5 things you need to know this week

From Instagram opening up its ad platform to all brands to Morrisons promoting the in-store experience over advertising, Marketing Week rounds up the top five stories you need to know this week.

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1. Lush overtakes First Direct as the top brand for customer experience

Cosmetics brand Lush has dethroned First Direct as the best brand for customer experience, according to KPMG Nunwood’s latest UK rankings.

The retailer climbs three places to claim the top spot, pushing First Direct into second place and John Lewis down one position to take third in the annual Customer Experience Excellence Top 100.

All three brands are particularly skillful when it comes to imparting knowledge, according to David Conway, director at KPMG Nunwood.

With shoppers now armed with a wealth of information thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, he believes the brands that do well are the ones that take the experience to “the next level” by making themselves “indispensable” through the knowledge they can share.

2. Brands to cut off agencies in a bid to become more customer-centric

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Marketers are planning to take more capabilities in-house as agility and customer centricity become increasingly important, according to new research.

The survey, conducted among 200 senior marketers by MediaSense in association with ISBA and Ipsos Connect, saw a majority of respondents indicate the desire to separate management of customer relationships and data from agencies.

Over half (54%) of respondents said they expect to bring a number of functions previously outsourced to agencies in-house by 2020, while 58% agreed that the number of agencies they work with will likely decline over the next five years.

3. Instagram ‘open for business’ as it allows any brand to advertise on the site

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From the biggest global brands to the local flower shop, any business will now be able to advertise on Instagram. The social media site has officially opened up its marketing platform to all for the first time.

Launched this week (9 September), ads will now be available in 30 new countries, including eight in Europe, with a global rollout planned for the end of September. That includes the newer direct response ads, which encourage users to take actions on posts through buttons such as ‘shop now’, ‘install’ or ‘learn more’.

Instagram is also launching new ad formats including ‘Marquee’ ads. These are aimed at delivering high awareness and impact over a short period of time for events such as Black Friday or a new campaign launch, according to Amy Cole, business operations at Instagram.

“Instagram advertising is now open for business,” she told Marketing Week.

4. Improving the shopping experience is more important than advertising, says Morrisons boss

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Having announced yet more profit and sales declines this week, Morrisons’ chief executive sat in front of the press for the first time to reveal marketing wasn’t a primary concern in his first year in charge.

Since joining Morrisons in March, Potts has adopted a quieter approach to advertising, with a recent TV ad celebrating the return of manned checkouts a rare example of TV spend.

He told Marketing Week: “You can’t build advertising without a strong foundation and I think it falls to the firm to ensure that the shopping trip gets better first.”

Pre-tax profits at Morrisons sunk 47% to £126m in the six months ending 2nd August and Potts admitted the retailer is approaching marketing “in a different way”. He suggested digital marketing could now be more important to the brand than traditional TV spend.

“This first year is all about listening to customers and making the shopping trip consistently great. It isn’t about hitting a figure,” Potts added.

5. John Lewis boss: ‘We are changing our approach to marketing to better serve customers’

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The John Lewis Partnership’s chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield says the retailer’s marketing department is “changing” to reflect the growth of multichannel and to provide a more joined-up customer experience.

Having posted a pre-tax profit fall of 26% for its half-year results this week, Mayfield said a change in approach to marketing, which saw marketing head Craig Inglis promoted to customer director, is enabling the business to “better serve customers”.

“The root cause of Craig’s change is the continued move to omnichannel within the business and ensuring John Lewis is organised to deliver against the changing ways the customer is choosing to shop,” Mayfield told Marketing Week.

“The changes to Craig’s role – and he’s done a fantastic job leading our marketing and that will continue – will ensure he is critiquing every aspect of our customer experience to the board.”

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