Today we chat to Orsi Jojart, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company and a leader in the Marketing and Sales Practice and McKinsey Digital in the UK. We ask Jojart about her data-focused role, what differentiates leading retailers right now, and what’s in store for the future of retail.

Orsi Jojart

Tell us about a typical working day for you…

I returned to my role from maternity leave amid the pandemic. Prior to working from home, my team and I would typically spend several days a week with my UK-based clients on large scale digital marketing and sales acceleration projects, running joint war-rooms with clients over a period of months to drive tangible change, build capabilities and ultimately, growth.

I’m a real extrovert and love helping my clients solve problems in action. So, the move to Zoom calls was initially a challenge but we adapted quickly. Now, I check in with my teams first thing in the morning, engage with clients throughout the day on a range of projects and keep midday for catching up with colleagues. I seek to finish by 6.30pm to put my two toddlers to bed.

We’re led by our clients’ approach to in-person/ working remotely. Currently, most of our clients are still working remotely so we continue to engage by whatever means works best for them at present.

What are the key elements of a successful data-driven marketing strategy?

Three key elements are emerging as instrumental in delivering growth: 1) creativity, 2) analytics, and 3) purpose. We call this the Growth Triple Play. Our research uncovered companies that integrate all three are logging two-to-three times the growth of their peers. Each element of the growth triple play is critical for success, and they are mutually reinforcing.

Creativity is part of the origin story of marketing, especially for retailers. The last revolution in marketing was all about the fusion of creativity and data analytics. The speed and granularity delivered by analytics is far more powerful when integrated with innovative, breakthrough creative ideas and programs. What’s new today is partly the addition of purpose, the statement of a goal higher than just ringing up the next transaction, which resonates with customers in a deeper way.

What, in your opinion, differentiates leading retailers from the pack right now?

The pandemic has pushed ecommerce growth to unprecedented levels – as consumers quickly embraced digital behaviours. At the same time, more consumers are switching brands – trying new behaviours and channels that are ultimately testing how retailers capture and sustain loyalty. That’s why the three elements – while not unique – when combined are meaningful to customers and attainable by organisations.

Retailers need to reimagine CX – and what that “wow” factor looks like for their brand. This means deeply knowing what customer wants and needs are – and delivering culturally relevant, meaningful, and personalised experiences – across every touchpoint and journey. It’s about using analytics at a granular level that’s pulsing in real-time to make rapid decisions to meet where your customers are.

Chief Digital and Chief Marketing Officers need to work hand in hand with the CEO to ground their differentiated strategy in purpose. Working in partnership they can bring together the creative and analytical muscles of their organisation to deliver experiences that matter and cement loyalty with new and existing customers. This will ultimately translate into how you ignite and sustain growth over the longer term.

What brands have impressed you in the past year, and what do you think has been the key to their success?

Without naming any brands, the ones that come to mind are those that are at the forefront of purpose. As companies sought to respond to the pandemic, their purpose commitments were put to the test.

Couple that challenge with the rise in ecommerce and the explosion of customer data at retailers’ fingertips, and brands now face tough decisions about how to balance the ethical use of customer data alongside their company purpose. Those that are doing well are the brands that defied volatility by making smart investments to get closer to customers and grow their business in a purpose-led fashion.

What current or future trends do you think will shape the retail industry?

The debate over in-store versus online continues. While recent ONS retail sales figures showed that the retail sector received a boost, digital stickiness remains.

Online has proven to be a channel for convenience and safety throughout peaks in infection rates. It’s the ability to predict shifts in shopping patterns using granular data – at the market, customer, and zip code level – that will help retailers spot where the surge in demand will happen, and ultimately return to growth.

Looking at online specifically, the demise of third-party cookies and identifiers will have huge ramifications for how retailers advertise their products. By 2022, retailers will require a shift in approach and retailers will need to use a combination of first-party data, updated contextual targeting, and audience modelling to allow for personalised/targeted advertising. This means forging relationships with customers and building trust to further enhance information sharing. 

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