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Driving Value Through the North Star Approach

North Star Approach


According to Richard Lees (chief strategy officer, EMEA) at Merkle, driving value through Martech comes down to two questions – "what does doing this for the customer mean for the business, and how do we measure that we have delivered that?".

In Lees' latest thought paper on driving value from Martech, the answer to these questions lies in his motto of 'make it work', 'make it better', 'make it bigger', which guides the tech marketer to start small before setting out to 'boil the ocean'.

Lees highlights one particular strategy to drive measurable success called 'The North Star'. Like intrepid explorers using the North Star to guide them to their ultimate destination, this strategy guides tech marketers towards an overarching goal for the business.

It starts by setting a brand promise and working top-down to ensure all of the capabilities needed to reach the North Star are considered, including which technology and team are accountable for each action.

"A top-down approach ensures that the project will start with measures that matter from the outset; the ones that drive real business outcomes and so measurable value," he explained.

On the flipside, Lees explains that by using a bottom-up approach, a team can often find themselves unable to proceed past the 'make it work' phase as the brand promise is not the guiding principle, but instead, successfully making the technology work is.

The North Star is deeply invested in the customer – using their behaviours, actions and feedback to improve the overall experience and become bigger and better.

"Transforming customer experience is not a one-off project. It's a never-ending journey, a continual evolution to make your business great," he said.

The agility of a team is also fundamental to the North Star's success and can sometimes mean restructuring traditional workflows to achieve the desired outcome.

Lees highlighted Merkle's Vodaphone campaign as a strong example of the top-down approach using the North Star.

The brand promise was to continue being one of Europe's leading Telco companies, and their business driver to do this was to communicate in their customers' preferred way.

Merkle worked with multiple stakeholders to create new ways of working, restructured teams, and a universal target operating model to achieve the brand promise.

Some of the positive results from using the North Star for Vodaphone included a 7% in average revenue per user, 20% saving in commission costs, and 34% higher ROI.

So while tech is a key enabler in helping drive success and value for a business, it's just one part of the journey.

Want to find out more about driving value from your Martech? Make sure to check out the rest of Richard Lees' thought paper which can be found here.