Last week, we kicked off The Next Normal, a four-day webinar series leveraging real-world insights from thought leaders across multiple industry viewpoints. Experts from Nestle, Forrester, Salesforce, and DEG discussed what lies ahead for marketers and how they can stay ahead of the curve.

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Our first two sessions focused on providing perspective and actionable strategies around creating customer-obsessed brands and activating direct-to-consumer strategies for established brands. This week, we’ll be hosting two more webinars on the future of shopping and loyalty strategies.

Let’s dive into the main takeaways from our first week of webinars.

How to Become a Customer-Obsessed Brand

Forester VP and Principal Analyst Shar VanBoskirk joined DEG Relationship Marketing Director Tony Toubia to discuss the concept of customer obsession.

While most companies claim to be customer obsessed, less than 20% are actualizing this mindset across the organization. VanBoskirk both explained why customer obsession is different than customer service and customer experience, and shared examples of businesses who define their customer obsessions as either “count on us,” “at your service,” or “on your side.” Each represented a different type of customer-centric thinking throughout the business.

Three takeaways from this session were:

1. Customer obsession is a mindset that should align with your company’s goals and be considered during every business decision.

Ask yourself, will this make an impact on our customers? It could mean shortening the time it takes to perform a task on the internal side of your organization or increasing the time associates can spend helping a customer find something they need.

2. Your definition of customer obsession will be different than another company’s definition.

Consider the three buckets of “count on us,” “at your service,” and “on your side” to see if your company fits. Or there could be another way your business serves your customers. Find what it is, make sure it aligns with your business goals, and put it to paper. Then, figure out how to actualize it within your organization.

3. First-party data is the engine that drives personalized experiences, and it’s vital for brands to understand their customers through data.

Technology has brought with it a wealth of data—including product affinities and communication preference information—that can help brands tailor content and experiences to each individual. The key is gathering first-party data to build those experiences and meet customers in the right moment with the right message.

DTC Solutions for Established Brands

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DEG Managing Director of Channel Strategy John Stauffer moderated a discussion between Nestle Head of Digital Innovation Orchid Bertelsen and Salesforce Senior VP Antonio Sciuto about the importance of commerce innovation and how DTC strategies can be used to bolster a larger commerce program for established brands.

Consumers are engaging with brands in more channels and across more devices than ever before, and expect a seamless, cohesive, and personalized experience catered to their needs at that moment. That’s why brands must adapt to meet consumers where they are—online and in store—with relevant and impactful messaging that provides value.

Three takeaways from this session were:

1. First-party data is often a catalyst for DTC programs.

This is mainly due to the rise of walled gardens in Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Netflix, making first-party data more important than ever. To successfully market to customers in this digital experience age, brands must think through how to acquire new customers, identify and segment key audiences, and engage those audiences—driving transactions and loyalty—across every channel in which those customers are present.

2. Discovery and frictionless transactions are critical to DTC success.

Customer demands are driving the evolution of business, requiring brands to have a holistic experience across all channels and devices. Along with the right messages and touchpoints, brands also must have a back-end operation process ready to fulfill orders and accept returns in a way that meets customer expectations.

3. Designing winning DTC experiences calls for a shift from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach.

Customer demands are driving the evolution of business, requiring brands to have a holistic experience across all channels and devices. Embracing a customer-obsessed mindset as an established brand will allow your company to better understand customer expectations and meet them with relevant content and products.

Join us for week 2 of The Next Normal

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We’re exploring the future of shopping trends and retail, as well as building more impactful loyalty strategies during this week’s sessions. Be our guest and register to hear real-world examples of brands embracing the next evolution in marketing.

The Future of Shopping on May 13 at 11 a.m. CT with Salesforce Global Director – Retail Industry Solutions JR Linne and DEG Associate Director of Retail and Consumer Goods Jenn Horner.

Building Loyalty Beyond the Next Transaction on May 14 at 11 a.m. CT with Merkle Senior Director, Strategy & Insights Gina Fleck and DEG Associate Director of Loyalty Strategy Lisa Graves.

Register now for The Next Normal and access last week’s recordings and all complementary resources.

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