Our aim with DAU2015 was to make it bigger and better than the previous year.
The State of the Digital Nation
Our aim with DAU2015 was to make it bigger and better than the previous year. Judging by the amazing feedback we have received from the attendees and speakers, we are very pleased and proud to have achieved our goal. With 15 different speaker(s) sessions a huge range of content was covered which could not be summarised in one single blog post. Therefore we have broken it into a series of 4 blog posts. Below Holly May, Junior Account Director, at Digital Annexe provides her summary.
This year’s Digital Annexe University kicked off by asking us to think beyond digital’s impact on individuals, shifting our focus on to organisations. How ready are brands and retailers for the new trends and technologies coming into the market? It seems that we’re willing… But perhaps not yet well equipped.
In his talk about helping companies become more agile, our first speaker Neil Perkin, Founder of www.onlydeadfish.co.uk/ suggests we need much more than tools and process. We need the mind-set and culture, evangelised by digital natives. Whilst this is evident in young successful brands with digital at their core (Spotify, Airbnb & Facebook to name a few), the more established tend to suffer from ‘do what we’ve always done’ syndrome. Neil encourages us to learn from these ‘digital native’ organisations, making the shift to small multi-disciplinary teams that can be empowered to achieve.
We can become more agile not only by the way we’re structured, but also by adopting the right habits in our approach to digital. Digital Annexe Managing Director, Sean Singleton’s 7 habits of highly effective digital marketing for companies highlighted how many companies have yet to unlock the power of conversion optimisation. If we get the right web tracking in place, we can make small incremental changes on a regular basis that have wider positive impact in the long run (in other words, our very own Groundhog Day!).
Dhiren Master, Marketing Director, of Kwik Fit, discussed the challenges for the modern Marketing Director of targeting today’s media & tech savvy consumers.
As the morning went on, we discovered that it’s not just in the traditional digital space (i.e. our web platforms) where we have to be more willing and quicker to adapt. Although the good news is that the physical store is certainly not dead, we need to focus efforts on merging the physical and digital retail experience. The Retail Innovations Panel claimed that we often pay lip-service to digital innovation but it’s hard for large companies to achieve (particularly when we’re busy fighting fires!). Even the innovation labs that aim to give freedom from constraints can end up delivering small pilot schemes that, in reality, do not integrate into the wider business.
So what’s the key to making it work? The expert panel offered us the following nuggets of wisdom…
- Introduce digital with little disruption – e.g. Digital installations that offer useful tools and additional information, that don’t just distract and push messages
- Find a pain point and offer a solution – e.g. Retailers can look to innovations in delivery services/digital assistants to make things more convenient (and less heavy!) for the customer
- Don’t just think about the consumer-facing experience. New data software opens a world of opportunity for operational efficiency (e.g. RotaGeek staff scheduling software based on real footfall)
- Remove cultural blockers at a senior level. We’re approaching exciting times as the mid-management generation with a good the breadth of digital knowledge naturally start to move up into the boardroom.
So the lesson of the first sessions of DA University? Examine how your company operates at a higher level and enable your teams to help get digital innovation off the ground. Getting the basics right will help us pave the way for the new technologies, software and platforms coming our way (not needed). Next week we will release part two which focuses on the theme of (delete) letting go of control and the importance of subtlety.