As my colleague Megan Lester mentioned in her preview of last week’s annual DMA Conference (&THEN), I was really looking forward to attending the Strategic Summit. I’m glad we registered early so I had an almost front-row seat to listen to J. Walker Smith from Kantar Futures talk about what he described as the “vanishing point.” The vanishing point represents the shift in the market from a data-centric view to a human-centric view. He explained how we’re now using technology to create social connections and used the thumb kiss as an example of this. (The thumb kiss is available on an app which lets couples “kiss” with their fingers by touching the screen in the exact same place. If both tap the same spot on the screen, their phones will vibrate. Aww.)
He identified the rise of sensors in the marketplace as the biggest shift in technology as we move from screens to sensors. What does this mean for you? Need some motivation to pay more attention to oral hygiene? Oral B has developed a smart toothbrush that sends data from a sensor to your dentist. The data lets your dentist know how much time you spend brushing your teeth and provides the tantalizing option for dynamic pricing for your annual cleanings based on your behavior.
A few years ago, we heard Dr. John Leininger from Clemson University talk about making advertising more effective by studying the path your eyes follow when viewing an ad. There’s now a product in development that will allow you to order a pizza using sensors that determine your pizza preferences based on how much time you spend looking at each topping option.
My favorite session of the &THEN Strategic Summit was a panel discussion titled, “Changing Face of the M-Suite.” Luci Rainey, SVP, Consumer Marketing for Comcast, had many heads nodding when she observed, “Disruption must include collaboration and communication.” The panel agreed that essential skills for today’s M-Suite include an understanding of technology, ability to analyze data, and the ability to pull together everyone − employees, vendor partners, freelancers − to work as a team.
The panel discussion concluded with a 5-part message to CEOs:
- Marketing technology is dynamic.
- Mass marketing is gone.
- Brand and revenue goals must align.
- It’s not always the sexy stuff that delivers the greatest return.
- Invest in automation for effectiveness.
Simon Sinek’s keynote, “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don’t,” was positioned as being inspirational and he delivered on the promise. If you haven’t heard Simon speak, take 18 minutes to listen to his TED Talk, which is #3 on the list of most popular TED Talks. It was refreshing to hear him discuss the need for consistency rather than intensity. He challenged the audience to think about making our work better this year than last year, and better next year than this year. It was fun to watch the reaction of the audience when he asked to borrow a phone and then posed the question, “Do you feel like you have my attention when I’m holding my phone while we talk?” He must have known the audience reaction would be for many to turn their phones screen side down since he added, “Leaving your phone upside down on the table while we’re having dinner is not more polite.”
One of the surprises of this year’s conference was the announcement that DMA no longer stands for Direct Marketing Association. The letters in the acronym are the same but the logo is new and the letters now mean Data & Marketing Association. We’ll be talking more about what this means in an upcoming blog.
Finally, the exhibit floor was markedly smaller than in years past, but there was fun to be had and great information to be found. There were a lot of people talking about dinosaurs and tigers, which was puzzling until you realized they were talking about their virtual reality (VR) experience and what VR brings to storytelling, which is so much a part of today’s content marketing. Our VP Sales, Tom Hexamer, was about to fend off a dinosaur in the photo at the top of this page.
If you’d like to learn more about the discussions in the &THEN Strategic Summit, or share your VR experience from the show, leave a comment here.
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