Written by Tim Moran, Editor in Chief, CMO.com
Every now and then, I get to emerge from my home office on Long Island and see a little bit of what’s going on out on the mean streets of marketing. Those “streets” are, of course, nice hotels or conference venues in some pretty cool places.
Most of this gadabouting happens in the spring and fall, so it seems only right to start with the Digital Travel Summit, which was held at the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas, back in May. Some of the highlights:
• John Morrey, VP & General Manager, Expedia.com: Morrey noted that the company boasts $60 billion in gross bookings but is, in reality, “a tech company that does travel.” He espoused the value of science and data and the success that can be had with a test-and-learn culture. “It’s a game of inches to make big strides,” he said.
• Kristine Potter, VP, Marketing & E-Commerce, Apple Vacations: Marketing has to make sure that everything it touches is stable, reliable, and accurate, according to Potter, so “IT and marketing must come together more than ever before.”
• Mohammad Gaber, Travel & Hospitality Industry Strategy & Marketing, Adobe (CMO.com’s parent company): In marketing, and travel especially, “If you are not omnichannel already, you’re dead.” What’s more, he said, “It is crucial to know the intent of the customer in this multimodal world.”
• Random bits: “Travel is a business of relationships in which we must use technology without losing the humanity” … “Most brands don’t measure up to customers’ mobile expectations because many don’t understand what customers value most” … “Millennials think differently, and they want to immerse in where they are going, not just be tourists” … “When there’s an emotional connection, customers spend 40% more.”
At this point, summer interceded, when some work, some vacation, and some lazing ruled the days. But it was soon enough that Joe Pulizzi and crew started to remind us that Content Marketing World was coming in early September. Cleveland—and rib eye (shout-out to Urban Farmer, a steakhouse fit for carnivores’ dreams)—awaited. We published a few stories from the event, here, here, and here. Here are a few random bits that were left on the editing floor:
• Lars Silberbauer, Senior Global Director, LEGO Group: “We want to engage with our customers 24/7 across all platforms. After all, very few people say, ‘Hey, let’s go browse a corporate website.’”
• Robert Rose, Content Marketing Consultant, Author, Speaker: “Content marketing is not supercharged campaign marketing. Content is a bridge to get to a subscribed, engaged, and addressable audience.”
• Michael Jr., Comedian: “My friends took me ball hunting the other day—some people call it golf.”
Then it was back home for a bit before heading out again—this time to the Aria, in Las Vegas, for Sinan Kanatsiz’s IMA IMPACT16. I was fortunate to moderate a panel that took on the topic of content marketing and brand as publisher. My guests—Emily Washcovick, Yelp; Erin Lezvow, Freebirds World Burrito; Mary Hines, Citi; Erik Robinson, AAA; and Whitney Vosburgh, HP Enterprises—were smart, entertaining, and interesting, and I thank them for creating a great session. (See below—that’s yours truly looking on from the far right as the others carried the load.)
Finally, with barely time to drop a silver dollar in the slots, I was on my way to San Francisco for Adobe’s own Strategic Accounts conference. While I am not involved in sales in any way, attending a conference such as this is an eye-opener in terms of what top brands are doing, saying, and thinking about digital marketing—all of which I can bring back to CMO.com in the form of future interviews and content. (I have at least two interviews already lined up—stay tuned.)
Although a good deal of what is said at a get-together such as this must, understandably, be off the record, here are a few of the observations I thought compelling and sharable:
• Brad Rencher, EVP & GM, Digital Marketing, Adobe: “Becoming an ‘experience business’ is daunting but filled with opportunity. This transformation requires that you know and respect your customer, your brand speaks with one voice, you make the technology behind it all transparent, and you delight the customer at every turn.”
• Jay Samit, Author, “Disrupt You!”: “Business as usual is dead. Think about it—driverless cars are being built in workerless factories” … “CX anticipates customer needs; CX is the most important differentiator” … “For the customer, it’s all about the joy of not being sold anything.”
• Paul J. Walsh, CEO, Omniscient Technology Group Inc.: It’s all about “new levels of convenience” for the customer, Walsh said. But to do it right, marketers must “find that patterns in data, make technology invisible, and be connected to the network.”
• Abhay Parasnis, EVP & CTO, Adobe: Technology is “rewiring our personal and business lives as we have never seen before.” And to be a leader in the shift to being an experience business, marketers must “embrace the platform, put experience first, and turn data and content into a competitive advantage.”
• Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist, MIT, Co-Author of “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies”: “A technology surge is coming at us more quickly than we ever thought. The disruptors and winners in this new tech age will be companies that are evidence-driven, outward-looking, and have ‘geeky’ leadership, in which ‘geeky’ means bold, iterative, data-dominated and open. They will not be ones where the HiPPO [highest paid person’s opinion] rules.”
As the autumn falls into winter, this editor will be on the road again, first at the DMA &Then conference, in Los Angeles, and then at ANA’s Masters of Marketing to close things out for the year—I think. More to come.