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North Star goals for category leaders: Agile, customer-centric culture



North Star goals for category leaders: Agile, customer-centric culture

This is the last of a four-part series on the North Star goals that set category leaders apart from their peers. You can find Part 1 (one-to-one, omnichannel personalization) here, Part 2 (first-party customer view) here and Part 3 (customer lifetime value model) here.

It takes a fully-functioning team across multiple disciplines to create successful marketing results. While an individual or two may stand out, the collective strategic work is what achieves winning and sustainable ROI. Long-term success depends on supportive leadership and nimble teams that keep up with changing times while building valuable lifetime customers. 

The final part of this series tackles what an agile, customer-centric culture means, why leadership support matters and how organizations can work toward this goal.

The components of an agile, customer-centric culture


Whereas values are principles and goals that guide strategies and are often aspirational, culture is the outcome of shared values, goals and practices within an organization.

In other words, while values are how a company describes its ideals and standards for interacting with customers and employees, culture is the way work is actually done. When the pressure is high or priorities are competing, culture is how work gets prioritized, performed and evaluated. 

Culture isn’t static, either. How work gets done — or needs to get done — may shift depending on where a company is in its growth and maturity or the nature of competition or innovation in its sector. 

For instance, a startup may benefit from an extremely collaborative and highly innovative culture in its early stages. Over time, additional structure and a stronger focus on sales and competitive marketing may be needed. Thus, while an organization’s founding values may not change, how those values are interpreted and practiced may need to evolve for practical or strategic reasons. 

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Becoming customer-centric

Customer-centricity is an organization’s continual focus on improving the customer experience, with a shared understanding from the top down and bottom up that doing so will improve business performance. This means every employee can see their role in serving and creating better customer experiences.

But being customer-centric doesn’t mean the company doesn’t care about its employees. The most successful companies find a way to do both in a manner that reinforces each other. Employees are motivated to create great customer experiences and are rewarded when they achieve that.

Thus, the foundational element of customer-centricity ensures everyone is aligned with the customer’s interests. By doing so, the company succeeds when customers have a better experience and buy more or often.

Agility in company culture

You may be familiar with Agile as a set of principles and practices for software engineering or even marketing work in organizations. Scrum and Kanban are often used to organize and manage project work in iterative cycles (or the Scaled Agile Framework at the organizational level). While it makes sense for projects and ongoing marketing activities, what exactly is an agile culture? 

An agile culture means keeping an openness to change and an appreciation for making decisions subject to evaluation and evolution. It can take different forms, but one common earmark is encouraging experimentation and learnings over fear that everything must be right on the first try. This openness to learning and willingness to accept failure to gain insights may seem strange to some. Still, organizations that embrace such culture can move rapidly because every misstep is a learning moment.

Thus, an agile culture is built for flexibility today and in the future. By adapting, adjusting and learning through successes and failures, an agile culture can lead organizations to quicker — and greater — success.

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What is leadership’s role in customer-centricity?

Many factors make an agile, customer-centric culture, but a key component is the leadership’s role in creating, supporting and maintaining it. Leaders set behavioral standards and enforce them through their actions, the activities they reward and the things they overlook.

For instance, mixed messages are sent if an organization claims to be customer-centric, but leaders only reward employees who cut costs at the expense of customer experience. The public message is “we love our customers,” yet leadership only supports customers when they don’t involve other business objectives like profitability or efficiency.

That said, it’s a different story when efficiency is used to benefit the customer. What leaders emphasize matters. If there is a direct line between creating profitability and efficiency and benefiting the customer, leaders can have the best of both worlds. Leadership often fails when they don’t connect the dots for their team members.

Ultimately, leadership plays a vital role in agile, customer-centric organizations because they reinforce the behaviors making up the culture. They also demonstrate to employees that actions to achieve company objectives can align with customer needs.

How does an organization get started?

Building or changing a culture isn’t going to happen overnight, but shifting toward agility and customer-centricity is possible with leadership buy-in. Leaders must start addressing these key areas.


It is never enough to say you are a customer-centric organization or claim your teams are nimble to adapt to internal or external changes. What gets prioritized determines the culture and behaviors in an organization. 

De-prioritizing customer-centric activities or initiatives sends a clear message that even though leadership claims to want one thing (customer-centricity), those efforts take a back seat to other priorities when push comes to shove.

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Resistance to change

As much as your culture may embrace agility, humans naturally resist continual change. Some things make it more manageable, such as: 

  • Having a reason and purpose behind the change so it’s easier to understand.
  • Involving your team in planning the change. This increases the likelihood of buy-in, participation and championing to others within the organization.

Consistent messaging

Just as you send on-brand messages to customers, cultural change within an organization requires consistent communication. Don’t just assume employees only need to hear something once to get on board or understand its meaning instantly.

Engage in consistent communication campaigns internally. This builds an environment and culture with an agile, customer-centric focus enough to propel your brand as a category leader.

Additionally, start by building an appreciation for experimentation and learning. Remember, not every experiment needs to yield positive results to teach valuable lessons. Leadership must support their teams’ growth, even without achieving desired outcomes 100% of the time. 

Set up your organization for long-term success

As you’ve undoubtedly seen in your career, good ideas are not enough. It takes a great team to do excellent work and continuously improve in a dynamic and competitive environment. 

Building an agile, customer-centric culture sets your brand up for success. When you continually focus on customers and create a motivating and rewarding work environment, your organization will stand out.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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MARKETING vs What’s the Difference?


on vs What’s the Difference?

WordPress is one of the best website-building tools available, but it can be tricky to figure out how to use it for your purposes best. One of the most confusing parts of using this tool is deciding between vs vs image shows a laptop with gears on the screen and a tab button


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What Apple’s Vision Pro means for AR and VR marketing



What Apple’s Vision Pro means for AR and VR marketing

Apple’s Vision Pro. Image: Apple.

This week Apple announced the Vision Pro headset, available early next year. Here’s what we know so far about the device and what this means for marketers experimenting with AR and VR engagement.

“Spatial computing” and AR. The use cases demoed at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) show augmented reality (AR) experiences where users interface with a digital layer on top of their real-world environment.

What this means practically is that users will be able to select and run apps from menus they see floating in their living room, office or other real-world environment. They’ll use voice commands, subtle hand gestures and eye movements to manipulate these objects and apps.

VR. Users will also be able to select virtual environments and adjust how much of their display is taken up by those environments. This means that Vision Pro users will also have the capability to plug into full VR experiences should they so choose.

Media. Vision Pro users will be able to watch movies and other streaming content. The improvement with the Vision Pro over TV screens is that these shows can take up a user’s full field of vision on their headset display. Content made or adapted for this system can also take advantage of the Vision Pro’s “spatial audio” sound, which promises to make it feel like sounds are coming naturally from the environment around the user.

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Why we care. Apple has held off on getting into the AR/VR space while Meta struggled over the last two years to get headsets and the “metaverse” to seem cool and get widely adopted. Marketers remember the watershed moment when Apple’s iPhone spawned the mobile marketing ecosystem, and therefore there’s good reason to wait until Apple throws their hat in the ring.

It’s also worth noting that many AR experiences already exist using smartphone apps. The Vision Pro will make AR wearable, and if done right, will make these experiences more intuitive with natural eye moments and hand gestures.

Dig deeper: What marketers need to know about the metaverse, Web 3.0 and NFTs.

Price point. The Vision Pro is priced at $3,499. To give some perspective, that’s about half the current price of Apple’s newest Mac Pro. Back in 1984, the first Macintosh started at $2,495, which is over $7,000 in 2023 dollars.

Consumers who buy the Vision Pro will be spending three times more than what an iPhone costs. Businesses that want to equip their employees with Vision Pros will have to invest sizable budgets on par with new laptops or other significant hardware upgrades.

Consumer and B2B adoption. Being able to watch popular shows might be a gateway for consumers to adopt the new device and begin to explore AR and VR applications. Another adoption strategy is for people who use VR at work to bring the devices home. This explains Meta’s push for using their Meta Quest Pro headset for videoconferencing and other business uses.

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Apple’s WWDC presentation showed how the Vision Pro uses machine learning to create a lifelike 3D model of a user’s face so that users can videoconference without their headsets being seen. This might be a more acceptable alternative to virtual meetings using cartoony avatars.

“Businesses are at a point where they want to get started with VR technology,” said Rolf Illenberger, CEO of enterprise VR platform VRdirect. “People in the office are asking about it. What’s missing is a general decision about which ecosystem to use.”

The Vision Pro inaugurates a new operating system, visionOS and a new Vision app store, where users will be able to access an anticipated flood of AR and VR apps.

AR and VR in marketing. Businesses in a number of verticals are adopting or considering VR for training and safety initiatives, Illenberger said. Widespread adoption for more general uses like virtual meetings is still several years away.

AR will likely be the first channel to get enough users to be of interest to marketers.

“There is a logical progression from AR marketing to VR marketing,” said Darwin Liu, founder and CEO of ecommerce services company X Agency. ”One needs to take off before the other one can. I expect AR marketing to really take off in the next 2-4 years and VR marketing to become important in 4-7 years.”

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When enough customers are using a specific VR ecosystem, it will be important for brands to create a presence within it. This is still a far cry from an interoperable “metaverse” where users can jump from space to space seamlessly and bring digital assets with them to spend on merchandise wherever they want to. The customers that use visionOS will be within Apple’s walled garden. The price to reach them will likely be a steep one.

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AI’s Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023



AI's Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023

Do you know AI is revolutionizing businesses and their marketing plans? Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic in the digital marketing industry for quite a long time now.

Trends have changed and AI has created a vast difference in working and planning strategies for marketing purposes. Having the ability to gather and analyze large amounts of data in just a few seconds has changed how companies approach the digital market now.


AI-powered chatbots are being used by companies to enhance their productivity, and customer handling, and reduce human efforts. This automated messaging system can be used to help customers with their queries and give them suggestions, also answering a lot of questions at once and being available round-the-clock.

Comprehending customer inquiries and responding appropriately in real-time using artificial intelligence chatbots are being used by companies.

Do Chatbots Market the Business?

Unlike a human being, AI Chatbot does not go out and market your company. However, it is a marketing tool especially on social media, because they can deliver targeted messages on your behalf, collect customer data to help you target messaging, and provide customer service that is beneficial to both the company and the customer.

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Chatbots are very good at converting the viewers into buyers just by locating the desired products and asking the customers some specific questions according to the gathered data.

Creating the Content

Content creation is where actual human effort is needed a lot. It takes time, intelligence, ideas, and administration of plans to create high-quality and customer-centered content for marketing purposes.

It is predicted by experts that data generation all over the World is going to be more than 180 zetta-bytes by 2025. And there is no doubt that AI and machine learning will have a significant role in developing and creating the content at that time.

Let’s see how AI content creation is helpful in digital marketing;

  1. Enhances the Social Media Content Performance: 

Social media primarily plays a role in moving customers to their sales funnel. In the same manner, advertisers and marketers make themselves aware of the demographical data of their followers to create social media content that appeals to them.

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In this aspect, AI is the game changer. Artificial intelligence-powered tools can go beyond demographics to analyze client behaviors and preferences. This data is used by marketers to make their customer engagement better by refining their SMM  actions.

  1. User-Generated Content (UGC) Can Be Curated:
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Do you know that social media users today are incredible content creators and consumers both at the same time? The majority of them base their buying choices on user-generated content (UGC) rather than sponsored material.

UGC is assisting companies in improving their reputation among their competitors. AI technology can be used to keep an eye on social media platforms and track any references made to your brand. This way, you can gather valuable insights and feedback on how consumers perceive your business and services.

Making use of UGC, artificial intelligence is able to filter high-quality customer data. With the help of visual recognition technology not only the textual but also images and video content is identified by AI.

  1. Upgrades the Personalization:

Customer engagement is enhanced by personalization of the content being created by the company. Do you know AI is the chief in this aspect also? 

Personalization is dependent on the company to understand the needs and expectations of the customers.  AI collects, analyzes, and transforms the data of customers and makes their personalized profiles and sections.

1686088188 386 AIs Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023

This information may be used to create highly customized suggestions and interactions in order to engage with your clients effectively.  Companies may now build personalized email marketing content using AI rather than generalized email marketing campaigns.

Customer Targeted & Predictive Marketing

The client’s data being collected by companies via AI chatbots is used to generate patterns of future behavior and produce highly focused marketing.

Dynamic yet specific content is emailed by the companies at the right time to their customers with the help of AI. The emails that are sent are also based on the previous activities of the customers.

By collecting the data via customer activity on different web pages, email interactions, or blog reading, AI can efficiently identify which content is more appealing for the customer. This makes the company stay in an audience target business and produce future content according to it. 

Moreover, companies can know when the customers are not engaging or not getting appealed, AI again jumps into the situation and makes the profiles more customized to keep the user in touch and towards the company for re-engaging purposes. This re-engaging strategy is done by Churn Prediction.

Why is Churn Prediction Important?

Customer turnover is a common problem faced by companies. Growing the business means getting new clients similarly when a single customer leaves, it impacts the investment negatively. A company can save huge figures by just keeping an eye on their client’s activities and offering them incentives when they seem like leaving.

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1686088188 410 AIs Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023

That is why, understanding what keeps consumers engaged is incredibly valuable knowledge that is nonetheless collected by AI. It aids in the development of retention strategies and the implementation of operational practices targeted at preventing customers from saying goodbye to the company.

Natural Language Generation is Provided by AI

Who is playing a great role in Natural language generation? Yes, AI is at the top of the tools that provide us with NLG. 

The pieces of information organized by AI are the main source of NGL. Converting data into natural-sounding text produces a large number of printed words far faster than a normal person.

Companies use this AI influenced Natural Language Generation for the following purposes:

  1. Advertisement Writing

The natural language generated by AI is intelligent enough to modify itself to a company’s consumer and employ the language and tone most likely to connect with them. This is the turning point in ad creation.

AI-powered NLG writes ads for companies that are audience directed with a huge rate of conversion. These kinds of digital marketing software are becoming a must in this competitive Internet marketing industry.

  1. Automatic Updates & Revisions

Data is fed into the NLG program by AI, which produces text that resembles human speech based on established templates and rules. Plenty of sources, including statistics from websites, customer reviews, and survey results can provide the information needed.

1686088189 93 AIs Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023

Social media marketing campaigns are run to benefit the company in various aspects. Artificial intelligence NLG technology may be used in social media marketing campaigns to create social media posts based on popular subjects, updates, and hashtags.

The software would look into the information and produce posts that are interesting to and relevant to the intended audience.

  1.  Generation of Subject Lines

Email marketing is a bombing strategy, but how come it explodes? The subject line of the company’s email should be explosive if the customer is to be attracted.

None other than AI provides appealing subject lines for emails through NLG modules. The email open rates can be increased by using natural language generation to convey and adapt feelings, tone, and phrasing.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice search optimization is getting applause all over the World as many customers prefer voice search rather than typing their query. AI is able to recognize the voice, search the voice keywords, and provide data that is asked. You may be familiar with AI voice recognition tools like Google Home, Alexa, and Amazon Echo. 

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By utilizing speech recognition and numerous other AI techniques, companies may offer material that AI systems can find more easily, improving the customer’s quality. 

By optimizing website content for voice search, companies can improve their search engine rankings for voice queries. This helps the companies to reach a wider audience and increase their visibility all over the internet.

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Voice keyword research is a method of raising a website’s efficiency through AI as well as effectiveness for speech-based search inquiries. In this way companies are thought to be digitally available for their customers, converting them into buyers and reducing the consumer churn.

Visual Recognition Technology

AI or in other words, Robots are able to identify some of the human features, this is called visual recognition technology.  

AI gathers information based on image recognition through social media platforms. For example, it monitors the image activity and gets insights from a company’s users. It helps companies to know which products and trends are more likely to be seen in their target audience.

Audience engagement and customer quality can be improved a lot more by this technology. Algorithms are set and analyzed by AI itself, this is called machine learning, which plays a great role in AI-powered digital marketing.

There is another way by which image-identifying technology can be helpful. By monitoring image algorithms AI makes the company produce more customer-centered content.

1686088189 935 AIs Impact on Digital Marketing Strategies In 2023

Additionally, using visual recognition technologies will enhance the client experience. Customers can see how things might look on them prior to making any purchase by using interactive product catalogs or online free-trial situations.


Concluding the above discussion, companies are now making use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing more often. With the use of chatbots, virtual assistants, image recognition, voice recognition, and predictive content, AI has been used to raise customer satisfaction, decrease human efforts, and routine operations, and increase the overall effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns.

While there are many benefits of implementing AI in digital marketing, it’s important for companies to approach it wisely and deliberately.

Intelligent systems that are productive require thorough planning and development, including adhering to the platform’s purpose, selecting the layouts and conversational flow, and training the algorithm to understand and efficiently respond to user needs and requirements.

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