TechBytes with Johann Wrede, Global VP, Strategic Marketing, SAP Hybris

Johann Wrede

Johann Wrede
Global VP, Strategic Marketing, SAP Hybris

According to a recent SAP survey, a majority of online consumers expect prompt service, assured protection of their personal data, and best-in-class personalization from the businesses. Clearly, in 2018, winning a consumer is tougher than losing one– and much of it depends on how marketers leverage customer data and build their omnichannel campaigns around unique behavioral intent collected from more sources than previously assumed. To understand how modern businesses can meet customer expectations when it comes to sharing data and to amplify the value of the new ‘digital business currency’, we spoke to Johann Wrede, Global VP, Strategic Marketing, SAP Hybris.

Tell us about your role at SAP Hybris and the team you handle.

I lead the Strategic Marketing team for SAP Hybris, which is the customer engagement and commerce division of SAP. In my role, I’m responsible for marketing our cloud and on-premise solutions across five line-of-business audiences: Commerce, Marketing, Sales, Service, and Revenue, as well as IT globally.

Additionally, I lead the development of strategy and oversee the management of our brand experience — including messaging and positioning, thought leadership, content marketing, events management and campaign development.

How do you see the evolution of CRM systems powered by customer data and intent impacting business decisions?

It is essential that modern organizations harness the abundant data available to understand their customers, which is most successfully executed through the use of a CRM system. To get a complete picture of each customer, brands must bring their business processes and customer information, including data from outside sources, together into a single core platform.

Using a CRM system helps organizations to achieve one of the most important aspects of the customer experience: closing the gaps in the customer journey. Generally, most B2B companies perform adequately at offering experiences when the customer is within a single department. For instance, the marketing email and the website will be consistent, so a click-through will give the customer a seamless experience as they transition from one channel to the next. However, when the customer requests more information after browsing, the salesperson who follows up often doesn’t have the context of the email they clicked on and the pages they browsed on the website – this is when the experience breaks.

This happens at every handoff point because departmental processes and systems are often only very lightly integrated, if at all. This needs to change as we move into 2018. Brands that fail to deliver consistent messages to customers on the channel of their choice will not survive. Therefore, all business and marketing decisions should be made through this lens.

How critical is it for modern businesses to leverage AI and machine learning capabilities for better data and analytic management?

As we move further into the era of the customer, artificial intelligence and machine learning are playing a crucial role in the customer journey. Marketing in the moment is difficult, especially when you discover the moment too late. The volume of data marketers deal with makes it hard to synthesize the insights which reveal the tactic to use and the time to use it. With a new generation of tools that have machine learning and AI built in, marketers can have these insights pushed to them automatically.

This information, combined with an agile execution process, allow B2B marketers to capitalize on changing market conditions or events which create opportunities, in their audiences. A core technology platform for data and analytic management can help organizations to break down barriers and gather all customer data in one place. This, in turn, simplifies the landscape and allows brands to deliver truly relevant and personalized communication, which will ultimately lead to customer loyalty.

Is customer engagement the new ‘digital business currency’? How do you meet customer expectations when it comes to sharing data?

The fastest way to lose a customer is by sharing data without their permission. SAP Hybris recently conducted a survey of over 20,000 consumers worldwide and found that 80 percent of respondents are willing to share (some) information with brands in exchange for a personalized experience. However, the same percentage of consumers will leave a brand almost immediately if a business uses this data without their knowledge.

Despite a customer’s willingness to share their data in exchange for a great experience, they also value privacy and expect their data to be protected while being provided with transparency on how it’s used. This means that brands that offer their customer a say in how their data is used are more likely to succeed in the digital economy.

Thanks for chatting with us, Johann.
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