Phones4U merges marketing, CRM, social and brand teams under new marketing director Ben Padley as it eyes wearables

Phones4U has merged its marketing, brand, social and customer relationship management (CRM) teams under its new marketing director Ben Padley, as it aims to improve the in-store experience and leverage the opportunity that wearable technology could offer as a new product range.

Speaking to The Drum, Padley, who took up the role at the end of last year, explained that he was looking to grow the brand and engage with consumers through digital, social and CRM.

“It’s a perfect marriage, and the potential for Phones4U is enormous,” he said, adding that he believes that there is still a job to be done around growing the brand in an omnichannel environment, which led to the restructure of the teams under himself in order to “create a homogenous experience for our consumers” to let the business evolve as consumer behaviour and shopping habits do too.

He later added: “It’s about ensuring that all of our communications are insistent. The challenge for any marketing team within a business is to have a homogenous feel which breeds consistency that generates comprehension on a consumer level with creates trust. That is part of the reason for bringing these teams together. We realise that the way that consumers engage with the brand is channel dependent, so we need to ensure that we are organising around our customer.”

Padley also discussed the concept store opened in White City last year, which saw staff dressed casually, the incorporation of digital point-of-sale screens, a change in layout to help consumers browse product using free wi-fi and a change in lighting, from which some elements will be rolled out across the UK later this year.

The use of iBeacons is also a possibility, admitted Padley; “We will always be looking at how we experiment, trial and test new things as they come in. As long as the operational cost is not prohibitive, we will look to trial as long as it is what is right for what our consumers are looking for.”

Another important element of the sales process that Padley claimed Phones4U will develop will be post-sale, with brand interaction taking place after a consumer has bought a product, to ensure they are fully satisfied, in order that the brand remains front of mind when they look to make their next purchase.

“There’s just a natural truth in Phones4U that we appeal to early adopters and a slightly younger market. The challenge for me is to ensure that we can broaden the appeal of the brand without losing existing customers. So a lot of the focus for this year will be to communicate, beyond great value, why consumers should shop at Phones4U and also find reasons why consumers should engage with the brand post purchase. It’s a classic kind of acquisition and retention model to ensure that the brand is the backbone and appealing to the wider populations of the UK.”

He added that the brand’s creative agency, Adam&EveDDB has already begun work on the next communications campaign, which should see activity begin to roll out in the coming months, across both paid-for and owned media platforms.

“Things like the wearable category is a real interest as it’s of high consumer interest…We see a huge and quite surprising awareness around wearable, probably driven by products like Google Glass, and a high propensity for purchase. What is something that no one has done is create a great shopping experience and proposition around that. So we are looking at that category and how we bring that into our business in a meaningful way because at the end of the day the smartphone is at the heart of that proposition.”

Despite wearables being something the brand is looking at, Padley is not yet certain whether they will become core retail products of the future.

“There’s an opportunity there and we are looking at that. Whether that is where we will evolve to, I couldn’t say, but it’s worth testing. We are in prime place to be the destination for this sort of product,” he concluded.

Prior to joining Phones4U, Padley was a consultant for Brand Learning, and previously served as global digital engagement director at Barclaycard, and was also global vice president, head of digital marketing & CRM at Sony Ericsson.

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