"Experience beats brand" | KPMG | CH

"Experience beats brand"

"Experience beats brand"

How do today’s businesses reach their customers? What will marketing look like in the future? What are KPMG’s priorities regarding market cultivation? In an interview about current trends in marketing, Dominique Morel sheds light on these questions and more.

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Dominique Morel

Dominique Morel, Head of Marketing, Communication & Sales at KPMG Switzerland

How are businesses interacting with their market environment differently today than just a few years ago?

Being able to perform targeted analyses of specific data has ushered in quite a few changes. For years, decision makers relied on estimates, assumptions and their gut instincts when cultivating the market. Smart data and artificial intelligence now allow businesses to better identify their potential, address customers more individually and, in doing so, personalize their contact points accordingly and leave a positive impression. This has shifted the focus away from brand names and toward the experience as a whole. As a result, individual customers now play a more prominent role. Social media have also opened up a channel for direct dialogue. Ultimately, the question nowadays is: Was the customer satisfied and would he or she recommend the product or service?

I’m convinced that the only way to overcome the challenges connected to this development is by promoting smart forms of collaboration both inside and outside the company. In this increasingly complex, volatile world, companies and individuals acting alone are finding that they quickly reach their limits: Success hinges on collaboration!

What does the more intense customer focus mean for B2B companies?

Even when it comes to relationships between businesses, it’s always people who make the decisions in the end. In my opinion, the trend toward greater personalization makes the distinction between B2B and B2C businesses increasingly irrelevant. However businesses with a smaller, more clearly defined target group, as is often the case in the B2B sector, have an advantage over many traditional B2C enterprises, namely that the volume of customer data to be analyzed is relatively manageable. Evaluating the enormous quantities of data collected in the consumer goods industry, where each and every customer essentially belongs to the broader target group, is much more of a challenge. That’s why I’m convinced that using technology to cultivate the market will increasingly lend companies a competitive advantage, particularly in the B2B service environment.

What impact will this development have on the form of collaboration found within a company?

As I’ve already mentioned: The ability to successfully collaborate in an economic ecosystem, whether within a company or across company lines, is becoming more and more relevant. Of course our modern-day forms of collaboration have to reflect these developments and be flexibly adaptable, as a result. At the same time, however, competitors still need to keep an open mind when it comes to larger joint initiatives like digitalswitzerland, for instance, in which KPMG is involved.

In the not-so-distant-future, it’s entirely conceivable that people might work for multiple organizations at the same time, and that this could become the norm. Eventually I think we’ll probably need to move away from the rigid working model currently in use. Trends like platform business models and the shared economy will persist and even intensify. This will have a huge impact on our working world.

Where are KPMG’s priorities?

We never stop taking a critical look at our market cultivation activities and are currently in the process of switching to holistic, digital and data-based approaches. That means we’re shifting to more content that can be consumed online and on the go like infographics or video material. The topic of personalization is also one of our focuses: How can we prioritize the right consumers for our content? Which client is currently struggling to deal with which challenge? We aim to use smart networked systems to optimize our activities: a larger number of small yet more targeted campaigns! The technology often lays the foundation for this kind of approach.

In the end, however, it’s always people who decide how and whether they want to contact KPMG, which brings us to the role played by our staff. As a “purpose-led company”, KPMG consciously asks its employees: What motivates you? Why do you get up out of bed every morning? How can we work together to shape the employee and client experience? I’m positive that companies with a strong, value-based culture are better equipped to embrace future types of collaboration. Our employees identify very strongly with the KPMG story and are visibly becoming ambassadors.

In your opinion, what will marketing look like in the future?

That depends greatly on social developments. How will we deal with phenomena like fake news? Where do we draw the line when it comes to data protection? How is human awareness developing? It’s obvious that the drivers mentioned earlier – data insights, personalization and smart cooperative arrangements – will have a huge impact on competition. Marketing will have to reflect these changes as well. After all, the fact that customers and employees are placing greater emphasis on “experience” as a pivotal factor is an irreversible trend. The real question is what role marketing and brands will play in this newly created environment. We also see that our clients are increasingly concerned about transformation-related topics such as these and can provide them with precisely the right advice and support they need.

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