Highlights from the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference Keynote with Vans, Alaska Airlines and Wiley & Sons

May, 6 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-06 11.27.19

Gartner kicked off its first ever Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego.  The conference was organized around 3 themes: driving results while innovating with data, sourcing and structuring for success and orchestrating exceptional customer experiences.

The opening keynote, “Accelerating Your Digital Journey” was moderated by Yvonne Genovese, Group Vice President leading the Marketing Leaders research business at Gartner. Panelists included Fara Howard, Global VP of Vans, Curtis Kopf, Vice President of Customer Experience at Alaska Airlines, and Clay Stobaugh, Executive Vice President and CMO, John Wiley & Sons. 

[tweetthis]Data is critical to optimize customer experiences via @ygenovese at #GartnerDMC [/tweetthis]

The panel discussed how customer experience is the new differentiator, how to leverage data to manage customer experiences and the impact it’s having on marketing organizations. Curtis at Alaska Airlines discussed the importance of consistent customer experiences across all touchpoints – online and offline. Fara at Vans discussed the role social media plays in helping Vans understand what customers are into and Clay from Wiley & Sons explained how digital has humanized the customer for Wiley & Sons, bringing the customer to life so their voice is part of the conversation.

When asked about personalization and how they're leveraging data, the panel shared these experiences and tips:

  • Alaska Airlines knows a lot about our customers: their drink preference, if they're a member of the loyalty program, seating preferences and more, yet flight attendants don't have the info. "We know you but we act like we don’t know you. Which is a simple problem to solve," said Clay.  
  • Fara believes personalization is imperative and there are consumers out there who are saying, "I love you and you don’t even know my name."

[tweetthis]Data should be driving decisions about what the customer wants, not assumptions #GartnerDMC[/tweetthis]

On the role of data, the panelists cautioned the audience to:

  • Avoid analysis paralysis. Combine all data and use machine learning to identify the patterns.
  • Don't make assumptions about your customers. Being experienced shouldn't cause you to assume. Use the data to get the answers.
  • Knowing what to look for is paramount. Make sure you have the right partners to help you manage that data and the right team behind you to make it happen.
  • Don't forget that sometimes technology won't give you what you need. Observing customers in their environment and in the retail environment is invaluable and captures nuances that are otherwise missed.
  • It's still about our gut instincts. Data gets you part of the way but it's our experience as marketers that gets us the rest of the way.

Finally, Yvonne ended by reminding the audience we all have a lot to do and don't forget to: