Future of Digital Marketing Notes - Part 1

17 June 2011Cleve Gibbon

Econsultancy hosted the Future of Digital Marketing 2011 this week in London. The delegates were mainly digital marketers and marketing technology platform vendors. The best bits were tweeted with the hashtag #FODM11. As I was one of the few lucky delegates, I thought I’d share my notes and so here’s what I have from the first 3 sessions:

Jeff Rohrs, Exact Target

After Ashley Friedlein's keynote, Jeff kicked off with the state of digital marketing. There is confusion. With over 50 different marketing tactics at a marketer's disposal, which are the right ones to use and when? Jeff advises you to calm the chaos with perspective. Focus on data and research (note – this is a recurring theme, and I’ll delve into it more later). At ExactTarget, the Subscribers, Fans & Followers initiative aims to get just that through social channels. The recommendation was not to throw out the old but really build upon what works today. What a marketer does matters! Customer Experience Matters. Mobile Experience Matters. It's time to Get Serious. But as Econsultancy highlights, when trying to achieve digital balance, how well marketers do it matters more!

Ajit Jaokar, futuretext

Next up, was Ajit Jaokar talking about native mobile apps vs mobile web apps. Ajit, first explained the benefits of platforms and how marketing technology platforms make a difference for the end customer. He clarified that over time, technologists bake innovations developed from their customer insights into the platform so that the next generation of innovation through customer usage can take place. It's cyclical. However, only through standardisation and constant innovations, will we see an increase in the appetite for these new ideas.

So, is 2011 the year of the mobile? No. Stop wondering if it is! Just do it. And do it now! Mobile is already here. The revolution will not be tweeting its arrival. It's a silent revolution that you're either a part of or not. Web apps will coexist with native apps. Although slower and without an inherent business model, web apps need to act more like native apps. If you’d like an example, take a look at on your mobile and you can see a mobile web app masquerading as a native app. With web apps, publishers and businesses are side stepping the native app stores to cement direct relationships with their target audiences.

Let's not forget that native apps have well known discovery mechanisms in place, established revenue models, mature device APIs and the potential to provide better user experiences. Folks like native apps. That said, web apps can step up to the challenge of working in a disconnected world. As such, the future is that, in 4 years, the web will dominate and apps in one form or another will increasingly help people make rapid decisions in time poor situations.

As a takeaway, Ajit recommended we take time out and look at some mobile innovations in Flipboard, PhoneGap, Rhomobile, Appcelerator, Worklight, and Aside, the world's first HTML5 magazine. The real potential in HTML5 lies in the power of enabling Javascript. And to do it right, use CSS to decouple style from structure and content strategy to decouple structure from data (that's a longer story).

Simon Wood, Marks & Spencer

Online video. You really needed to be there for this one. Simon ran 3 great videos that set the stage for his talk. But the overarching message was Marks & Spencer has changed. They proactively listen to, talk to and engage with their customers through social media. Consumers occupy that space between offline and online channels that businesses really need to understand in order to clearly map out the opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations. McKinsey has the same conclusions documented in their article on the consumer decision journey and explains marketing's one goal “is to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions".

Forrester's observation on the explosive growth of video:

A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

So much for a picture being worth a thousand words but in terms of how video impacts the bottomline, Simon shared that Marks & Spencer are enjoying a 30% increase in sales from customers who view video content. Clearly, video enables retail outlets to be experience centres and for retailers to then deliver personalised content through the video.

I’ll follow up early next week with notes from the other sessions. Enjoy your weekend!

Author: Cleve Gibbon
Published: 17 June 2011
conferencemarketing technologydigital marketingmobilecontent strategy

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