This article was featured in B&T on 1 December, 2014. To read the full article, visit: http://www.bandt.com.au/marketing/customer-disruption-game-changers

First came the ‘digital disruption’ and now the ‘customer disruption’ – and it will short fuse those companies who are not willing to adapt their strategies to the changing market’s mood.

DIGITAL DISRUPTION DRIVES INNOVATION

The digital and social media age has given companies such as Google an ever-increasing repository of customer analytics. They thrive on this information punched in real time by millions of customers every waking minute. One minute you are searching for the nearest Asian restaurants using Google maps, next thing you are being recommended to download an app that lists out Asian food joints close by. Apple iTunes for example, brilliantly played on the consumers’ desire to purchase singles by an artist, helping them avoid buying an entire album. Domino’s Pizza took the pizza industry by storm when they came up with a Facebook ordering app, order tracking and 3D pizza creation.

It is certain that brands such as Apple and Domino’s Pizza have been innovative communicators. But what makes them innovative is their successful attempts at disrupting the way a customer thinks, behaves and spends money.

CUSTOMER DISRUPTION – THE GAME CHANGER

Globally, companies like McDonald’s, KFC and L’Oreal are capitalising on ‘customer disruption’. McDonalds saw a huge opportunity in selling Halal food and KFC has taken bacon off the menu at some outlets to accommodate the religious sensitivities of Australia’s growing Muslim population. L’Oreal designed 33 shades for their brand True Match (US), in order to cater to consumers from different ethnic backgrounds. These businesses are ahead of their game – they knew that they had an opportunity cost to lose if they didn’t get involved.

Customer disruption led by the multicultural consumer has created the need for new mindsets and newer business models to track and maximise change. Especially because these new audiences display very different purchase dynamics and provide marketers with opportunities to create new products and services and adopt new touch points and platforms of reach.

ADLAND CAUGHT NAPPING WHILE BOSSES SEARCH FOR NEW REVENUE STREAMS

While most in Adland are complacent with their mass marketing, a silent revolution is happening behind those intuitive boardroom doors as thought leaders are taking notice of the new audiences that are rapidly transforming the Australian audience profile.

47% of the Australian population was either born overseas or has at least one parent who was an immigrant. This equates to 10 million multicultural consumers from a total population of over 21 million. The forecast of total arrivals for the year 2014 alone is 511,500 according to the Department of Immigration and the net overseas migration is set to increase. With a purchasing power of more than $100 billion a year and a higher than average disposal income, the new audiences and multicultural customers are here to stay. The market change that we’re looking at can no longer be wished away.

IGNORING THE ISSUE WILL COST YOUR BUSINESS IN THE LONG RUN

A few Australian marketers who have already gained the first mover advantage are now reaping the benefits of their tailored marketing efforts. Other marketers can choose to act now and be the disruptor, reversing the slowing of revenue curves in an already saturated market.

The only growth today is coming directly from the new audiences – there are over half a million new and potential consumers who arrived in Australia this year alone. They will be buying groceries, clothes, housing, cars, household goods, education for their children and more. How many marketers talk to them? Reaching these audiences through mass media does not necessarily lead to engagement.

By Sheba Nandkeoylar

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