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Key insights from Marketing South 2019

Marketing South 2019 brought the South Island marketing community together for a day of inspiration, learning and networking. The programme featured a mix of local and national case studies providing practical insights on digital and data-driven marketing, customer experience and brand development. Here is our summary and takeaways.

Key insights from Marketing South 2019 #cxreimagine

Katerina Thomas, Client Manager, Dunedin

Seamless digital and physical experiences

It’s incredible to see businesses embracing new technology and data to transform the experiences they deliver to their customers – and turning the concept of digital and physical spaces on its head. A great example of this is the concept of Live stores Nike recently opened in the USA where digital and physical spaces merge into one. The stores are designed to maximise speed and convenience of shopping by using data from online purchases and browsing histories to inform the products the store stocks. The concept of the store morphs and changes as time goes on, reacting to constantly changing customer preferences captured in a rich set of data. Nothing is set in stone.

The significance of this shift is that it goes beyond an ‘omnichannel’ approach. For the first time ever, brands have the tools to understand and improve customer journeys holistically across all touchpoints, whether it’s physical or digital ones.

Customers love it because it feels like walking into a store that knows you. Want to try on all those pairs you looked up online yesterday? No problem. Your size? No problem. Can’t be bothered to get off your couch to come in-store? No problem – send a text and get the shoes delivered to your door.

Investors love it even more. In Nike’s latest earnings report, the company said that digital sales rose by 41% in the most recent quarter and contributed to a 13% sales increase overall.

Meaningful connections

One of the fundamental changes in consumer behaviour that drives a shift in brand marketing strategies across the globe is an expectation that marketing communications should go beyond just telling brand stories. Today’s consumer expects more substance and value in marketing, whether it’s a focus on a worthy cause or a push to drive a cultural shift in society.

One great example of this is the Kupu app developed by Spark. Powered by Google technology and using camera from your phone, the app provides a new way to experience a language. It allows consumers to capture images of everyday objects and have those translated into Te Reo Maori in real time. The application relies on machine learning technology and is improving with every use to bring meaningful connections and experiences to Spark’s customers.

Richard Brown, Head of Digital Experience and Design

The messages of two speakers in particular resonated for me;

Dan West, FCB

FCB is an agency focused on purpose-driven and progressive advertising. Dan talked about the need for advertising to be bold and aspire to drive change. An example of this is looking at society’s drivers, e.g. representing women in the right way, and building an ad that truly relates. 

He drew on a few examples here to make the point: Axe in USA, Lynx in NZ, their change from sexism. Remember the “Lynx effect” ad?

Dan spoke about the shift to delivering an experience, five-star Hotels moving from providing satin sheets to providing experiences you can’t buy

Test and learn. For example, use Facebook as a test for advertising before extending to wider mass channels, as you have control and can take down content if it doesn’t work.

Susan Stevenson, IAG

Susan from IAG talked to their learnings and key considerations for transforming to a customer-centric business: a business that wants do better by their customers, to have their best interests at heart, developing loyal customers and advocates for the brand. The reasons for doing so go back to IAG’s key purpose and brand values. Additionally, customers today are more informed. They have price transparency and expect a high level of experience. There is a need to be bold and relevant; otherwise the competition will overtake you and you will be become disrupted.

Susan talked about creating a frictionless experience for customers across their end-to-end journey by applying a Design Thinking approach – understanding, testing early and continuously evolving. However, in order to do so successfully, the customer needs to be built into the business’s culture itself, designing for the customer first. Without having the internal processes and systems supporting the customer’s journey across all touch points, you are not going to be able to achieve a great experience.

Key takeaways:

  • Customers are more informed; they have price transparency.
  • Customer expect a high-level of experience and compare the experience they receive with you to the experience they receive others. Even Netflix has created expectations of the level of personalisation.
  • Make it easy, make customers feel valued and that you have their best interests at heart and they will become loyal customers and advocate
  • Data is important to understand how customer are feeling.
  • Brand is the promise we make, CX is the promise we keep. – Darren Kernaham.
  • CX needs to be seamless and aligned across all touch points.
  • Look at your customer journeys and understand the pain points. How can you remove these pain points to make the customer’s experience seamless and frictionless?
  • CX is about share of wallet and attention.
  • Undertake a customer maturity assessment.
  • Focus on your internal processes and systems to achieve a great client interactive layer.
  • Culture is everything – you have to build the customer into your culture, designing for the customer first.
  • Understand the customer first, then choose the right technology after.
  • Look at Experience Design and a design thinking approach. What is the actual problem designing for?
  • Involve the whole business
  • Everything goes back to business purpose and brand value
  • IAG used design thinking sprints to get an understanding of their pillars. They then presented to the exec to get buy-in and build a program of work.
  • User journey of people internally to create priorities. Need good culture or you’re never going to deliver a good experience.
  • Co-design with your customers. IAG did this by building an online testing panel of 5000 customers.
  • Create a dedicated, cross-functional customer journey team, focused on the end-to-end journey.
  • Look at the channels in your customer ecosystem. For IAG, a Facebook Messenger chat bot saw a 400% sales increase
  • Use personalisation, segmentation, AI and analytics. Understand your customer desires, needs and wants to build personas.
  • You need a mechanism to get customer feedback, and know how to measure it.
  • Share monthly metrics with exec. And it’s not just financial any more – you need to look at customer NPS, churn and behavioural insights in order to get the full picture.


  • Get the basics right, build a customer-first culture, understand the customer’s journey, get feedback, evolve.
  • You need to understand how you can be disrupted and in which areas.
  • You need to be bold and take lead or your competition will. If you’re a large legacy business, it will slow you down.
  • Start small, iterate, prove the worth.
  • Find the priorities. Where are going to focus in the customer journey to get the most value?
  • CX maturity was new for IAG. IAG wanted to do better for their customers and needed their exec on-board.
  • People can be initially sceptical about Design Thinking. But if you find a pain point, work on it, and people see it makes sense… Once they see the benefit of discovery and testing before building, they will be converted.
  • Use data to back up problem solving. If you have no data, then go out to your customers.
  • Business owners need to know what problem they are solving for customers and the business. They need to know how you measure success in order to know whether they’re getting it right or wrong.
  • CX isn’t “fluffy”; it’s about your wallet share.
  • Customer advocacy is everything. When people are talking about you, you’re winning. Loyalty is where big brands play. 

Insights from Richard Malloch, Client Director, Christchurch


“Centennials” – that was the standout word for me. I had no idea who they were, but they are the young people under 23 who have different perceptions of the world. They are non-judgemental and accept our differences without discrimination. They choose products or services that align with their values – their choices are “purpose-driven”. They expect a website to be personalised to them and will readily share personal information to enable that personalisation. (Actually, when I did more research, I had heard of Centennials by a different name: they are also called Gen Z, and I see these characteristics often in my daughters!)





This blog is part of the #cxreimagine series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download the whitepaper, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download the whitepaper, click the banner #cxreimagine

Posted by: Richard Brown, Head of Digital and Experience Design | 15 May 2019

Tags: customer experience, Digital Transformation, #CXreimagine

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