation with media is really clever. No other agency is doing that, and I can really see the value in bringing the two together. I worked in Marketing Automation for a long time and never came across the connection with media that the team does here. And the fact that we do it all in house, with all departments under one roof, is brilliant.

I really like how krunch.co focuses on the client outcomes first, with the aim of helping our clients on a journey to self sufficiency. We essentially become part of the client team, providing a trusted pair of hands to help and support. We’ve also got a really interesting mix of experienced, passionate people who are experts in their fields.

What’s the most common challenge businesses face when implementing new Marketing Automation practices?

I think there is a real misconception around Marketing Automation sometimes – it’s not just about the technology. You need wider business support, buy-in from all people involved and a robust process in place before you can successfully implement Marketing Automation.

I’ve seen it work well when you have the buy-in from everyone – from senior leadership right down through the business – because the thing about Marketing Automation is that it’s a change in mindset. Everyone has to be focused on the customer and putting the overall customer experience first rather than focusing on short term campaigns.

So are short-term campaigns dead?

No, not at all. Campaigns still have their place, of course, but always-on conversations need to have different thinking applied. In some cases that means bringing the right people on board with the knowledge to drive a successful outcome. You need people who have that longer-term, customer-centric perspective and can build-out the personalised, relevant conversations that customers crave.

What’s a common mistake businesses make on their Marketing Automation journeys?

Organisations often try to tackle the big projects first, but then they find that they don’t have the processes setup to manage it and deliver real value.

They could have tackled the low hanging fruit first and seen much better returns. These could be simple, data-driven triggered conversations. You create a collection or library of these that you can roll out, which gives you a training ground to work out the kinks.

My advice is to just get up and running – get the teams used to the process, determine how you’re going to manage it and what your testing and reviewing process is going to be, and sort out your reporting. Once you get that all setup, the bigger projects are a lot easier to tackle.

Also, if you have strong reporting on these smaller starting points, you have a great business case for showing value and getting buy-in from the senior leadership to take on the big projects.

What’s your guiding principle when it comes to great digital strategy?

Understand your customers’ needs first. Do the research up front before defining the solution. Good customer experience should always be at the forefront of your thinking.

What’s on the horizon for marketing automation in New Zealand in 2019?

As automation becomes increasingly necessary to compete in the marketplace, I think Marketing Automation will continue to expand from the big organisations with deep pockets to the mid-sized companies. Organisations will need a team of tech savvy staff who understand automation to be successful.

For example, a lot of travel organisations are seeing the value in communicating at all stages of the customer journey, from when the customer arrives in a country, for instance, throughout their whole trip and beyond.

I also think it’s going to be increasingly about personalisation and engaging with customers in a more human way. People will start to expect real-time communications. A lot of Marketing Automation conversations are run on a daily or weekly basis, but being able to communicate in real time is going to be increasingly important. Automation will go beyond a personalised triggered email and will become a more unified customer experience across all touchpoints, both online and offline, while incorporating customer-facing tech such as chatbots into the mix.

You also can’t ignore

the impact that GDPR may have on the New Zealand market. There’s a delicate balance where customers want their favourite brands, or their banks and insurance companies, to treat them personally, but they also value security and are concerned with privacy.

So, companies will be wise to consider how data privacy will impact their organisations. It will become tougher and tougher to use data, so you have to think strategically about how you build-out your Marketing Automation journeys, and make sure they are future-proofed for when data security becomes a lot tighter.

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