Aired February 17, 2016
The digital experience should be used in conjunction with other offerings to enhance the customer experience through various touchpoints.
“The challenge for marketers is to [be able to] have tools and the content to understand where each consumer is at a different point in his or her customer journey and then offering the right tool and the right content.” – Julia Fitzgerald, CMO of CPG Building Products / AZEK.
Enhancing the customer’s digital experience can create a symbiotic relationship that will also create positive synergies for the company.
“Everything we are doing in terms of the digital space is thinking about what would be a value to the guest, and then it’s a huge win when it becomes a win for our guests, a win for our team members, and a win for the company.” – Krista Gibson, CMO of Chili’s
The digital experience can and should enhance the customer’s experience with the brand.
“The brand is here to serve the artists and the players. Fundamentally, we need to look into the voice of the artist because at the end of the day, they’re going to be the amplifiers for what the Fender brand is all about.” – Evan Jones, CMO of Fender
This week on “Marketing Matters”, Executive Director Catharine Hays teamed up with Forbes’ CMO Network Editor Jenny Rooney for another monthly episode of CMO Spotlight to discuss the digital experience. They welcomed three guests — Julia Fitzgerald, CMO of CPG Building Products / AZEK, Krista Gibson, CMO of Chili’s and Evan Jones, CMO of Fender — to talk about how each CMO has integrated the digital experience into their product offerings.
Julia Fitzgerald is the CMO of CPG Building Products / AZEK. Though Fitzgerald has held marketing roles in various industries, the focus on the digital experience has been a commonality in all her positions. She says, “The threat throughout all of these is the need to really keep in touch with the end consumer and understand how to tell a brand story through many touchpoints. As the years have progressed, consumers have such a new and varied preference for how they want to learn about a brand or how they want to interact with your products, and so many of the touchpoints are now digital.” She adds, “The challenge for marketers is to [be able to] have tools and the content to understand where each consumer is at a different point in his or her customer journey and then offering the right tool and the right content.”
AZEK recently launched a female-oriented campaign during New York’s Fashion Week with the tagline “The best-dressed homes wear AZEK.” Fitzgerald says the campaign began because while marketing communications for building products are generally masculine, the end decision about a home’s decking and railing is usually made by the females of the household. Fitzgerald explains AZEK is a surprisingly great fit for Fashion Week because it lives at the “intersection of technology and style”, and “people who care a lot about having a cutting-edge and stylish wardrobe also want the same for their homes.” While the campaign employs aspects of traditional marketing such as print, Fitzgerald says, “One of the things we are able to do is stretch this from print and digital and video into social” by also capturing the ads on video and spreading the message through social media.
Catharine and Jenny’s next guest was Krista Gibson, CMO of Chili’s. Chili’s has recently rolled out tabletop devices, Ziosks, to enhance the digital guest experience by removing some of the “pain points” from the dining experience. The device seeks to eliminate the transactional aspects of the dining experience by allowing guests to pay for their meals, split checks, access the reward program, and order dessert. Gibson says, “The way we are thinking about the digital guest experience as part of the total strategy is really looking for those opportunities where we can help out guests effortlessly interact and transact with brand and in no way take away from the experience or the certainly the quality of the food or feeling like they’re cared for.” She adds, “Everything we are doing in terms of the digital space is thinking about what would be a value to the guest, and then it’s a huge win when it becomes a win for our guests, a win for our team members, and a win for the company.”
Though many eyes have shifted to digital, Gibson says for Chili’s, “Traditional marketing is still very important…When we have product innovation, we see traditional advertising as an important way of launching that product innovation.” To place the digital experience in the context of traditional marketing, Gibson adds, “We are still doing all the traditional marketing. I think what’s changed over the years is now you have this whole digital component that’s an overlay to the traditional marketing.”
The final guest on “Marketing Matters” was Evan Jones, CMO of Fender. Jones says he believes Fender is a “70-year-old start-up” because the course of music creation and expression is at a unique time where the new generation may not necessarily be aware with the rich history but are “very interested in creating new forms of expression and taking the guitar to new places.” He adds, “From a company standpoint, a lot of what we do is really intended to leverage all the heritage and history but to really stake out the next phase of growth for the Fender brand.”
In additional to building out its core businesses and building a sense of community around the Fender brand, Jones hopes to “stand up a digital organization that can develop product and services designed to accompany each player’s own journey.” He states “there’s a significant opportunity to compliment the core business and core experience with digital products and services,” such as offering the tuning app to help first-time players and increasing the availability of content such as instructional videos and instructor networks. Jones summarizes, “The brand is here to serve the artists and the players. Fundamentally, we need to look into the voice of the artist because at the end of the day, they’re going to be the amplifiers for what the Fender brand is all about.”
Rachel Yuqian Li
WFoA Program Assistant
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2016