Russell Parsons: Customer-centricity is at the heart of this year’s Festival

The story of Anthony Thomson’s Atom Bank encapsulates the majority of modern marketing’s key challenges.

Russell Parsons

The mobile-only bank is the embodiment of digital-led disruption. Thomson’s intentions for Atom as first an insight-led business with a slavish commitment to customers’ needs – a “customer-centric data business” as he puts it – and a bank second ticks another couple of marketing boxes. The insistence that everyone in the business asks himself or herself ‘what benefit does my action offer customers?’, captures the new age of customer experience perfectly.

Thomson is a serial disrupter. Eight years after the launch of Metro Bank (which he co founded), Atom is another attempt to shake up an unloved sector blighted by perennial inertia and significant regulatory hurdles. His task is monumental, his competition formidable, but Atom’s fate will not be determined because he adopted the wrong approach.

His and Atom’s story leads our Festival of Marketing preview. Many of the challenges faced by Atom will be fleshed out over the two-day event, starting 11 November. The transformational power of data and engendering loyalty in increasingly fragmented markets are just a few of the hot-button topics that will be chewed over.

If there is one theme that underpins the two-day event, it is customer-centricity. We recently spoke to many of the marketing heavyweights appearing at the Festival. They detail how they are putting the customer at the centre of their organisational structure and output.

The Festival is not just a talking shop where challenges are listed and heads are scratched, however. Hundreds of speakers from some of the world’s top brands will present case studies of what has worked for them and what you can learn from their experiences. We have picked out what we believe are the key sessions to help you navigate the Festival here.

I’ll see you there.

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