Infrastructure 2.0 Roundtable Recap

by | Jun 1, 2020

Transform by Simon held a CxO roundtable on May 27th titled, “Infrastructure 2.0: Modernizing your stack as a driver of growth.” It was led by TJ Papp (Senior Advisor, formerly VP at Nike, Kenneth Cole, Victoria’s Secret) and Rich Demato, Head of Transformation at Simon. The topic was on challenging the way we approach people, technology, and process as a driver of growth while maintaining relentless focus on the customer.

Our private roundtables give marketing executives the freedom to share thoughts and ideas openly, but we have anonymized some of the key takeaways and learnings from their time together here:

The main takeaways were:

  • Maintaining a Relentless Focus on the Consumer. The executives in the roundtable all agreed that the focus for any infrastructural strategy needs to be on understanding consumer signals and providing customers with the best experiences.
  • The Collapse of Silos and a Shift to Agile Teams: TJ suggests blurring the lines between acquisition and retention and instead reorganizing siloed teams into agile, cross-functional teams that can together focus on shifting newly acquired customers to repeat purchasers.
  • Increased Focus on Flexibility and Service in Tech Evaluations: Many executives highlighted that large all-in-one players like Salesforce and Adobe reserved white glove service and support for the very largest of brands. After negative experiences, they are prioritizing flexible partners with premium service and support models.

By believing in the power of your consumer, understanding their signals and how to read them, your marketing can go from mundane to extraordinary. t’s easy to assume that with the vast quantities of data available today, that connecting with your customer would be easier, but as you know, it’s quite hard to personalize in a way that seems genuine. What can make it easier?

  • Ingesting the Right Data in the Right Way: Personalization relies on not just collection of basic information like name, email, address, but also information that can help you provide a unique, relevant experience for each customer based on the signals they provide you across how they interact with your brand. The executives in the roundtable all agreed that the focus for any infrastructural strategy needs to be on understanding consumer signals and providing customers with the best possible experiences.
  • Do Not Rely Solely on Batch and Blast Emails: While these types of emails have their time and place in an email marketing strategy, consider different types of customers you have and how you can alter the message, (even just the subject line!) to be more relevant towards them and their interests.
  • Mapping out the Consumer Journey: Aligning your team on the friction points that exist in your customer lifecycle will allow you to be proactive in anticipating consumers falling off. By anticipating this behavior, you can develop a strategic, streamlined plan on how to reactivate and engage them.

Creating agile teams can help your entire marketing organization shift quickly to the needs of the marketplace. As we saw with the COVID-19 Pandemic, companies that can shift their marketing to meet the customers where they are will be more successful than those that are still struggling to find their voice among the noise. How can you do this in practice?

  • Reorganize Team Structure: reorganizing siloed teams into agile, cross-functional teams that can together focus on shifting newly acquired customers to repeat purchasers can create a more seamless customer experience and help businesses track toward the same goals in both acquisition and retention.
  • Dedicate at Least 10% of Your Budget to Customer Retention: Dedicate marketing resources to certain parts of the customer lifecycle to increase retention. While this might not directly assist in new customer acquisition, higher retention numbers will be the key results. A recent study showed that retaining just 5% more of your customers results in anywhere from 100% to 250% more topline revenue.
  • Create a New Focus on Post-First-Purchase Behavior: The first 100 days after a customer purchases from you is extremely vital in terms of whether they come back and purchase from you again. Creating a robust pod to focus on this vital time will become even more important as marketing budgets and resources are limited.

Roundtable attendees had a shared experience of being “burned by technology”, mainly due to a “bait and switch” type of service given by the technology provider. Grand ideas, robust solution architecture, and extensive plans turned into shifting deadlines, lack of motivation with no clear support framework, and limited software flexibility. There are a few things you can do to ensure this does not happen with future technology solutions:

  • Confirm the Support is as Promised: Connect with your would-be CX or Account Manager before signing the contract to make sure there is a clear understanding of your goals and current tech stack. There should also be a discussion of tactical steps that can be taken in order to streamline the onboarding process and get you closer to the end goal faster.
  • Ensure Your Internal Team is Aligned on Expectations: Connect with your internal team to make sure everyone is committed to taking the onboarding and optimization process past the finish line. Without their support to strategize, execute, and maintain the new technology solution, you will not see the key results needed to justify the initial investment.

We are holding a webinar that provides a deeper dive on the same topic on June 9th at 1 pm ET. Join us!

Transform by Simon is a private, invite-only community for senior executives who want to learn, network, and ultimately transform their business. We do this through private roundtables, first-look strategic advisory research, and a rich online community for exchanging best and emerging practices amongst your peers. Members include CxOs, VPs and Directors who are driving transformation at some of the world’s leading brands.

As the leading customer data platform across industries and models, Simon has a unique understanding of why brands succeed or fail in driving transformation. We launched Transform to support our clients and partners in rethinking and accelerating their transformation in order to deliver the most meaningful customer experiences.


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