Garrett Ilg, President, Japan and Asia Pacific, Oracle Corp.

Five aces to overcoming the pandemic for CMOs

By Garrett Ilg, President, Japan and Asia Pacific, Oracle Corp.

The global pandemic has changed nearly everything for CMOs, forcing them to scramble as consumers shift even more to online shopping. Meanwhile, CEOs are pressuring their marketing chiefs to find strategies for recovery.

Deeper understanding of customers enables organizations to successfully pivot new business models by recalibrating sales approaches, finding new revenue streams, and introducing new products and services.

Technology plays a role, of course, but it has to be used intentionally, with a new paradigm in mind. For instance, Concepcion Industrial Corp. (CIC), the leading provider of air conditioning solutions and refrigerators in the Philippines, is using customer experience software to support the need for business to make decisions more nimbly.

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CIC has been incredibly successful at striking the right balance, especially during this challenging year. The Philippines-based appliance distributor has managed to give customers what they need, when they need it, while creating new opportunities for business.

What’s helped CIC are the “five aces” that CMOs must establish in their companies while leveraging — with intention — critical emerging technologies to modernize their interactions.

The five aces are:

  1. Adaptability: The world has changed but businesses still need to keep going, whether through finding new ways to reach cash-strapped households or helping customers visualize products from the comfort and safety of their homes. Marketing organizations must become comfortable with change.
  2. Accountability: Businesses expect marketers to help deliver quantifiable business impact with the help of modern technology. As measurement of campaigns has become more sophisticated, CMOs must embrace accountability.
  3. Authenticity: Modern marketers need to know and use data they collect from customers to engage them in highly personalized communications across their devices, print, and broadcast media, while understanding the context in which those messages are consumed.
  4. Action: Customers expect companies they do business with to respond quickly and at all hours. Meeting them on their terms helps foster brand relationships.
  5. Alignment: This doesn’t just mean coordination between sales and marketing; it also means aligning the organization so that customers’ needs dictate the businesses’ activities.

Experiences are everything — we know they’re often more important than the product or service we’re delivering. Uncertainty, and not knowing how the world will evolve, creates a huge opportunity for marketers to define their companies.

There’s hard evidence behind the proscriptions. Eighty-three percent of 260 global CEOs surveyed by management consultancy McKinsey last year said they expect marketing to be a major driver for their companies’ growth. To do so, marketing departments need to move faster, collaborate better, and focus more sharply on customers.

Yet McKinsey estimates making such changes can cut 10% to 30% of marketing costs, while adding 5% to 15% to sales growth. And about 23% of CEOs say marketing isn’t delivering on the growth agenda. Often, executives pour time into a few initiatives, “then grow frustrated when the promised value doesn’t appear,” according to the study.

CIC is using Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications to get a better understanding of its customers and consolidate sales, customer service, and e-commerce systems with its back-office software. That’s helping the air conditioning and refrigeration company simplify online ordering, sell directly to consumers, and forge new business models, such as renting cool air time “as a service,” rather than selling an appliance outright.

The Philippines-based appliance distributor had no place to sell its products for 90 days, as stores were closed nationwide. Manufacturing, distribution, and most e-commerce stopped for three months during the pandemic’s height this year. CIC adapted by emphasizing products for kitchens tailored to people staying and cooking at home, and developing new ones for those who wanted a cool environment without the upfront cost.

In another instance, Filinvest Land, one of the leading property developers in the Philippines, is using Oracle Cloud Customer Experience (CX) Marketing to help its customers find their dream homes faster with a better digital experience to its customers. The company is capturing data points during and after the sale of a house or condo to retain buyers it sells to over time. Filinvest is holding online house tours, inspecting properties by drone aircraft, and courting prospects to make sure the pipeline stays stocked for after the pandemic ends. It shows how the company attuned to its customers’ needs, while adopting its behavior to stay authentic.

The largest e-commerce fashion company in Southeast Asia, Zalora, shows how businesses can pivot to remain relevant in the environment in which it is operating in. At a time when customer needs have pivoted toward essentials and other items, Zalora successfully enhanced its platform to support this sudden shift in demand during the pandemic. With the right back-end system, Zalora has been able to respond in real-time to each personalized interaction with the customer, extracting the data that matters in customer interactions and providing great customer experience. Together with Oracle Cloud Customer Experience (CX) Marketing, Zalora has become an orchestrator of personalized conversations, where they are able to speak to customers in a relevant and tailored manner. The flexibility and adaptability of the tools have been instrumental to enabling Zalora’s quick response, driving continuous growth amid uncertain times.

These are just a few fresh ideas that can be brought to life using the five aces and modern cloud technology to take a smarter approach to customer experience management, adopt new ways to overcome business challenges and invent new business models.