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February, 2020

Ric Navarro: A Guide to championing the customer

Ric Navarro, AMI’s recently minted 2019 CPM of the Year, and author of best-selling book, “Marketing With Purpose: a C-suite guide to being truly customer-centric”, knows the key to achieving a customer-centric culture starts from within an organisation.

As the recipient of the Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) of the Year Award, the Australian Marketing Institute has recognised Ric Navarro for his long-term service to the profession and his marketing achievement.

Beginning his career as a journalist and transitioning into communications, Ric’s experience in strategy and tactical execution, combined with a passion for storytelling, propelled him into a career in marketing.

No stranger to the limelight, Ric has received a number of accolades including being recognised as one of the Top 40 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders by the World Marketing Congress (2017), the AMI Victorian CMO of the Year (2018), and the CEO Magazine Marketing Executive of the Year (2018). Ric furthered his Top 20 CMO ranking in 2017 by being judged Australia’s #6 CMO in 2018 by his peers and, earlier this year, was profiled by US Business Insights Magazine as one of the ‘World’s Top 10 Influential Marketing Leaders to Watch’.

“Of all the organisational functions, marketing has undergone the most significant and fundamental transformation over the past decade with a greater mandate for today’s CMO to facilitate organisational change and to be a true contributor at the executive table,” says Ric. “Appreciating the importance of this, and the CMOs custodianship of the customer experience, it is an honor to be awarded the 2019 Certified Practicing Marketer.”

Breaking down the role of marketing

Ric believes a general lack of understanding by other senior executives on the true role of marketing within an organisation has a direct correlation with the short tenure of many marketing leaders.

 “Rather than marketing being seen as a department defined by its outputs, such as advertising, events, campaigns, data, et cetera, today’s senior marketers need to be defined and measured just as much by their inputs. Input to group strategy, input to owning the customer, input to internal marketing, and input to technology decisions,” said Ric in an earlier interview with Mark Jones on The CMO Show.

Customers, Content, Channels, and Consistency

In his book, Ric outlines the pathway to elevating the marketing function to ensure customer-centricity becomes part of the organisational DNA.

He outlines a framework for connecting the brand goals with the customer expectations to create effective long-term marketing strategies. A variation on Lauterborn’s framework, Ric has reframed these 4Cs for relevance to today’s brands: Customers, Content, Channels, and Consistency.

When it comes to being truly customer-centric, he believes that marketers should take pains to ensure that customers remain the primary focus and that content and storytelling are the key levers to influence emotions and buying decisions. The key to success being a consistent approach and message across channels; one that combines digital and traditional media is vital.

“There’s a few of us (marketers) that have come through the ranks of a different craft, and that is the craft of words, communication and storytelling. When you strip everything back, marketing should be fundamentally these core tenants.”

Brand purpose: more than just a slogan

We know that marketing needs to have a multi-pronged approach when it comes to delivering exceptional service to customers. Ric believes that at the nucleus of your marketing strategy should be a transformative brand purpose: one which acts as the ‘North Star’ for all strategic decision making. A brand’s purpose should talk about why it is important to customers.

“In many ways this focus will also lead to improved engagement and performance from your internal teams. There’s a very strong correlation in what they do and how they contribute on a daily basis to being a customer-first brand,” adds Ric.

Connecting brand purpose to customer-centricity

Ric suggests that innovation shouldn’t be viewed as an independent step, “rather a step in the direction that the customer wants our brand to take. It is another way to ease the customers access to a brand, with the end goal always being excellence in customer experience.”

With the Four C’s as a template for success, Ric says the tactical execution can focus on the following:

  • In-house tools, tech, and analytics to guide customer obsession strategy and actions
  • Methods and means by which to reach and interact with customers
  • The environment (digital or otherwise) where your customers engage with your brand.

Many brands expend their energy on traditional marketing, which is concerned with what to say, and when, where, and to whom to say it, in order to sell a product or service. Ric’s advice to achieving deeper long-term success is refreshing: “Go deep enough to build an understanding of why your message is important to your customers and why they will care enough to listen.”

Want to learn more about how Ric Navarro is championing the customer?

Tune into his podcast interview with Marcast’s Dave Jackson. Listen here or wrap your ears around it on Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts.

Listen to the Marcast interview

About Ric Navarro

Beginning his career as a journalist with The Age newspaper, Ric went on to successfully manage communications for Australian Prime Minister, The Hon John Howard, export program.

Over his career, Ric has worked with leading firms in the mining, FMCG, infrastructure, retail, manufacturing, sports, built environment and professional services sectors. With these top brands, Ric has led the marketing, digital, communications, brand, and client-centricity programs.

Ric can now add the Life Sciences industry to his impressive resume, having recently joined the global executive team of Nucleus Network as Vice President of Marketing & Business Development.

About the Certified Practising Marketer of the Year Award

Established to build marketing professionalism and strengthen the position of certified senior marketing professionals, the Certified Practising Marketer of the Year Award recognises long-term service to the profession and long-term marketing achievement.

The Certified Practising Marketer designation is the only peak professional benchmark of its kind for marketers in the Asia-Pacific Region. Unlike tertiary of vocational education, CPM is recognition of both formal education and successful application of marketing knowledge and skills.

The 2020 AMI Awards program is now open for submissions

Submit your nomination now