The new marketing strategy? Spend big on perfecting your mobile and online channels

Xero CMO Andy Lark says companies that provide the best customer experiences will win in the connected era.

Andy Lark
Andy Lark
Andy Lark of Xero suggests enterprises ditch “old marketing tactics” and spend their money instead on perfecting their mobile and online channels.

“Get your mobile and online experience perfect, and then reinvent the overall client experience,” says the chief marketing officer of the cloud-based small business accounting software provider.

"Marketing is largely a crutch for those who build lousy products," says Lark.

Companies that provide the best [customer] service experience wins, says Lark in his keynote on ‘change in the connected era’ at Xerocon Auckland.

“Nobody is safe in this environment,” he states. “There is a radical reinvention going on here. How do you create the best experience so you have a huge competitive advantage?”

Related: Digital Darwinism is unkind to those who wait, says Ray Wang of Constellation Research.</b>

Increasingly, this customer experience happens on a mobile device.

He says people spend more time on mobile apps than web browsers.

“We do not have a phone in our pocket, we have a fully functioning computer,” says Lark.

He says an important question for businesses today is: “How good are you on a mobile phone or tablet?”

“If you are not there, you are not anywhere,” he adds

Andy Lark at the 2015 Xerocon in Auckland
Andy Lark at the 2015 Xerocon in Auckland

Nobody is safe in this environment.

Andy Lark, Xero

Related: Marketers should ask, ‘What does my customer need next?’

He cites the case of bookstores which are now closing down due to the inroads made by online retailers such as Amazon.

Amazon will deliver a book on the same day you order, to your hotel, for $5, he states.

He imagined a meeting of the bookstore executives as Amazon and online retailers were starting to expand: A 'geek in attendanc'e would be saying they needed a website, but the executives would respond by saying they must refurbish the stores.

He says the death of the bookstores is a fate that could hit other industries.

He says the early movers and adopters of the mobile technology did not just adopt it — “They changed the way they live, work and play.”

The lesson here, he says, is “technology is an unstoppable force, it is the trigger for huge industry wide change.”

“So how do you deal with change, how do you actually change, how do you transform using these technologies?”

Related: Wayne Norrie: ‘Do not walk into the future facing backwards’

In the case of mobile technology, he says among the biggest users of smartphones are aged 16 to 34.

“They do not live on the browser, they live on their phones,” he says.

“A new bunch of customers [is] coming your way who want to do business differently with you. You have to drive a shift if you want to be here in 10 to 15 years.”

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