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Home Interviews CXBuzz Interview With Emmanuel Obadia, Vice President of Marketing, EMEA CX Applications...

CXBuzz Interview With Emmanuel Obadia, Vice President of Marketing, EMEA CX Applications at Oracle

Hi Emmanuel, tell us about yourself, your background?

Hi, I’m actually a geek, ex-developer, fascinated by Tech and even more by Tech for good. I started as an entrepreneur, founding a software company, and hit by a piece of counterintuitive evidence: the best technology does not always win! This is how I embraced and became an expert in marketing & communications. I was then attracted to various world-class vendors in international positions like head of product, marketing & comms, alliances, and indirect sales. I am based in Europe and experienced Silicon Valley, the bay area, for a few years as well. I am today a big believer in the importance of the customer experience, revisiting the product fit with customers’ real needs, and corporate social responsibility.

Online commerce was booming in 2020, and so did consumer reviews – How can brands better utilize this data to improve their customers’ experience?

Actually, this goes back to reconnecting with customers’ right brain and behavior. What the pandemic did show, among other things, is that the consumers have changed their behavior and their buying journey has become even more unpredictable than before. To better serve them, brands need to leverage all the data available (1st, 2nd & 3rd party data) to inform what would the next best hyper-personalized interaction looks like, when and on what channel activate it in context. Ideally, brands should do that in real-time, empowering whoever in their organization is to engage next with the customer. It’s no longer a B2B or B2C game, people are demanding B2ME relationships.

Emmanuel’s tips for personalization

What tips do you have for companies that want to improve their personalization strategies?

I would have many but let’s focus on things one can ramp up immediately: automating to the max, bending from demographics to behavioral segments trending to segments of ONE, learn fast from experience i.e. A/B test like crazy, be agile or forget it. Data is the new currency in the new world, and AI is your best friend.

Do you think personalization and customer-centricity are going to become increasingly more relevant in the coming year? How so?

The first lockdown taught us about the pace of change: according to McKinsey in 8 weeks of confinement, digital adoption made a 5 years leap forward! As a result, other trends accelerated as well and among them the demand for personalization from consumers (B2B and B2C altogether) and customer-centricity: B2ME! As a number of innovative players did lead the pack in customer centricity, effortless “phygital” customer experience, individuals are comparing the brands they use with these and this is accelerating the imperative for incumbents to transform fast at the expense of literally going out of business.

“Unlocking the customer value chain” has been very successful for new entrants in commerce. If one just started to experience the Amazon way of shopping, one would expect the same level of effortless customer experience for all the brands it interacts with, whether in B2B or B2C context the same. Remember the coined term “uberizing your business”? well, it was not only for taxi companies but for any business with a field service component like telcos, utility companies, commerce, and many more.

Social media pages have become crucial for companies in most industries, especially in eCommerce. What’s the most common mistake you see in a company’s social media strategy?

Silos!!! Considering social media as a separate channel when actually it is part of the mix to engage with your customers and prospects is a big mistake a lot of us are doing. Chief Revenue Officers, when you have one, should really think about that.
Another is to consider social media pages, your real estate in social media sort of speak, be an advertising spot when it should be considered as a two-way communication street allowing to establish and maintain conversations with your audience. Influencers in this regard, can play a defining role in improving your impact in this realm when done with a customer-first mindset.

What’s the most insightful book you read in 2020?

I did read again a fascinating book: “Unlock the customer value chain” from Thales Teixeira an HBS author. It is reminding incumbents how to be paranoid about disruptors coming their way and for entrepreneurs about how to disrupt the leaders. It is all about the customer-centricity but assessed with the customer’s perceived value, not the vendors’.

It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future. How should Executives gear up to the changing times?

Executives should endorse being authentic leaders, dropping the “corporate costume” that is counterproductive to employee engagement. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” said Peter Drucker, the business management guru. I’d recommend all Executives to revisit the company’s purpose with their right brain, watch carefully all the dimensions of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and pay special attention to Millenials as they are becoming the driving force in the business.

Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?

Customer effort score – Gartner definition – CES is calculated by the percentage of customers that at least “somewhat agree” (those who give a 5 or above on a scale from 1 to 7) that the company made it easy to resolve their issue. Tracking and improving CES will improve the NPS, repurchase rate, lower costs and improve employee retention.

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