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Key Takeaways from #EmarsysRevolution 2018: What Are People Saying?

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

It’s a Wrap!

Revolution 2018 is a wrap! After three action-packed days of learning, knowledge exchange, and excitement, several things have become clear:

  • We’re all consumers first and marketers second — but most of us aren’t getting the experience we desire from the brands we shop with
  • Brands must re-focus on their holistic marketing approach while letting technology (that is pre-packed with industry-specific roadmaps) serve as a guide to provide strategies and tactics
  • Keys to success include passion, tenacity, creativity, and measurement of the right metrics

Let’s revisit some key themes, takeaways, and tweets from this year’s event.

The quick hitters…

Who: 1,000+ global digital and e-commerce marketers

What: Gathered for three days of action-packed sessions

Where: Park Plaza Westminster, London

When: Oct. 15-17, 2018

Why: Marketing, retail, and digitization experts shared insights on the future of marketing

“There’s no better time to be a retailer than now!”

~ Beth Horn, Industry Head, U.K. Retail and Restaurants, Facebook

“There’s no better time to be a #retailer than now,” says Beth Horn of @facebook      CLICK TO TWEET

We’re all consumers first — but there’s a problem

Marketers and consumers need one another in order to survive and thrive. Ohad Hecht, CEO at Emarsys, began the show by affectionately describing this “love story.”

A restoration and mindshift needs to begin as, recently, tech has diluted the love affair we so desperately desire. The promise of marketing isn’t being fulfilled yet… and until we embrace technology and offer meaningful, personal experiences, it will remain unfulfilled. The power to deliver amazing customer experiences rests in your hands.

Brendan Witcher shares that 61% of consumers are unwilling to return to a website that doesn’t offer a satisfactory CX.

How passionate are you really?

Whatever you do for work, there should always be more than just a product or a service in it. There should be some integral part of who you are in it as well. Jo Malone, Fragrance Entrepreneur and founder of Jo Loves, delivered one of the highest energy sessions of the event, sharing how to truly stay consumer-first.

Fragrance is more than just a product to Jo — it’s a part of her very essence. Transcending the obstacles of achieving true customer-centricity where you can deliver an unforgettable experience isn’t easy. But with a passion for your audience, a keen sense of creative energy, and a tenacity for success, you can get there.

P.S. — it never hurts to bring a little “personality” out of the digital sphere and into the real world, either!

Getting closer to customer-centricity

To say you’re customer-centric is one thing, but to be it is quite another.

VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, Brendan Witcher, explained challenges that prevent marketers — despite well-intentioned desires — from fully embracing and flourishing in today’s consumer-first economy.

Being data-driven isn’t the answer; you can find data to back up any hypothesis. If you want to truly be customer-obsessed, then be led by data.

And let data define marketing outcomes rather than simply support them. Tailoring offers and truly achieving personalization has greater benefits than you may realize on the surface.

Stock management is one area that you can integrate a customer-centric mindset, for instance. BrandAlley works with many retail and fashion brands, helping them maintain customer-centricity, even among major fluctuations in the supply and demand cycle.

Rethinking your marketing approach

Perhaps the biggest overarching idea at Revolution was that it’s time to make a shift. If we want to mend the gap between keeping our sanity as marketers (uhh, yes please!) while meeting customer expectations and delivering lasting results, it’ll require a fundamental shift in changing everything we think we know.

► 4 Ps to the 4 Cs. Ohad offered a new paradigm for thinking about the fundamentals of marketing. Moving from the traditional 4 Ps to the new era and 4 Cs will help.

► Get out of “BAU”. Business as usual is a pervasive, unproductive mindset resorted to by too many brands. They’ll ultimately remain stagnant in an ever-moving sea of change. Embrace digital transformation as an opportunity to change and improve.

► Embrace AI! Ashwin Ram, Director of AI at Google, shared how AI is a transformative power that can bring marketers and consumers closer. The impact of AI at Google has transcended the business. Text-to-speech is approaching human-voice likeness! AI can do the heavy lifting and 1-to-1 personalization, but marketers should be responsible for the creative and strategy.

► Maintain focus on teamwork and collaboration. Allen Nance, CMO at Emarsys, described the essential role of teamwork and collaboration in our collective efforts to form productive, meaningful relationships and deliver better experiences to our customers. Chris Pearce, CEO at TMW Unlimited, explained how using diverse teams and omnichannel strategies to engage customers, genuinely influence behavior, and successfully manage changing expectations can help propel us closer to a consumer-first world.

Set and stick to “big hairy audacious goals” (BHAD). Set high goals, even if you think they’re too audacious. Even if you fall short of the moon, you’ll still land among the stars.

► Combat empty software. Marketers are struggling to deliver, but marketers aren’t the problem. “Empty software” is, and Raj Balasundaram, VP of Solutions and Services at Emarsys, discussed this idea. Aside from built-in features, most software comes without any pre-loaded value, roadmaps, or outlines for success. Marketers today are buying skeletons. Technology itself is neutral — but an adoption gap is keeping us from fully leveraging the potential of tech. We must leverage solutions that help close the “adoption gap” between marketers and the technology.

Using data & automation for personalization

What does personalization mean to you? It goes way beyond the basics or how we used to customize names or send trigger-based emails. Those tactics are table stakes today.

You can use triggered, event-based emails, but use them in conjunction with an overarching automation strategy, like U.K. sports nutrition brand Bulk Powders does.

Email is still the premier permission-based communication channel… and more brands are personalizing email than ever before.

Mobile is also an emerging push channel where you can activate inactive shoppers.

Ultimately, the best way to leverage customer data for personalization is to harvest all cross-channel data in a unified customer profile — then you can use the strategic dashboard within your automation platform to set your goals, strategies, and tactics.

Diving deeper into the data

Speakers delved into specific use cases and ways to use customer data for greater insights.

Drizly works within the Emarsys Marketer’s Platform, for example, to use customer data to provide valuable mobile experiences.

Drizly uses customer data mixed with a responsive website and timely push notifications to drive repeat purchases among active buyers.

Alex Timlin, VP of Client Success at Emarsys, spoke about key metrics to follow, as well as how to pick out gems in your active buyer personas.

Alex Timlin shares how average order value (AOV) can be flawed in that it constantly changes and pools different customer groups into a single metric.

Emarsys internal data, as Alex shared, shows that the most critical ingredients to revenue generation generally include: how much customers buy, how active they are, how long it takes to become an active buyer, and which content/campaigns drive action.
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Many companies still measure success by AOV (average order value) rather than CLTV (customer lifetime value). Alex explained that using AOV is problematic because it can inform actions which appear correct but are not. For example, to increase AOV from $40 – $50 you may incentivize purchases over $40 with free shipping. But, say your product is worth $10 and you have a few customers that buy in bulk which skew upwards, though the majority buy one or two units, your free shipping incentive will be useless.

Final Thoughts

We’re entering a new era of marketing, where everything we do should be done for our audience. Call it consumer-first, customer-obsessed, customer-centric, or what have you… the label doesn’t matter as much as the philosophy.

But we need marketing software that’s specially designed to help by allowing us to relieve pressure on ourselves. We need to transform big data sets into coherent analyses, and we must use intelligent segmentation to do it. We’ll need embedded, pre-built tactics based on unique marketers’ goals that are personalized depending on industry and at scale. We’re writing our own stories, and technology should be a supporting character while you remain the protagonist.

As we march forward, embrace tomorrow and never cease to innovate. That’s the only way progress will be had! We hope to see you next year at Revolution!

P.S. Congratulations to Steff Lever, Head of CRM at Quidco, for winning the grand prize — a skydiving adventure — in our raffle!

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About the Author


Lindsay Tjepkema is the Director of Marketing at Emarsys. She and her team deliver resources that empower marketers to seek out solutions and strategies that will allow them to thrive by focusing on what they love – strategy, content, and creative – not the technology, itself. Although her true love is tech marketing, she has worked in a range of industries, from life science to talent management, economic development to software development, eProcurement to social networks and more. She has crafted and executed B2B and B2C strategies for brands like Intel, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, OfficeDepot, SalonCentric, Ashley Furniture, and more. Her experience is built on time spent leading in-house teams, in agency settings, and independently running her own marketing consultancy.

Connect with Lindsay: LinkedIn@blueprintmkt