Trends at Digital First 2015

The Digital First 2015 conference took place at Tour & Taxis in Brussels on October 15th. Three of us attended, and we can say without a doubt that it was time and money well spent. The venue was packed with exhibitors and attendees alike, which made for a full day of meeting interesting people, seeing innovative businesses and products, and attending various workshops and presentations. For this blog we conducted a meta-analysis of two separate trends at the conference: exhibitor booths, and keynote speeches.

Curiosity and value

Certain exhibitors did very well, and attracted quite a bit of attention. Others were less successful. We took a look at what worked, and what didn’t. The common thread connecting popular booths was a well-known principle of inbound (digital) marketing: providing value. At the same time, it was curious to see the power and importance of analog touchpoints illustrated so clearly at an event called ‘Digital First’.

The crowd was particular to touchpoints that included specific types of added value: edibles and experiences. Needless to say, the only stand at the conference that was selling sandwiches and coffee drew a monster line at lunch time. A few exhibitors cleverly anticipated this scenario, and brought their own edibles. Fruit smoothies and mini-sandwiches worked like a charm, and the sheer volume of people gathered at their booths served as a multiplier and drew in even more folk. Another exhibitor exchanged contact information for fresh coffee. Another simple yet effective touchpoint strategy, that draws on the power of sharing food to rapidly build rapport.

If you think free food is good, try stepping into an entirely different reality! That’s right, we’re talking virtual reality! The technology had a quiet period during the early 2000s, but is set to really start making a splash in the years ahead. Alternate realities included. We engaged in fisticuffs with masked enforcers, flew a wingsuit through a rocky valley, and took on the guise of Santa Claus for a while. We also got ourselves 3D scanned and virtually cloned courtesy of other up and coming technologies. While the technologies that enabled these touchpoints are pushing the envelope of blending the real and the virtual, all of them still required a lot of physical gear. We’ve certainly come a long way from playing Mortal Kombat on arcade machines (which is still great fun), but we’re also nowhere near ready to leave analog behind.

Customer focused marketing

The most common theme in keynote speeches was the growing importance customer focused marketing. An increasing amount of big data and constantly improving capabilities of harvesting information from that data allows for an intimate knowledge of the customer. Campaigns, strategy, and even multi-channel touchpoints must be designed to be flexible and facilitate data collection. True personal customer experiences have always been the ideal, but now the tools and thought processes that enable it are at our disposal. This will set in motion a transformation of the customer experience. Customers will increasingly demand more personalisation of goods and services, and requires rethinking of the ways in which brands interact with them. These mutually interactive touchpoints will define brand-customer relationships of the near future.

Curious about customer touchpoints?