Merryn Olifent spent New Year’s Eve 1999 in the boardroom of Hewlett Packard waiting for the Y2k crisis. The Millenium Bug, remember that? If that’s not an example of potential digital disruption I don’t know what is.

Since then, Merryn has been at the forefront of digital technology and marketing including the first Adobe Target implementations in the region and Australia’s first banking app.

Recently, Merryn joined the team here at G2 and will soon be delivering our brand new workshop, Design Thinking for Marketing:

Design Thinking provides marketers with a clear way of driving customer centricity into all elements of their marketing programs from product/service design, proposition development, to campaign execution.

We asked Merryn to share some of the most significant changes to marketing:

Focus on digital, especially mobile

I’d point to the saturation of mobile devices in our lives as the most significant change of the last decade. It has shifted how we interact with everything – friends, family and brands – it’s given consumers more control on who and how they choose to engage, it’s on their terms and they are not giving that back!

And the future? I’m very curious to see the explosion of services created around AI. Ultimately those based on solving real customer problems will win, but it will definitely be an interesting battle. 

The ability to Measure and Optimise

Marketers are blessed with an increasing suite of data and metrics they can use to measure and optimise their activities, often it’s the ability to interpret and act on these metrics that’s the difficult part. When I started, campaign measurement was done weeks after through a formal process, so optimisation was limited. Now getting this plethora of metrics into one, consistent and consumable source is the challenge!

What follows is knowing how to act and understanding what it really means. That’s where Design Thinking plays a crucial role. It helps marketers to understand the ‘why’ behind the data, giving it human meaning that can be translated into authentic solutions.

Marketing MOVING TOWARD complete CX

There is little value in delivering a marketing campaign or new brand platform if the experience doesn’t live up to this promise. Consumers are smarter than that, their expectations have been raised as they’ve experienced many brands who live up to their promise in every interaction online and offline.

Marketers need to redefine how they engage customers, design services and address the real problem they are solving for customers. It is a marketer’s role to champion this, to have a curious mind, always ask why and discover the jobs they can make easier, better and simpler for customers to get done.

Marketing is no longer a stand-alone function

Cross-functional teams, working toward a customer goal is critical to success. Marketers need to be able to understand and engage other disciplines like User-Experience Design, Data Scientists, Tech Developers, Change Managers, to create value in their organisations. People still need to be able to define their role within these teams but they can’t work in isolation, otherwise we will continue to create friction in our customer experiences. This also comes back to an organisational culture that rewards shared, not individual success.

 Design Thinking helps break down these barriers by applying empathy and critical thinking to both internal teams and external challenges. In my experience, marketers with Design Thinking skills and tools in their arsenal become pivotal to company success, not just improving traditional marketing, but organisational culture too.

And of course there are so many more - social media, digital marketing, automation, the rise and rise of martech, personalisation, content marketing, data everything... What remains constant is the need to develop and deliver value to customers, with Design Thinking marketers are in a great position to do just that.

Want to learn more? Join Merryn at the Innovation Powerhouse in Geelong for Design Thinking for Marketing.

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