We have officially wrapped another successful Adlucent Client Summit! In addition to go-karting and even some country-style line-dancing in our hometown of Austin, TX, we brought together our team, partners and clients to discuss key steps marketers can take to unify the customer experience across digital channels. Key themes included creating inclusive marketing campaigns, embracing AI to create personalized experiences, pursuing best practices for leveraging the full capabilities of social platforms and threading the needle to cultivate success across digital channels.
This year’s Summit comes on the heels of our recent announcement that Ashwani Dhar has been named the new CEO of Adlucent. As Dhar continues to guide the company in supporting our clients and team, it’s no surprise we sought to manifest our company mantra, “Better Every Day.”
Better Every Day
Adlucent’s mantra “Better Every Day” is infused in everything we do, and it was one of the core themes of the Summit. We constantly work to improve performance results for our clients, our own professional development and the community around us.
This year, Dhar opened the Summit by explaining how this philosophy has inspired Adlucent to foster strong relationships with clients that share this core value. From our roots as a bootstrapped company laser-focused on paid search for retail, to growing into one of the largest agencies managing PLAs in North America, to joining the Advantage Solutions family in 2016 and acquiring our first Amazon agency, Directional Cue, in 2018 — Adlucent has cemented its niche as the expert digital commerce response agency.
Inclusivity Inspires Better Marketing
The world is an incredibly diverse place full of unique people. Failure to incorporate inclusivity and diversity into your marketing strategy is a disservice to your brand and your audience, as MJ DePalma, Senior Global Multicultural and Inclusive Marketing Manager at Microsoft, explained in her keynote session. DePalma used her company’s standard of “empower everyone” to exemplify that through inclusive marketing, richer conversations can take place between marketers and customers.
Exploring the potential that becomes accessible by identifying differences, DePalma highlighted the following recent statistics: by 2044 there will be no clear ethnic majority in the U.S, female buying power will be at an all-time high of $40 trillion worldwide and the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. will have doubled in just 11 years.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to incorporate inclusivity into your marketing strategy, check out these resource suggestions from DePalma:
- Microsoft Unconscious Bias Training and Worksheet to Make it Real
- Harvard Implicit Bias Tests
- Microsoft Inclusive Design Articles
- Dare to be an Ally
- Microsoft Accessible Marketing Webcast and eBook
AI Can Drive Personalization
Personalization is a must-have for modern-day marketers, and expanded AI capabilities are crucial to getting there. Speakers from Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Adlucent all spoke to this point. Microsoft’s Gagan Chopra, Group Program Manager of Advertising R&D, and Joe Kruger, Analytical Lead of Retail, labeled 2019 as the year of intelligent retail, emphasizing how AI-powered solutions allow retailers to pinpoint exactly what shoppers are looking for and fully understand the decision journey.
Courtney MacConnell, Head of Shopping at Google, presented the case for personalized omnichannel unification in what she dubs, “The Age of Assistance.” She predicted that retailers making an effort to personalize their marketing strategies will be more likely to remove points of friction and drive desired actions.
Chris Powers, Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook, attested to the value of personalization on social media platforms, explaining how data analytics and machine learning are fantastic tools for creating personalized experiences.
Jason Roussos, SVP of Strategy at Adlucent, drove this point home, recommending businesses allocate more time to the development and understanding of AI as they continue to grow. Roussos challenged attendees to look both internally at their teams, and externally, for opportunities to improve. Companies he recommended to help enable this type of growth include:
- Cognitive Scale
- Amazon Redshift
- Microsoft Azure
- Google BigQuery
The Role of Social Media
Looking to the future, Powers, speaking on behalf of Facebook, prompted brands to invest in video, a medium he sees growing further in the future. Currently, videos not only drive engagement but also increase conversions, a trend that is quickly becoming the norm on Instagram. For example, video holds five times more attention than static content and results in a 17-times higher conversion rate. The number of advertisers using video has increased by four times, producing an 11X growth in ROAS.
Similarly, Pinterest has formed its own unique visual identity. In a case study outlining JCPenney’s work with the platform, Brad Wehkamp, Senior Manager of CSE at JCPenney, explained how Pinterest helped JCPenney effectively capture and understand new audiences. Using Pinterest as a tool to drive new customers to their website, JCPenney has not only grown their audience pool but their efficiency in retargeting potential customers through different channels.
Threading the Needle
Throughout his sessions, Roussos continued to refer back to the idea of “threading the needle” as the modern-day marketer’s job. According to him, both AI and human teams should collaborate to improve the user journey. Within programmatic advertising, Roussos advised leveraging data to expand audiences and technology, which become endless with the right information at your fingertips. Just like Dhar said when he kicked off the summit, “threading the needle” will help companies not only navigate the digital realm but also thrive in the midst of fierce competition.
As we say farewell to the 2019 Adlucent Client Summit, we know the theme of “Unifying the Marketing Experience” will continue to inspire conversations with our clients and partners these next few months. Working together, we’ll unite marketing strategies across all digital channels. And it is through our collective sum that we will better understand customers, find new ways to reach audiences and, best of all, identify new areas of innovation through inclusivity.
Clients and Adlucites at Circuit of the Americas