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As part of the 2021 Customer Experience Imperatives Webinar series exploring the three imperatives for brands to transform customer experience, Blair Cooke (Managing Director, Merkle Australia) talked to the importance of digital transformation.

Blair discussed the topics of how to set the context for customer experience, what digital transformation is, how to execute the transformation and finally interviewed Jesper Lowgren (Head of Business & Data Architecture at Metricon) to find out how digital transformation is put into practice.

Blair explained that Australia is still playing catch-up with overseas markets and it’s important to bring the learnings from the bigger and more experienced teams to our own shores to implement change.

“I’m a Kiwi  – I know I hide it well – I worked in England for a few years and I’ve been living in Australia for about 20 years now. We are so far behind markets like the UK and the US, the reason for that is that the scale of the market is so much smaller, e-commerce was such a huge thing when I was living in England in 2000 and it only really started happening here in the last 10 years…so what we’re trying to do is borrow that experience we have in those markets and bring it to Australia so people can change the way they plan their customer experiences. We’ve got to try and elevate the thinking of the industry because we can’t continue to just batch and blast people.”

Digital transformation is part of Merkle’s solution for this, by making the customer experience more personalised.

According to data, 66% of consumers are more attuned now with their experience with a brand than the price and final decision and 56% of shoppers have stopped shopping with a brand because of their site experience. Customers are willing to share information about themselves but expect to see the business do something with that information. With customers being so much more invested in their experience, it’s never been more important for tech marketers to ensure these customers feel valued and understood.

To achieve a customer experience transformation, Blair explained a focus is required on the customer and coming up with new ways to bring data to life delivered in a way that’s suited to the individual from 5G to screenless interfaces and AI. When customer experience transformation is properly executed, it mimics the one-on-one personal experience that has historically been in place.

The process starts with data transformation which is the acquisition, management, and mining of valuable data. In this stage, the foundations are laid to manage the brand’s database.

Data transformation is then coupled with digital transformation. Digital transformation is the design and implementation of digital marketing, commerce and service experiences, that are contextually relevant and personal.

Executing the digital transformation starts with a roadmap and a business case along with measurable KPIs to ensure the process is showing results and whether or not the plan needs to be amended.

Maturity frameworks are put in place to compile information about the customer at every touchpoint to learn more about their preferences, audience-based planning is also used which explores the best way to serve the customer, and finally engagement plans are employed to ensure meaningful interactions with the brand.

Bringing digital transformation to the Australian market requires a change of mindset from businesses that have previously relied on more traditional customer experience tools. Blair said that often the only way to reassure a business is by taking baby steps to eliminate risk and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

While some businesses are reluctant to adopt digital transformation, Metricon serves as an example of a company that has successfully adopted the new strategy. Jesper was brought in by the company to rethink the way the property development giant communicated with its clients from the initial decision making, to construction and move-in.

While it took a change of mindset to trust in the new way of communicating with customers, it proved to be more time-efficient and cost-effective for the business.

If you missed Part Two of the '2021 Customer Experience Imperatives Webinar: What marketers need to know about Digital Transformation' you can now watch on-demand here.