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An unending curiosity, a deep sense of responsibility, and the desire to support people relentlessly – these personality traits briefly describe the drivers behind Giovanni Luca Randisi’s (Giovanni) illustrious career. Giovanni, Vice President – Product, home24 SE, has held diverse roles across industries, giving him a rich experience in Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
In this article, he talks about the trends in CRM, customer centricity, and the need for Data, Product, and Marketing to work synchronously to achieve business goals.
- Significance of CRM and Trends
- An Illustrious Career in Product & CRM
- Customer Centricity
- Unification of Data, Product, and Marketing
- Final Thoughts
- Lessons Learned
Significance of CRM and Trends
According to Giovanni, CRM is a powerful element of the marketing mix and has a positive effect on the PnL of any B2C business. “Economically speaking, CRM, it’s always kind of the gold mine of any company,” he said. It provides the possibility of monetising further on the customer without spending excessively on marketing.
With customer sentiment shrinking, it’s a way to build a loyal customer base, retain it and gain a higher share of the customer base. It also helps in keeping a check on marketing efficiency.
Listed below are the CRM trends to watch, as enumerated by Giovanni:
1. Proliferation of Channels
WhatsApp and Facebook have become more of B2C channels. Even within a website, there are going to be more chatbots.
2. Use of WhatsApp for Purchases
It is a trend seen in Asia but yet to be fully seen in Europe. As per 2021 statistics, WhatsApp has an open rate of 99% and an engagement rate of 70%, meaning that, the likelihood of opening and reading a marketing message on WhatsApp is higher than any other medium.
3. Need for Data Integration
The proliferation of channels requires major data integration because of the increase in the number of ways in which a business can talk to a person. This requires a CRM approach that unifies the knowledge about a customer through various channels.
4. Increasing Importance of CDPs
A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is software that gathers and combines first-party customer data from various sources to create a unique and comprehensive view of each customer. It enables different software and communication channels to always have the most up-to-date and unified information about the customer. With a deeper understanding of a customer’s interests and preferences, CDPs enable businesses to send personalised and effective communication to a customer across channels thereby enhancing the Customer Experience (CX). This helps build trust and loyalty and enables business growth. Given the benefits, the importance of CDPs has increased in the last couple of years.
5. Diminishing Online-offline Barrier
It is going to get smaller and smaller and at some point unify so that customers can continue the journey where they left off. This highlights the importance of an omnichannel model of CRM.
Significantly, Giovanni asserted that some elements are going to stay there almost forever. “About 10 years ago, I was doing email marketing and people said that email marketing is going to die next year because push notifications are coming. That’s not going to happen. Quick email marketing was there, it’s going to be there and stay for quite a long time”, he said.
Giovanni, for sure, knows this better than many others given his wealth of experience in the field.
An Illustrious Career in Product & CRM
Giovanni started as a researcher during his college days at SDA Bocconi School of Management. It was a very formative moment for him as it enabled him to start his journey of specialisation in CRM and pricing.
He strengthened his understanding of offline marketing during his stint at Saint-Gobain, one of the Fortune 500 companies. Reminiscing about that experience, he said, “this was also a very interesting and formative experience because of the nature of the company, one of the few companies that are totally integrated…And this helped me develop a 360-degree understanding of the different functions and departments of the company.”
While he worked in the field of digital transformation at his consulting firm, his subsequent experiences at CupoNation and Keller Sports GmbH, where he headed the CRM and Communications functions, fortified his knowledge of digital businesses.
Currently, he is the Vice President of Product at home24 SE (home24), a leading pure-play home & living e-commerce platform in continental Europe and Brazil, with a product portfolio of more than 200,000 items.
He has spent a good part of his career at home24 where he headed CRM and Marketing before pivoting into the Product organisation. “I’ve been working at home24, taking care of crafting the product vision, and also implementing it, creating a team that can deliver this vision, equipping them with the right processes and the infrastructure to deliver the product vision and achieve the company goals”.
Giovanni exclaimed that customer-centricity was the start and the end of everything they did at home24.
“Selling furniture online is not as easy as selling a pair of well-known shoes online”, explained Giovanni while discussing the challenges at home24. The company operates in a business that is particularly challenging because there are no known brands.
Giovanni is helping his company find ways to convince prospective customers – who already have reservations about buying furniture online – that the product they are contemplating buying is right even if there is no knowledge about the specific brand behind it.
To this effect, the company uses several tools which help simplify the infrastructure, enable online personalisation, improve the user experience on the product page, etc.
Home24 is an Agile organisation with a cross-functional setup and customer-centricity at its core. It constantly takes customer feedback and, based on it, tests the prototype solutions that can resolve their challenges and fulfil their needs.
Innovation is thus a continuous process at home24.
For Giovanni, each of his career roles has been transformative. However, he considers his role at home24 as the one which has exposed him to the highest level of diversity, requiring him to challenge himself with something that he wasn’t fully aware of because he came from a managerial, economic, and marketing background, without much knowledge about engineering processes and the style of working.
He said, “There is also a cultural difference in the creative thinking and decision-making when you go from a business role to an engineering role.”
However, it has been an incredible journey for him because it helped him develop an understanding of both worlds, something which is quite beneficial given the need for Data, Product, and Marketing to work in close coordination to achieve the business goals.
Unification of Data, Product, and Marketing
Discussing the interlinkages between Data, Product, and Marketing, Giovanni explained that CRM plays an instrumental role in shaping product strategies. “CRM doesn’t go alone but needs to be integrated in a way of thinking about your product, your architecture, or your engineering landscape,” he said.
Giovanni gave the analogy of an orchestra to explain his point.
“It’s rather simple to understand in a single case, you need to think about that as an orchestra playing together in our company. As of today, 1000 potential messages can be shipped to a single person at the same time. But to play a nice melody, the orchestra needs to follow the same tempo and that’s where everything starts to become more complicated. The three perspectives need to come together and be in harmony with the objectives of the company to play nice music.”
As is evident, effective CRM plays a significant role in achieving organisational objectives.
Giovanni reiterated the importance of customer-centricity when talking about his main learnings. “Make sure your team, your colleagues, are working close to the customers and are listening to the customers because if you want to be efficient and impactful in what you do, you cannot do that without considering the customer perspective”, he concluded.
|1||Continuous product development and innovation are required to achieve customer-centricity|
|2||Customer-centricity is important if one has to be efficient and impactful in what one does|
|3||Today, Data, Product, and Marketing need to work together to achieve business goals|
|4||CRM is a powerful element of the marketing mix and has a positive effect on the PnL of any B2C business|
|5||Proliferation of channels requires major data integration, increasing the importance of CDPs|
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