[Video] What’s on the Minds of SA’s Top Marketers?
Local marketers have to deal with a tough economic landscape, digital disruption, and increasingly empowered consumers (amongst other major challenges). So how do they decide where to place their focus, and how to best spend precious resources? We chatted to leading local marketers to find out how they will be approaching the next 12 months.
Over at automobile giant BMW, it is all about leveraging data to provide more focused and targeted brand communications. Guy Kilfoil, General Manager: Brand Management, Marketing Services at BMW South Africa, says that customer data has become key – and will become even more important going forward.
Tailor Made Communications
“Due to social media, customers don’t want to be treated as a homogenous group of individuals, they rather want to be treated as a single person,” explains Kilfoil. “And with data today, we’re actually able to gather a whole lot of information about the customer to deliver our marketing almost on a one-to-one basis.”
He adds: “I think that is way more effective than mass messages broadcast with a whole lot of wastage.”
According to Kilfoil, this trend has resulted in their basic CRM process ‘changing completely’.
“If you have a look at the 125 000 customers who we currently have on our books (not corporate customers), and you look at their re-purchase cycle, the average customer is re-purchasing a new BMW every 27 months,” he explains. “However, within that framework, there is a very big flux between male, female, race, age, and model series profiles.”
Kilfoil highlights that before the advent of the data systems the company uses now, they were sending a single, re-purchase trigger mailer at 27 months. Now, the company has 137 different profiles of those trigger mailers that they could send to different customer sets.
“And then we can tailor-make the specific message to the specific vehicle they drive, and what they would be more likely to purchase next,” he says. “So it’s become much more about very targeted, single communications running out of a backend system that can pre-populate with certain content - that’s pertinent to you as a customer - and that allows us to be more focused with our communication.”
Maintaining the Balance
Apart from the economic slowdown, Kilfoil believes that two major challenges will persist for marketers.
“One is absolute budget, and how you best divvy up your budget to reach the customer most effectively,” he says. “I think more and more, brands will be moving out of the big advertising mediums…and from a digital and social perspective, I think you’re going to see even more money going into those areas.”
He adds: “And secondly, from our perspective, is that wonderful balance between exclusivity and volume. From a BMW perspective, we are a premium brand, and we are a luxury-oriented brand with large aspirational value. But I think to sell the number of cars we want to sell - and still maintain exclusivity - is always a difficult balance for us.”