Monday, April 8, 2019

Messaging for Moments: A Conversation with GE’s Rochelle Hartigan

One of the ideas that I’ve always been bullish on has been the idea that we as marketers need to focus way more on moments. So instead of just creating a mobile app for the sake of having a mobile app, we need to take a look at our customer’s journey with our brand and see what moment a mobile app would be useful for. Then that helps us focus on the content and context of the app, which makes for a better customer experience. There’s nothing worse than wading through a bunch of information to find the one thing you need in a moment, is there? So why would we want to provide that experience for our customers?! Rochelle Hartigan from GE has some amazing experience in creating impactful mobile initiatives based on moments in the customer journey, and she shared some of her tips and learnings with me!

Lumavate’s VP of Marketing, Stephanie Cox: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing marketers today?

GE’s Marketing Director, Rochelle Hartigan: I think customers are getting messages from so many different places that it’s becoming easy to ignore the messages we want them to hear, so we have to be thoughtful about how we reach a consumer so that it can still be a meaningful engagement. And certainly competitors are able to talk in ways that they hadn’t been able to before– small brands can be just as vocal as a big brand, right? Technology has sort of leveled that playing field. Being a big brand is certainly a good advantage to have, and it builds a lot of trust, but it also means that we have to work hard to keep that trust.

Stephanie Cox: Well it’s interesting that you bring up smaller brands because I think sometimes where they have a competitive advantage is their willingness to try anything, whereas when you’re a trusted brand, you have consumer expectations, right?

Rochelle Hartigan: I think where we probably challenge ourselves to push those boundaries is in the ways that we reach out. We don’t have to play it safe, we have to be true to our brand and our voice, but we can be innovative in ways that we reach out. We can think “scrappy” like a startup would, since we have a lot of innovative products that fit into that environment, so it makes sense that we play there!

Stephanie Cox: Thinking about mobile strategy at GE, how do you figure out what to do?

Rochelle Hartigan: Mobile is a piece of everything that we do. Mobile has to be an important part of that consideration because we know the power of what mobile marketing can do. So whether it’s reaching a person who’s sitting in their home and surfing the web, or someone looking at social media, or someone who’s standing in the aisle, mobile is really part of that entire journey of making a purchase. So we’re very conscious to consider all of the elements of where mobile is in that journey.

Stephanie Cox: How do you think about making sure that you’re communicating with consumers across every channel, but also having some cohesion to what that message looks so it feels like one whole experience instead of a fragmented one?

Rochelle Hartigan: I heard this recently that someone said that omnichannel is becoming a term that we’ll stop using in a few years, because now it’s all about finding moments that matter to the consumer no matter where they are. So whether we’re talking about the GE brand as a whole or some initiative like a campaign or a launch strategy, we define upfront what that messaging should be and what our mission and our statements are going to be to the consumer. And once we really define that, then we start to lay it into all the different ways that we’re going to reach a shopper in there.

Stephanie Cox: So thinking about different channels and new technologies always popping up, I think one of things that marketers struggle with is the concept of getting derailed by “shiny objects”. How do you figure out what’s worth it to test and innovate with, and what’s a distraction?

Rochelle Hartigan: You know what, I like a shiny object! There’s value in trying something new out, even if you have a little bit of doubt. And if we can try it on a small scale and it works, then we roll it out. If it doesn’t, then it was still great investment because we learned so much. So I don’t shy away from all shiny objects. But we also evaluate where they are in our mix–as something fits our mix, then it’s worthy of evaluating and considering, and possibly testing and trying.

Mobile Conversations are excerpts from Lumavate’s Mobile Matters podcast. You can listen to their full conversation here, and find more episodes with other mobile experts here.