Top 10 lists are overrated! Instead, here are the top 8 trends that captured my attention at ecommtl2017, which took place in Montreal on September 13 and 14, 2017.
The digital transformation is a major issue for Quebec companies these days. This transformation carries both opportunities and challenges for business leaders and marketing managers.
1. Customer obsession and innovation
I really liked the presentation by Alexandre Gagnon, the Vice-President of Amazon Canada and Amazon Mexico. I was impressed by the way Amazon constantly innovates and optimizes the customer experience through innovative initiatives. You’ve probably heard of some of them already, like Amazon Go, Warehouse robots, and Prime membership. Amazon definitely knows how to anticipate the needs of its customers. Their innovations are so well executed that become the norm and sometimes get overlooked. As Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, says: “We are day 1.”
2. Connecting marketing performance indicators to business performance
The digital plans that get presented to senior managers tend to focus on web marketing performance indicators, but they don’t always connect these to the financial indicators with which these decision-makers are most familiar. That’s the conclusion reached by Michael Albo, CEO of Data Science Institute. He suggests drawing clearer connections between corporate performance indicators (revenues, profit margins, etc.) and digital marketing strategies. Following web performance indicators may be the norm, but showing how these are related to business objectives is even better.
3. Customer insights for better business decisions
There’s a ton of useful data about customers out there, but you have to know how to translate this data into tangible actions. Hence the term “actionable data”. The data comes from a variety of sources and can reveal insights about which messages, offers, product/service benefits and images really speak to customers. Customer data can even be used to influence business strategies. That’s what Keurig did, which you can read more about in this article. I’d also add the importance of testing, optimizing and retesting.
Philippe-Richard Bertrand suggests going back to basics with mystery shopper assignments at points of sale. The aim is to identify ways to improve the customer experience and ensure alignment with the brand image on the ground. It’s an interesting point of view!
4. Opportunity cost and digital technologies
According to Jean Bédard, President and CEO of Sportscene, the digital transformation shouldn’t be measured merely in terms of potential revenues. Instead, business leaders should consider the potential opportunity cost of failing to launch strategic digital initiatives at the right time. In the worst case scenario, a market leader can be overtaken by a competitor if they take too long—or fail—to develop a digital presence.
5. Digital technology and customer relations
What are your main points of contact with your customers? Have you identified the opportunities and challenges associated with each of your points of contact? Bruno Leclaire, Chief Information and Digital Officer at Air Transat, explained the key role of the company’s centralized customer file management system. The company established performance indicators for each customer point of contact (stage in the customer’s journey) in order to better understand consumers, personalize offers and improve the customer experience.
6. Artificial intelligence and marketing opportunities
Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence (AI)? One thing is for sure: AI has given Moment Factory new opportunities for designing their larger-than-life interactive events. AI makes it possible to turn massive volumes of customer data, or “Big Data”, into understandable and predictable information. While the most recent era in marketing was all about collecting data, its present and future will be defined by how this data is interpreted and used. AI makes it possible to process a quantity of data that a human could never get through. It can even support creation and innovation, generating more value for the end-customer and creating experiences that humans could never execute on their own.
Have you heard of Persado? Hint: it automates and optimizes message generation for media buying.
7. People are key to the digital transformation
Transforming an entire organization involves much more than the marketing and IT teams. Key roles such as customer service, sales and operations also deserve a place at the table. According to many of the conference speakers, the human dimension is frequently overlooked when it comes to e-commerce and the digital transformation. Are you surprised? Planning for change management is not enough. You also need to meet regularly with strategic individuals from the various departments and units affected by the transformation. There’s strength in unity!
8. Le numérique pour assurer une croissance en B2B
“While B2C ecommerce is expected to hit $2.4 trillion worldwide by the close of 2017, it’s less than a third of B2B’s $7.6 trillion.” It might seem like we’ve already thought of everything, but in some ways, we’re still in Day 1. For B2B, the growth potential from digital technologies is enormous. For companies seeking B2B growth, a digital strategy—like any good strategy—must be well thought out and aligned with the company’s overall strategy. Are you ready to take the leap?