2015 Melbourne ecommerce Conference and Expo

Hi! Thank you for dropping by, I hope you’ll stay for a chat 🙂

This is where I’ll be posting some random thoughts (and maybe some not-so-random thoughts) about digital marketing over this semester. For more info about me click the ‘about’ link above.

Today I want to tell you about some of my experiences and thoughts from volunteering at the 2015 ecommerce Conference and Expo on March 11. While some of the content went completely over my head, there was much that was very accessible, even to someone with my limited knowledge of the area!

The first speaker that ‘spoke’ to me was Col Kennedy, the Global Head of Marketing and E-Commerce at Cotton On. His presentation was titled ‘Keys to Success in a Customer Centric World’. He referenced Simon Sinek’s excellent Ted Talk, ‘How great leaders inspire action’, which you can find here (it’s well worth checking out). Col spoke at length about the importance of staying true to a brand’s ‘why’ – not what a brand does, or how it does it, but the reasonwhy they do what they do.

Col told a story about the London Disney store that was not originally as successful as expected. The decision was made to remove stock and fittings from the store (almost incomprehensible in retailing) in order to return to Disney’s ‘why’ – which was creating magical experiences. The store was refitted to replicate some of the experiences created at the theme parks, such as enchanted forests and Disney castles, and also a mini cinema and activity area that allowed customers to select Disney film clips and music via touch screens. Sales increased dramatically.

Source: John and Sigrid's blog
Source: John and Sigrid’s blog

Col spoke eloquently and passionately about the number one reason that brands fail: lack of a deep dialogue with customers. He also emphasised the importance of focusing on creating a community, where customers become part of the brand and of the brand experience. An inevitable consequence of this will of course be some negative commentary – whether deserved or not. How a company responds to this can either detract from or reinforce the brand’s identity.

Digital marketing, particularly social media, is placed particularly well to facilitate a real time dialogue with customers. As discussed in class yesterday, brands that do this well, by speaking to customers with a ‘human’ voice rather than an overly officious one, and at the times that they are likely to be seeking interaction (ie weekends) will be much more likely to attract a community of loyal customers.

I recently had an incredibly frustrating experience with the manufacturer of our dishwasher (I won’t mention the brand, but let’s just say it rhymes with LD!). When it broke down, the only service centre that covered our area had a two week backlog before they could attend to service the machine. When they finally arrived, I was told that they didn’t have the necessary part – AND that there was not even stock of that part in the country! They couldn’t even tell me how long the wait would be. After waiting a week with no communication, I left a message on their facebook page. This was responded to in a friendly and engaging manner – four days later! They informed me that they would follow up – but I heard nothing further from the facebook team. I won’t bore you with the whole long, drawn out saga – suffice to say that the machine was eventually replaced, about 6 weeks after I initially contacted them about the problem.

This is a brand that I and my partner used to regard highly; we have a number of their appliances, and know it has a good reputation. The fact that our dishwasher broke down would not have changed my opinion of the brand – but the lengthy delay, and in particular the lack of communication, have lost them a loyal lifetime customer.

In this era of instant gratification and multiple instant and easy communication channels, customers expect to be communicated with. Lack of communication can be very damaging to a brand’s reputation.

Over to you – have you ever been disappointed – or pleasantly surprised – by a brand’s communication?

And if you watched Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, let us know what you think!

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12 thoughts on “2015 Melbourne ecommerce Conference and Expo

  1. I agree, I think it is so important for brands to respond on social media – people won’t keep communicating if they are ignored. I don’t think you get a second chance either, as is demonstrated in your personal example. Even in personal social media, just as in real life, you expect a response, just as you wouldn’t expect your friend to ignore you if you passed in the street.

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  2. Absolutely, Emma! We do expect to be treated as a ‘friend’ – even by companies – on social media. I guess the message for brands is to be prepared to have the conversations in a timely manner, or get out!

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  3. I agree Pagan in today’s age of instant communication brands can no longer hide from the things they’ve done. Not only do brands need to re-think the way they engage with customers through digital means, they must also look at how they are meeting the most basic of customer service needs.

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    1. For sure Andrew! Also I think expectations are higher now from consumers – it’s relatively easy for companies to engage with customers, so there’s an expectation that they will, more so than in the past.

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  4. Totally agree! I love seeing large brands replying on social media. I have recently had big problems with an airline not responding to me as they owe me a large refund, and eventually decided to take to social media to see if I could get anywhere! Its the way of the future ! Looking forward to your posts! If you could check out my latest blog post and let me know what you think I would appreciate it 🙂

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      1. Thanks heaps, it is https://rachaelsalamito.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/ashy-bines-bikini-body-challenge/

        I actually still have not heard from them… so so frustrating! Although I still agree with your post all the same, as I have seen so many examples of it! I think the reason the airline (Air Asia) haven’t replied it because they owe so many refunds and just can’t keep up! Ill keep you updated! Thanks for reading my blog, let me know what you think 🙂

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  5. The ability for us, as consumers, to be able to contact companies through social media is amazing! Having to wait on the phone for over an hour to contact customer care is definitely not my idea of fun. I haven’t personally had any bad experiences, but I’ve definitely read about lots of people series of unfortunate events and a lot of them complained about lack of communication from the companies.

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    1. Totally. I think the moral of the story for brands (especially major ones) is that if they are in the social media space, it must be monitored, if not constantly then at least frequently – twice a day at least!

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  6. I admire Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and the insights it brings for marketers both positive and negative. Positive to align values of the organisations with its desired consumers. Negative to purchase products that aren’t necessarily better and can even be worse.
    An example is Beats Headphones, they sell from $100 to $400, and they fly off shelves, despite recently being ranked 17th out of 18 brands for sound quality. Marketers of Beats may just have found the why that resonated with the values of so many consumers.

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