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If Your Vision is to Gain and Retain Customers, People-Based Marketing is the Way to Go!

Day one of Merkle’s Performance Marketing Executive Summit began with pre-summit capability workshops, taking deep dives into the solutions that were of interest to attendees. The day concluded with a “meet the experts" session, where attendees spent one-on-one time with Merkle subject matter gurus to discuss their challenges and learn about our people-based marketing solutions.

The middle of the agenda brought the entire group of attendees together for an official kickoff with Merkle Global Services Leader, Craig Dempster, who gave an overview of the Summit’s 14-year evolution and a preview of this year’s event. Next, Merkle President and CEO, David Williams, delivered the opening session, where he spoke about the disruptive forces that are affecting today’s marketing industry and eight trends that are driving the movement toward a direct-to-consumer business model and greater personalization:

  • Addressability – the ability to interact with your consumer on a one-to-one basis
  • What’s old is new again – classic direct marketing skills are again in the driver’s seat
  • Data – the ability to accumulate the information that can drive your business forward
  • Artificial intelligence – the ability to make media and channel decisions in real time
  • Content – what to say to your customers, based on what you know about them
  • Customer AND brand – building a customer strategy that works in tandem with brand strategy
  • Enterprise technology – a fully integrated infrastructure to operationalize people-based marketing
  • Old structures are not working – traditional organizational silos prevent optimization

In a nutshell, the future of marketing is in building the skills to market to people, rather than proxies. That means making marketing personal, informed by data and powered by technology.

Next, Adam Lavelle, Global Chief Solutions Officer for Merkle, introduced the 2017 Marketing Imperatives, upon which this year’s Summit agenda was built. The theme, The Activation of People-Based Marketing focuses on the idea of “getting to work” implementing a strategy that revolves around the customer. The content of the conference will be about getting the work done and driving real performance by making your advertising more addressable; making your customer experiences more personal; and managing your customer relationships over time. 

Our first keynote presentation was then delivered by Nick Drake, SVP of Digital for T-Mobile. His session was a very convincing argument for people-based marketing, outlining how T-Mobile revolutionized the way customers purchase wireless and effectively won more than a million subscribers away from its high-powered competitors over a very short period of time. T-Mobile’s unconventional approach, which was driven directly by customer demand, earned the company the moniker “The Uncarrier.”

It’s interesting the shift that T-Mobile took to win over customers.  It happened after the realization that every interaction is an opportunity to show customers and potential customers how much they were valued. T-Mobile’s strategy has pivoted to be, quite literally, all about the customer. Today, it is a self-described customer-centric, experience-obsessed, digital company.

We're about the customer!Through its relationships with Merkle and other agency partners, T-Mobile focused on digital as a foundation to its marketing strategy to see its people-based marketing vision become reality. Its mobile network coverage has grown to within 1% of the top competitor’s; it is scheduled to be the first network to deliver 5G by 2019; and its customer base has grown by more than 100% since 2012. 

Because customers and their needs are the number one priority for T-Mobile, the company focuses heavily on its loyalty program. I had to laugh when Nick spoke about T-Mobile Tuesdays, in which customers receive a giveaway each Tuesday.  The first deal was in partnership with a pizza chain, offering a free pizza; but they underestimated how much their customers loved pizza, and they broke the pizza chain for 24 hours with so many orders!

T-Mobile went all in with its transformation to a people-based strategy, making some big bets related to technology.  And the investment paid off, as it resulted in the ability to do end-to-end personalization and deliver it at scale!

How T-Mobile transformed to put the customer first, from the top of the company to the front line:

  • They changed how they work (the organization as well as the physical environment) to build customer experiences through agile teams.
  • They transformed t-mobile.com, with the ability to deliver personalization with every page, with impressive results.
    • Optimize content in minutes
    • 3x better lead gen conversion & prospect conversion
    • Almost 500% increase in web orders
  • They relaunched the mobile app to better meet customer needs, adding features like customer service messaging, which has received more than a million messages since its launch.
  • Customer care can be contacted via customers’ preferred channel, whether they want to speak to a human or send a message to T-Mobile via text or Facebook Messenger. And through Google AdWords, customers can even message their local store directly. T-Mobile has even partnered with Uber for same-day delivery in many markets.

Today’s general sessions, breakouts, and keynotes, feature experts from world-class brands like Pega, Forrester, Target Media Network, EmblemHealth, Office Depot, and Universal Orlando Resorts, who will share their people-based marketing successes. Check out the agenda and watch the live presentations. They began at 7:45 a.m. and will run until 1:45pm and will be available on demand as well. I highly recommend checking out yesterday’s exciting presentations too!