‘The Power Of Many Will Win’ – LGC #3 review



Having a real view of your customer. Responding to their needs and desires. Building a deeper connection – one that may last a lifetime.

Doesn’t it sound like a passionate, burgeoning relationship? One untainted by life’s inevitable woes, unfettered by mundane, day-to-day practicalities? A relationship where two people are attuned to one another in some psychically karmic way, moving and shifting to give one another the best of themselves?

On a sunny May morning in London, fifty of the UK’s top marketing professionals, CMOs, VPs, and ‘Heads of’ from a glittering array of the world’s largest and best loved brands, mounted the steps of Portland Street to explore market orientation. In a private, invite only war room, (brain trust) fueled by delicious pastries and coffee, Tim Healey – founder of Little Grey Cells, took no time in getting down to business.

Market orientation: What are the challenges? What’s the value? What can we share with one another for the benefit of all? Shall we go back to the relationship analogy?

We know that market orientation is integral to any successful brand. In the beginning of a relationship, some level of enmeshment is the norm. We mirror one another, we accommodate, we listen, we learn. We give one another our best. But can it go too far? In this world, we know customer desires are insatiable: better, faster, cheaper, more sparkly, less sparkly….. kind of like a relationship gone stale, or one with a megalomaniac in which you can never get it right.

As a brand, can we be too far orientated towards our customer’s wants, needs and desires? Think of relational enmeshment – a concept outlining the unhealthy blurring of personal boundaries between people in a relationship. This lack of distinct personal autonomy can yield an inability to act with agency, with vision, and with confidence. For brands, this can sap innovation and market leading approaches.
In this analogy, extreme, unquestioned market orientation can act as a hindrance, a yielding of the vision and differentiation that sets brands apart from their competition.

Choosing our own orientation

In the onslaught of seasonal sales patterns, vying price promotions, and exploding consumer choice, orientating to the right part of your market is essential to be seen.

“We know our customer. She’s 35 – 45. She starts buying for Christmas in July. She trusts us.” Jess Myers from The Very Group gave a dazzling whip through of her strategy and challenges as CMO. “We made the decision that we will not dive to the bottom on price. We orientate to value. This is what our customer appreciates.”

Herein lies the gem, and another brilliant reason to gain from the insights of the Little Grey Cells ‘in crowd’: true market orientation involves sophisticated choices. What are we orientating too? Quality? Value? Customer satisfaction? How will we measure this? More importantly, how will we feed it back into our business to develop winning strategies?

Building our connection

As with relationships, it is one thing to know your partner, it’s another to accept them and to offer them a safe harbour and a place they can call their own. How can we orientate to ALL our customer base, with its intrinsic fault lines of dangerous difference, but make it feel as if we are speaking directly to them?

How can we orientate to our vast market with all its nuances, yet make the experience personal for our most valued customers? The answer lies in the interstice between modern technology and the human touch.

“The human touch is everything, and we know that it’s important in any category,” said Barbara Eigner, CoreMedia’s CMO. “It means we use the tools to create an elevated experience, one that knows our desires and preferences and positions against that.” As the only technology vendor in the room, Barbara’s highlights the challenge integrating qualitative and quantitative data into market orientation strategies.

Digital experience platforms, tied to AI intelligence, behavioural and attitudinal data and CRM, allows us the ability to see this information, to integrate it, and to produce products and brand content that aligns with the customer’s preferences.

As we all sat, fully immersed in these big brand stories from senior veterans, we questioned ourselves. How do we shape our insights and analysis into actions that benefit our brand and customers? Richard Palk, ex-Sony Head of Product Marketing and Product Planning and current Bremont Watches’ Head of Customer Marketing, acknowledged “analysis paralysis”.

“How do we not drown in the millions of insights (from focus interviews, desk research, social analytics, and search engine results pages). How do we use them effectively?” We all nodded and looked around in commiseration.

As fast as the intimate, fireside chat concluded – the floor burst with questions:

“How do we use qualitative and quantitative data to develop our DEI strategy?” “What do we make of synthetic data?” “How do we handle negative sentiment and keywords in our reputation management strategies in SERPs?” “How much are we using this data to develop new high margin product ranges?”

While we sipped coffee, shook hands and got to know our table partners, and pondered these perennial challenges, one answer became clear: the mighty think tank assembled by Little Grey Cells will certainly yield genuinely useful insight.

The power of many will win.

We bring together complex programmes of activity around a single strategic concept: powerful ideas connect people. Heavyweight technology and data skills, big idea brand, content and campaign expertise. A state of mind, a set of values, a way of being. The product of decades of collective experience.

Ready to try something new?


Connect with Tracy Wood: tracy@renegadecommunication.com

All images: https://www.linkedin.com/in/photographer-andrew-maximov/

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