Ashton Media
Marketing & Customer Experience Hub

The secret of great customer experience? Being human

Sitecore Australia’s, Managing Director Robert Holliday sat down with Austrian futurologist, professional speaker and Chief Innovation Officer at,  Dietmar Dahmen, to get his take on how marketers can engage more effectively with their audiences.

Dietmar Dahmen

‘The only two things faster than light: neutrinos…and change’, Dietmar Dahmen at voestalpine 2013, Austria


Dietmar, in our recent research report, The Role and Use of Personalisation, we found that, even though most marketers agree that ‘human to human’  (H2H) is the best approach when communicating with customers, there’s still a huge divide between the way in which they speak to business and consumer  audiences1.

When it comes to providing excellent customer experiences, why is an H2H approach so important?


In the old world of marketing, there used to be a gap between jobs and free time. Customers used to work from 9-5 and, when they left the office, they left  their work behind and returned to their non-work lives.

Today, people work all the time and do private things all the time- so it’s all mixed. If you’re in the office, you might arrange a flower delivery for  your wife or; alternatively, if you’re in an airport lounge waiting to go on holiday, you might check your hotel details on your tablet one minute, then  look at what your competition is doing the next.

There’s no distinction between work and private, meaning that the only constant is you as a human being. That switch between ‘now I’m in the office so I’m  thinking about work’ and ‘now I’m at home so I’m only thinking about my social life’, no longer exists.

Your customers are the same person- and if they are always the same person, it makes no sense to separate the two worlds in terms of how you speak to them.

The other danger is that, by separating the way you speak to B2B audiences and B2C audiences, you’re assuming that serious, complicated or, potentially  ‘dull’ subject matter should be presented in a ‘dull’ and business-like way; whereas fun and entertaining communications can only be targeted at consumers  looking at ‘lifestyle’ content.

The truth is, no-one wants to read something that’s dull or complicated- regardless of whether you’re talking about technology or travel. If it’s possible  to communicate information in a way that’s easy to understand and interesting or entertaining to read, you should aim to so.

Keeping the conversation ‘human’ also mean paying attention to what you say, not just the way you say it. In real life, conversations aren’t  repetitive; they progress, evolve and slowly build trust. They’re also informed by factors such as what you’ve learnt about them so far and shared  interests.

Bear this in mind when starting new conversations with your customers. Tailor information or offers to things that are likely to interest them; if you  don’t have anything new or relevant to say, better to keep quiet until you do than to keep repeating yourself or send messages that will be instantly  deleted.

Remember that, in a real conversation, there’s a logical order behind the sort of questions you ask and the stage in the relationship at which you ask  them. For example, if you met someone for the first time and said, “Hi my name is Tom, what’s your bank account number, password and pin?”, that’s a little  bit weird and will immediately make the other person suspicious. The general rule is that you’re in a relationship- and you should only take what you need  in order to make that relationship better.

Dietmar is the keynote speaker at this year’s Sitecore Digital Trendspot Australia and New Zealand on 30 September 2014, where he will be discussing  the changing landscape of data and digital marketing and how companies can stand out in a world where everyone has the same real time data and  predictive algorithms.

1‘28% of marketers see personalisation as a low priority and, of those that say it’s a high priority, most are B2C’. The Role and Use of Personalisation, Australia & New Zealand 2014, Sitecore, 2014.

Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore About Robert Holliday - VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia, Sitecore
As VP Enablement Service - Greater Asia at Sitecore, Robert is charged with driving strategy in collaboration with the local senior management teams responsible for Sales, Marketing, Customers and Alliances. Robert works closely with corporate and regional offices to implement and localise the global strategy to grow the business and ensure customer success with Sitecore's leading customer engagement platform.