This year I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego. The event brought together top digital marketers, which included brands, agencies, analysts and solutions providers, with the primary purpose of driving thought-leadership by educating marketers on the latest trends in the digital world.
As we have seen in Gartner’s Digital Roadmap, digital is exploding; channels are becoming more integrated, cross-device attribution is on the rise and marketers don’t know how to handle the complexity of a creating a seamless user experience across channels. While on the show floor I saw both new and seasoned marketers with an idea of what they want to accomplish, but a skewed understanding of the technology needed to get from point A to point B.
With increased pressure to meet high expectations of consumer demands, brands have no choice but to keep up. Here are some of the top trends that arose throughout the sessions that marketers need to be aware of as they develop their digital strategy:
1. Digital personalization is the new normal: Consumers expect brands to know them and to know them well, particularly the ones who engage regularly and spend often. In fact, one Gartner statistic explained that by 2018, organizations who have invested in personalization will outsell those who have not. The key is for brands to understand how to segment their data and effectively activate personalization at a one-to-one level, while respecting global privacy laws. On the flip side, as analyst Jennifer Polk pointed out, sometimes personalization is about knowing when to remain quiet to avoid offending or over-engaging with a consumer.
2. Identify Gaps in Mobile and Social Measurement: We continually hear that mobile is on the rise. In fact, in one presentation by Gartner analysts’ Julie Hopkins and Mike McGuire, they pointed out that 30% of Facebook’s users are mobile only. The first step is to understand how to connect your mobile and social investments to your objectives by defining your strategy. In turn, this gives mobile and social a specific purpose to work in tandem by exceeding your corporate marketing goals. By tying direct ROI back to social and mobile, marketers can justify to upper management the monetary value and in turn continue to receive more budget as needed for these rapidly growing areas.
3. Innovation is Your Competitive Advantage: One of the most fascinating presentations was by Jon Bridges, the CMO of Chick-fil-A, and Jake Sorofman with Gartner on innovation. The presentation opened by posing the question to the audience, “have you ever used another company’s name to describe what you do?” This made me chuckle a bit as I reflected on the various jobs I’ve held where I compared the company to another to help friends and family understand. The idea here is to forge your own path instead of comparing yourself to others. We can win by leading the pack. However, my favorite idea presented is utilizing your workspace as an innovation center; a place where ideas are crafted to further the business and drive change for challenging business objectives. In turn, this can be applied to digital strategy as workers begin to solve everyday challenges and best meet the demands of their users by having the freedom to explore, create, develop and solve.
Being the first digital marketing conference hosted by Gartner, I was exceptionally impressed at the content, execution and speakers. I am proud to have sponsored the event this year and am excited for its anticipated growth based on the reviews it has received.