On the Road to Brandweek: Accenture Interactive’s Glen Hartman on the Importance of Customer Partnerships

'Customers want to have long-term relationships with brands'

Accenture Interactive's Glen Hartman will be attending Brandweek in Palm Spring, Calif., Sept. 23-25. Courtesy of Glen Hartman
Headshot of James Cooper

As the customer journey continues to unfold in so many different directions, understanding the experience on each of those paths is crucial for brands with ambition for longevity. This new reality calls for brand building via data-shaped experience which, in turn, requires companies to be more human, caring, empathetic and useful.

This sea change has been something that Adweek and partner Accenture Interactive have been charting for the past 10 months with our Digital Transformation Playbook.

Accenture Interactive has deep data and insight resources that we’ve spun into analysis, articles, features and infographics. They also have a lot of forward-thinking execs on their bench that have disruption mindsets. Not in a negative sense, but in questioning how to move through disruption to a higher form of consumer-centric communication.

Customers want to team up with you, they want to be helped, they want to learn — and they want to have long-term relationships with brands that are co-created with them.
Glen Hartman, Accenture Interactive

This focus on the customer future is why Adweek is excited to have Glen Hartman, the company’s managing director of Accenture Interactive in North America with global responsibility for Accenture’s digital marketing, platforms and operations offerings, join the Challenger Brands Track, which features eight brand marketers who have disrupted their respective categories, at the inaugural Brandweek Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., Sept. 23 to 25.

Kristina Monllos, Adweek’s senior editor, brand marketing, caught up with Hartman to discuss Accenture Interactive’s vision for improving experiences ranging from retail to healthcare.

We share three questions from their interview in the continuing On the Road to Brandweek series that will feature some of the absolutely stellar marketing executives set to speak. We’re excited to be on the road to Brandweek, and we hope you’ll join us.

Follow this link to learn more and to register.

Adweek: What’s the biggest lesson marketers have yet to learn?
Glen Hartman: Customers don’t care about your company. They care about how your company, products and services can help them. They want to partner with your brand—with all brands—and they want a say in how the products and services affect them. The old nomenclature of marketing is dead. Even the language we use: acquire a customer, convert a customer, transact… When was the last time you wanted to be converted? Customers want to team up with you, they want to be helped, they want to learn—and they want to have long-term relationships with brands that are co-created with them.

Is there a technology that marketers should be paying attention to but aren’t?
I’m going to say no. They’re not missing anything. There’s no one technology that’s going to be the panacea. What brands must do is put customer needs in the center and reverse engineer from there. What organizational structure do you need to do that? How do you bring people together from all departments? How do you break down silos in operating models to deliver the best experiences? How can you move from just knowing the customer to advocating for the customer? Once you advocate for the customer, what dependencies need to come together to be able to deliver those meaningful experiences?

Where do you see Accenture Interactive in 10 years?
In 10 years, we’ll be known for helping our clients create the best experiences that truly improve people’s lives. Think about the impact we can make in certain industries like healthcare, insurance, R&D, etc. For example, look at the emergency room experience now. It’s the same as it was 20, 30 years ago. Maybe they have Wi-Fi in the waiting rooms, but that’s about it. But what if, when you’re taking your sick child to the ER at 3 a.m., you could find out what hospital had the shortest wait time before you even got in the car? What if you could immediately discover which hospitals have which specialists on hand? What if there was a way to store your information so you don’t have to provide it a dozen times throughout the experience?

@jcoopernyc james.cooper@adweek.com James Cooper is editorial director of Adweek.