For the first time, Performance Marketing Insights: London gave attendees the chance to get involved in a series of interactive expert-hosted Boot Camps tackling niche industry sectors.
To preview our boot camp on ‘digital transformation & customer experience’, our very own Head of Strategy and Performance Marketing Justin Thorne took the hot-seat with PMI:
Give us a quick (if possible!) definition of digital transformation...
Justin Thorne: Historically, digital transformation has been used to describe how technology has disrupted and completely transformed an industry (think Amazon, Uber, AirBnB) – we are positioning ‘digital transformation’ as how brands rapidly and radically change their business model using digital. Put simply, brands that do not get to grips with digital channels and how technology can be used to deliver the right message at the right time (real-time) will not exist in five years.
It’s about using signals, buyer behaviour and technology to win, keep and grow customers across any screen size.
Marketing used to be described as 50% art and 50% science, but over the last decade, we have become obsessed with data and technology. We have lost the empathy and relevancy. The future is about harnessing technology to deploy strategic, human messaging to leverage the most complex system – behaviour. This is a blend of psychology, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), ad tech and creativity.
Is the industry lacking a bit of clarity as to what it is, and how it should be tackled?
JT: I think that broadly, the industry understands the concept of digital transformation but with a very narrow scope – how can we take our business online? How can we use digital to automate processes and how can we use digital channels to reach prospect and existing customers more effectively? This is a great start, but we want to help businesses use digital tenfold. We want to help businesses who are already using digital channels with good results, get incredible results.
So PMI Boot Camp is the right kind of forum for this issue?
JT: Absolutely, but like all transformative processes, brands are likely to come away with more questions than answers at this stage. But that’s a good thing, right? Identifying the right questions to ask is half the battle!
Looking over the other topics, which other Boot Camp sessions are you looking to get your teeth into?
JT: We’re always interested in how the channels are innovating and it’s nice to see SEO, Facebook, affiliates and display represented in the Boot Camps. We also have a few clients looking towards China as a big opportunity so 55haitao’s session will be interesting.
Why do you think it’s important that talking points like this are thrown to the floor, and the industry at large?
JT: The challenge for marketers today is not how to leverage the myriad of digital channels – it’s how to disrupt the behavior of the modern consumer as they flit between screen sizes and tune out of marketing messages.
We’re in the age of optimisation - squeezing more margin from channels that are already performing well for us. How does a brand that can afford to buy all the search inventory available in Google, find an uplift in ROI? How does a young brand with finite budget play in a saturated, highly competitive market? Is it even possible for digitally savvy brands to transform?
JT: Ultimately, and controversially, most agencies are becoming lazy by relying on technology and data to do the work. They’re shooting for mediocre performance and focusing on budget pacing, which is ensuring a clients’ monthly, weekly or daily budgets are being spent so they can earn their fee. This approach will be obsolete in the next five years and the agencies who are thriving will have digital transformation in their DNA.