Learning with TBOE

Carmen Bekker presents at TBOE 2019

All business leaders face issues, according to survey of CEOs

Posted on May 30th, 2019 in Big Data, Customer-Centricity, Event News, Event Security, Industry Insight, Leadership

Carmen Bekker – partner, customer brand and marketing advisor for KPMG Australia – talked to the audience at TBOE 2019 about the results of a survey her company carried out. They spoke to more than 200 CEOs from businesses of all sizes in Australia to find out what their biggest issues are.

From a list of the 10 key issues, Carmen spoke about five concerns that are most relevant for event organisers.

Digital transformation

Every industry has seen changes thanks to the internet. In the events world, it’s unheard of not to sell tickets online and run social media promotions, while events themselves are changing with live streams and technology like augmented reality. Other industries have seen bigger changes and we’re only likely to see more. Embracing change is the only way not just to survive, but also to thrive.

Carmen said, “The consensus with all leaders is that digital transformation is absolutely necessary but, depending on who you talk to, it means different things.”

“Some could be talking about investments in back-end systems at their organisations, others could be talking about digitally connecting or automating their processes, others could be talking about developing new products or using data to make decisions. Or they could be talking about a complete transformation of the business model.”

Innovation and disruption

Closely linked to digital transformation is the idea of innovation and disruption. This can be done on a huge scale like Airbnb and Uber disrupting the accommodation and taxi industries or it can be a piece of software or an app that changes the way business is done. For events, the latter is more likely, but that may still have a big effect on Australia.

Carmen said, “We talk about the cloud, it not only holds organisational data but it holds a lot of personal data. Everything we do now from our gym memberships, travel, health, banking – all that data is stored in the cloud. Blockchain is also popping up everywhere.”

“What we’re seeing is a lot of global players coming into Australia to disrupt our local market. These global players are bringing with them a very sophisticated use of data and a very sophisticated learning curve from their current customers.”

Customer centricity

Customers are the key to success for any event or business, but they’ve often been an afterthought as they have traditionally had weak bargaining power. With more technology, more information available to them and more options, the customer is now the boss. It’s no longer possible to create something and hope for the best – you need to think about your customers at every step of your planning.

The problem is that customers don’t always know what they really want. Carmen spoke of a survey of 2000 customers asking what they wanted from corporates and there was no clear answer other than reduced costs. Even when asked about superannuation funds, more people said they wanted lower fees rather than better returns.

Carmen said, “While does this point to a societal trend, what we see here is that If we focus all our efforts on what customers say they want, we might never get to where we want to go; it would be a race to the bottom. A customer can’t tell you how to disrupt, a customer can’t tell you how to produce the next innovation. What a customer can talk to you about is outcomes and what they need and want: better, faster, cheaper, more. The impetus has to be on us.”

Cybersecurity and data privacy 

As Michelle Price told us in her talk, cybersecurity is something that’s becoming a lot more important, especially in Australia. A company with strong security is one that encourages trust and authenticity and Carmen says that data privacy is becoming the best intangible asset that business can create.

Public trust

Public trust is a matter that affects us all. If you lose it, it can be hard to win back, and you’re going to have a very hard time running an event. So how do we build (and keep) trust?

Carmen said, “I always talk to my clients about a piggy bank. You’ve got to keep filling up trust because one day, it’s going to empty out the bottom and you need to have enough in there to weather out the storm. If that’s depleted and something happens, it’s going to be very hard to build it back up again.”

“There’s a deep link back to the customer. Deeply understanding, developing and nurturing customer needs is absolutely key. Making your organisation truly customer-centric is what will help you through 2019 and beyond.”

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