Digital Velocity Europe 2014: Four Key Digital Marketing Takeaways

Digital Velocity Europe returned to London recently for the second year and this time it was even bigger and better. Tag management and data unification continue to be hot topics, drawing hundreds of marketing and analytics professionals from 11 European countries to discuss these key issues.

There was a wealth of insight and innovation delivered throughout the day by digital leaders from Forrester Research, Volvo, Urban Outfitters and many more. While the subjects presented were many and varied, there was a recurring excitement that organizations are finally able to achieve the dream of unified marketing, i.e., the ability to deliver consistent, omni-channel experiences to visitors based their historical activity. If you couldn’t attend, here are four key takeaways.

1. This is the Age of the Customer

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Forrester Research Analyst James McCormick talks about the ‘age of the customer.’

The keynote presentation from James McCormick, senior analyst with Forrester Research, revealed that 22 percent of consumers engage with brands through a multitude of different channels simultaneously, with consumers using at least three connected devices in their day-to-day activity. This “always-on” consumer means that a wealth of potential digital touch points is now available to marketers. As a result, enterprises are re-evaluating their marketing strategy and digital marketing foundations to help engage customers across these channels.

The bottom line is that if enterprises are not reaching their customers in a way that is convenient and reflects their activity across each screen they use, their competitors certainly will.

2. Cloud Wars

As major technology vendors such as Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle start to expand within the digital marketing space, they have rapidly built out proprietary marketing clouds in an attempt to offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing technology. As a result, marketers often feel they need to be tied to one particular cloud vendor over another for all their digital marketing needs. But with approximately 1,600 cloud-based digital marketing vendors in existence, they could miss out on the best solutions for their business needs if they sit outside their chosen cloud.

So how do marketers begin to choose which combination of best-in-class vendor solutions they should be deploying? A consensus among many attendees is that tag management solutions can serve as that foundational technology that allows marketers to build their own marketing clouds and integrate solutions from different best-in-class vendors. A TMS can be the grouting that brings together all of the applications and associated data, which translates into unified marketing in real time across all digital channels and devices.

3. Unified Marketing Becomes a Reality

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Tealium Chief Evangelist Jay Calavas discusses how to achieve the ‘Holy Grail’ of marketing.

For years marketers have wrestled with the challenge of so called ‘big data.’ Hundreds of digital applications pump out all manner of online customer data, leaving marketers and their IT teams with the unenviable task of trying to correlate, analyse and take action on this fragmented data. Organisations that can solve this problem will be better equipped to achieve a unified view of the customer, something nearly 50 percent of respondents to a recent Econsultancy-Tealium survey said was key to their long-term success. But the same survey discovered that only 14 percent say they have the ability to achieve this ‘Holy Grail’ of marketing.

As Jay Calavas, Tealium’s Chief Evangelist, demonstrated during the Digital Velocity, the good news is that those looking to build their own marketing cloud will be infinitely better positioned to achieve a unified view of their customer, delivering the right message at the right time through the right channel.

4. What Keeps Digital Marketers Up At Night?

Our expert panel tackled this question and, in short, it would seem the answer is “a lot.” Tobias Weiss, BI & Web Analytics Consultant at T-Systems, discussed the importance of achieving data consistency across all your solutions, while Jeremy Waite, Head of Digital Strategy EMEA for the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, urged that social behavioural data does not get overlooked when using different data sources to help guide your brand communications. He cited the example of Dell that discovered for every negative social comment, five positive comments were required to maintain a social parity.

The panel also addressed some of the biggest threats and risks to the modern digital marketer. Julian Brewer, Head of Digital Sales & Products at TSB, discussed the highly important issue of data ownership, while Tobias cited data security and protection as a top priority. This topic was also covered by Gareth Ballard, Digital Efficiency Manager at Volvo, in his presentation earlier in the day, which fueled plenty of debate among attendees. It would seem that meeting consumer expectations on data privacy and ensuring compliance with the EU Privacy Directive is the key to a sound night’s sleep for European marketers.

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