Q&A with Andy Lark, keynote speaker at Tech Marketers Group Conference
In the lead-up to the NZ Tech Marketers Group Conference, we chat with keynoter Andy Lark about what’s in store for his session. Andy is a globally awarded leader and entrepreneur with significant experience building the world’s technology, online and consumer businesses.
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a serial entrepreneur and recovering marketer. Today I’m mainly focused on the intersection of brands, technology and marketing. I’m really intrigued with how technology is both automating marketing but also fundamentally reshaping its DNA.
When you think about marketing success, what specific trends are you seeing for 2019? Where do marketers need to be focusing their efforts, and why?
I think firstly that marketers focusing on short term trends is absolutely pointless. It’s one of the more damaging things that goes on in marketing – people get captivated by the hot and cool and the new. That’s at pandemic levels now in marketing, with every marketer obsessed with AI, machine learning, automation and data this and data that. I think the real focus for marketers in the current climate which is recessionary, (or at the very least challenged) in nature, is making a difference to the business through growth, EBITDA performance/profit. And the sooner that marketers wake up to the fact that, at the end of the day, they are going to be judged on business performance and business outcomes, the better.
So, the big things for 2019 from my perspective are:
Number one is how to drive tangible business outcomes.
Number two is how to embrace the new marketing – and by that I do not mean digital. I mean how do you unleash marketing productivity and efficiency against what are, in many cases, quite old agenda items – brand, reach, attribution and things like that so you know what your north star and compass is.
Tell us about your session – Understanding the Buyer Journey – Who, how, what and why ABM matters. Why should people attend? What are they going to come away with from the session? What are some of the key takeaways?
The main reason people should come along is that they are going to get an honest view from a CMO who has been at the top of some of the largest companies down under into how you should really be using technology to drive growth of the brand and the business, and how you break through the vendor-induced haze of what platforms do for businesses of any shape and kind.
I think right now many organisations are blindly pursuing technology because it’s cool, it’s hip, it’s happening, with little understanding of the time it takes to get technology embedded and functioning within an organisation and delivering results. The majority of agendas I see inside organisations today are too cluttered, too complex and have little to do with the customer. So, what I am going to be heavily focused on is what are three lenses for understanding the customer better.
Customer journey mapping and customer journeys have become cool again thanks to digital and mobile, etc, but that’s only one lens. I think the other lens is the lens of the brand promise, which is pretty powerful – understanding the promise the brand is positing in the market and how that promise actually gets delivered. And a journey is just one way it gets delivered – there are other ways, such as peak experiences and peak moments.
And that leads me to the third area, which is: how do you identify not journeys but peak customer moments? I think, as much as I believe in funnels and customer journeys, they are often viewed in a very mechanistic way as a very precision-guided, linear pathway, and the majority of customers don’t follow the journey we stipulate, or try to resist it, and the rest have no interest in it, they don’t want it. So, it’s about understanding the brand promise and customer experience that you’re delivering and orchestrating around that.