While marketers on the other side of the globe were celebrating Advertising Week in New York early this month, the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) was busy bringing together local and global thought leaders on digital for the country’s annual Digital Congress (DigiCon).
This year’s DigiCon continues the conversation it started in 2016 (on the mainstreamification of digital) and 2017 (on transformative culture behavior and organizational structure) with this year’s theme, Experience Extraordinary.
With sessions from 66 speakers distributed over the course of 3 days, it’s impossible to attend all tracks in one go. So if you were busy attending a different track, or missed the entire DigiCon 2018 altogether, don’t fret — we’ve gathered our favorite insights from DigiCon XE.
1. Experience is the only true differentiator.
In her keynote speech, Bozoma Saint John (Chief Marketing Officer, Endeavor) said that, essentially, Apple and Samsung are selling the same product, “but what makes you feel that much more passionately about your device is some feeling; [your product] makes you feel cooler, or better or more important […]”
This was the same idea that gave birth to this year’s theme, Experience Extraordinary, and resonated throughout the whole 3-day conference: that the experience a brand gives its customers is the only true differentiator it has.
2. Consumer expectations are rising.
This move towards experiential marketing carries with it a whole host of new challenges for digital marketers. As Shaifali Nathan (Head of Large Consumer Business, Google) points out, “brands need to continuously compete with the best experience consumers have ever had.” In a country where 63% of the adult population are internet users, that’s going to be a pretty big ask.
Unlike the olden days of traditional advertising, it’s no longer enough that brands serve just one ad to everyone; they now have the responsibility of being there at the right time, serving the right (read: personalized) content, in an instant. Well-loved conglomerates like Google and Facebook are even out there creating solutions that result in new behaviors in the consumer journey.
But if you’re not keen on reinventing the wheel and just want to create a better experience for your customers, take a page from Ben Poole’s (Managing Director APAC, Reprise) book: try to do 100 things 1% better. It’s going to make all the difference.
3. Consumers don’t surf, they ski.
With the increasing number of touchpoints, it’s getting harder for marketers to understand which channel contributed to a conversion. After all, the consumer journey is no longer linear — with people having free reign over their own journey as consumers, they can take as much time, look at as much advertisements, make as much searches as they need, before converting.
Pat del Castillo (Client Solutions Manager, Facebook), for one, encourages brands to give potential customers various ways to take action across different touchpoints in order to minimize drop-off. But conversion shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all — Anthony Baker (Executive Technology Director, R/GA), proposes that it’s simply the beginning of a long-term relationship with the consumer.
Traditional attribution models can’t capture this level of complexity, and metrics like CTR, while useful, do not correlate with brand metrics like recall. This is why it’s becoming important for us to recalibrate the way we measure digital performance, which is what the Digital Measurement Board has been doing with the Philippine Digital Measurement Standard.
4. Adjust, or you will be left in the dust.
The concept of disruption — used to refer to innovations that change the way things are usually done — has been around for 2 decades now, but it’s been making the rounds again recently thanks to Silicon Valley. Due to its revolutionary nature, disruptive tech tends to meet with some resistance; however, as Angeline Tham (CEO, Angkas) puts it, “disruption is not a bad word. It is, though, a challenge.”
Take a look at DigiCon 2018’s guest speakers: leaders from Spotify, Angkas, Cashalo, and so much more. If there’s anything these brands have in common, it’s that they offer new and innovative solutions to age-old problems, creating new consumer behaviors. Something else these brands share: many of them are probably no more than 10 years old.
Even the older brands are constantly reinventing themselves: CNN and VICE, for example, are two traditional media companies (TV and print, respectively) that have made the switch to digital and have seen growth that surpassed their traditional counterparts. To take Samuel Burke’s (Business and Technology Correspondent, CNN) words, they adjusted; therefore, they did not get left in the dust.
5. Emotion is the currency of the experience economy.
It’s no longer enough for brands to just sell their products and services. Nowadays, everyone looks beyond functional commodities hoping to find your brand’s heart. That should come as no surprise, since campaigns like Globe’s #CreateCourage have been tugging at our heartstrings for years.
But more than your usual “hugot” long-forms, people want to know that your brand stands for something, whether it’s providing internet to the unconnected, teaching Japanese children how to code, or helping Indonesia become more wheelchair accessible. The question of “and then what?” looms after the end of every campaign, urging advertisers to think of how their ads can make a lasting impression not just on their consumers, but on society itself.
This year’s DigiCon emphasized the idea that brands must put consumers at the center of everything they do. By being authentic and vulnerable, you allow your brand to make a connection with your audience. As the old adage goes, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”