By Alex Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer, The Iconic
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do at THE ICONIC, which is why our focus is to provide seamless and inspiring experiences that - on the back of our purpose - liberate customers in their every interaction with our business. This inherent customer-centric approach has been the key driver for our accelerated growth and is the backbone of our success. However, while a brand purpose is easy to state, it is much harder to bring to life and requires a considered strategy to successfully execute.
Business life, as with day to day life, is about consideration and collaboration. What I mean is that ‘Consideration’ is your state of mind - your purpose, your people, your customers, your partners. With ‘Collaboration’, I mean the optimal state of activity within your ecosystem. When it comes to business life, MarTech facilitates both the Consideration and the Collaboration, doing so at scale and in a hyper-personalised manner. A small company may be able to have a real personal 1:1 relationship with a customer and market to a person in a personal manner. For a business like THE ICONIC, Martech allows us to have this relationship with an audience of millions - which requires us to focus on successfully stitching products, data, technology, brand experiences, creative executions and channels together.
This approach has been fundamental to generating THE ICONIC’s 150 million+ annual visits (at an average of over 13-14 million per month) and our mobile app being Australia and New Zealand’s most downloaded fashion apps, with over 2m downloads to date across iOS and Android.
Modern-day MarTech needs to be approached by an underlying understanding of your ecosystem, built on collaborative stakeholder alignment within the entire business, and empower a learning mindset and technical expertise in your teams.
Tackling Martech with singular focus is not a strategy. Martech can help you bring your business strategy to life though, in a modern, multi-channel, and data rich customer environment. Simply optimising one channel at the time only, focusing on one sole activity or customer cohort, is not going to deliver long-term results; empowering the right set of product or tools at the right time though will. Considering the pain point you are trying to solve, the tools your team already uses and how right these are for your specific ecosystem is crucial because you may come across the perfect or market-leading tool for a specific channel, yet this tool may not actually be the best tool for your business.
At THE ICONIC, we currently have three concrete MarTech projects (that are either implemented or about to be implemented), which we focus on harnessing: Single Customer View, Data-Driven Attribution and Customer Lifetime Value optimisation.
On Stakeholder alignment
Successful MarTech does not work if a marketing function is not aligned to the business, which means stakeholder management and change management beyond marketing teams or functions is crucial. This needs to go deeper and be more consistent than budget conversations or campaign reporting - it requires on-going collaborative engagement. For example, actively engaging legal or finance functions on the right identification and tender process steps for a new marketing technology or tool is as important as is aligning with the tech product or IT teams. In this case, alignment is not just about ensuring technical know-how or compatibility, it is about understanding how a new tool relates to existing platforms, the wider technology ecosystem of your organisation and how it complies with your company’s operational policies, which for us was the approach we adopted when introducing our Single Customer View platform. Understandably, business alignment is always going to have its challenges due to the size or scale of your organisation. With THE ICONIC growing to over 1,000 employees in just eight year, we certainly understand there are challenges, yet it does not make alignment any less important.
On Learning Mindset
Technical know-how of marketing team members is also fundamental, as is their knowledge of platforms and how these fit within the technology ecosystem of the business. We are nurturing a learning culture at THE ICONIC. And for our marketing function to be successful, we ensure all team members - from senior leadership all the way through to our graduate team members - are being educated to develop a data-driven mindset because customer experience is built upon understanding the customer’s needs and behaviours. The additional benefit of improving our marketing team members’ understanding of data, means we move away from completely relying on data scientists. This allows team members to develop their own insights and for the data teams, it frees them up to focus on more strategic projects, for example Customer Lifetime Value model builds. This learning mindset also extends to our Creative Marketing team - for example, our entire in-house creative team (even our graphic designers) are being (or have been) trained on our Single Customer View tool, Lexer. By technically upskilling and improving the technical know-how of our marketing function, not only are we developing our team member’s skills, we are increasing cross-functional collaboration. You never know where the best ideas may come from and if a graphic designer understands how an SEM manager builds a customer segment or campaign, greater alignment between teams and better outcomes are achieved - this stands to ultimately benefit our customers and their experience.
In 2018, THE ICONIC added over 200 new brands onsite, with a total of over 1,000 brands and 60,000 products, and over 200 new products added each day. Without a modern MarTech approach built on collaborative alignment with the entire business, consideration of our ecosystem and increasing the technical expertise of our marketing team to create seamless customer experiences, our success in marketing our incredible product offering would be significantly hampered. At THE ICONIC, we understand these fundamental elements to MarTech are crucial to ensuring we stay true to our customer-first focus, while supporting the business through strategic, considered and efficient marketing activity execution.
With our approach to MarTech, we are able to truly connect our brand purpose of ‘Liberation’ to business realities, and ultimately help drive human connectivity between our people, our customers and our partners through everything we do.