Marketers that are just focused on getting closer to consumers through media and ignore that the importance of standing something are missing the importance of advocacy in the battle for growth, warned McDonald’s Europe's former chief strategy, customer and digital officer Pierre Woreczek
The rhetoric around “customer centricity” has gathered pace of late with the rising adoption of the title ‘chief customer officer’. The likes of Notonthehighstreet.com, John Lewis, British Airways and Tesco – all with expanding digital offerings – have introduced the role to their organisations to ensure the creation of a seamless customer journey, from marketing through to transaction. However, it’s no longer enough for these changes just to prioritise pushing the brand to as many people as possible and instead they have to play to win the “advocacy battle”, according to Woreczek
“We should be, more than ever, a customer centric organisation. But I ask – what was it before?” he continued. “Being customer centric is not enough. People are judging organisations with more elements in their hands so now I’m talking about winning the advocacy battle. We need to be more focused on advocacy."
Nike and Danone as examples as those which have gotten a head start. While they might have started out selling a product (shoes and food), they now stand for something more and ask customers to buy into that. Nike is now a company which sells ‘wellbeing’ to shift its fitness products while Danone axed its profitable biscuits division after it made a decision to stand for health.
Speaking at the iMedia Data Marketing Summit last week, Woreczek’s prediction was that to drive advocacy, reflecting the role of the company will be as important as providing a great product.
“Profit will only happen if people understand the value of a company and can buy into those values,” he said. “Corporate strategy has become more important than brand strategy […] companies are the engine of the brands.”
For marketers, their role will shift from being the creator of brands to the creator of the experience and “to transform critical issues into magical moments.” They will also move from brand marketing to “community marketing”.
“We don’t have media channels, we have communities. How many marketers say ‘I am in charge of making this community happy’. No, they say I’m in charge of the brand,” he said.
“It’s a totally different way of approaching how you do business. Today we evaluate a company based on financial results. I can tell you that we’ll evaluate the value of a company based on the number of advocates they have.”