How To Outthink Ordinary: 5 Lessons From #IBMAmplify

May 17, 2016 Allocadia


IBM Amplify introduced a theme this year at their event, encouraging us “marketeers” to outthink the ordinary, and this morning, their keynote speakers gave us plenty of examples of how to accomplish this.

Creating extra-ordinary experiences for our customers.

Customers have incredible expectation of brands today. They’re comparing us against every brand experience they have—even if it’s in a completely different context—and so we have to live up to that to win their love. They want us to show them what they want, when they want it, in place where they are. And they expect it to be personal. “People want experiences more than they want things sometimes” says Kiley Newbold of The Color Run. Lisa Claes of ING Direct also talked a lot about their customers, reminding everyone, “You cannot be all things to all customers”. Being successful is really about knowing who your customers are at very intimate levels. And beyond that, who do you want your customers to be. “Know who you serve. Know who you wish to serve” added Kareem Yusuf of IBM. You need to understand what motivates your customers to engage, and then offer a proposition that suits their specific needs. “The days of spray and pray marketing are over”, Lisa proclaimed. And she’s right! We now have the all the data to understand, predict and measure our customers behaviours like never before. So let’s use that!

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Version 10 of IBM Marketing Cloud was rolled out shortly after and with that, significantly enhanced real-time personalization capabilities. It’s tools like these that will allow us to really deliver the individual experience that our customers expect from us. That means no excuses, people! How do we do this? Well…

Don’t waste all the data; get cognitive.

We have incredible opportunities to understand our customers today because of all the data we collect. We track everything they do—every move they make, every move they almost make, every way they walk, tweet, click, share. (Is Sting playing in your head now?) But what good is this data if we don’t use it? “We are stock-piling the most valuable natural resource our profession has ever known” says Harriet Fryman of IBM, but we can’t seem digest it all. Harriet introduced the newest innovation that IBM has been working on; what we’ve all heard of before, called “Watson”. The ability to use cognitive computing to deeply comprehend our markets, see patterns in behaviours, discern intent and really understand where our customers are in their journey is a fundamentally different approach than ever before. This is the marketing we’ve always wanted to do! Imagine the value, insight and competitive advantage we can expect with this!

Watching you

(Kind of awesome, kind of creepy, right?)

IBM cognitive computing is currently in testing and is expected to roll out in Q3 of 2016 allowing users to use all their existing IBM tools with the added power of a technology that can understand and reason… and even learn! Trust us, we saw a demo, and it’s pretty snazzy! Speaking of technology…

Let’s get digital.

Alex Alexander, CIO of Yoox Net-A-Porter, a high-end fashion brand, told us that today that 40% of his orders come in via mobile. And, he expects that number to double in the next four years. This is high-end fashion, not ordering a buying a $0.99 song on iTunes. Customers are spending so much of their money from the palm of their hand these days. This is just one example of how the world is moving digital, and no matter what your brand, you need to pay attention to this. (It would amaze you at how many brands aren’t there yet!) And this digital is good for everyone—so no need to resist. Jeff Pattison of MetLife took the stage this morning to talk about the incredible journey that his company has been on—a 150yr old company that is transforming itself within this digital world. They have been working to transition their customers to a more digital experience and have been using IBM Marketing Cloud to help support this transition. They were able to find, what he called a “win, win, win” in moving customers to eDelivery of their statements. “It’s giving choice to the customer and making things as easy as possible and allows us to service the customer better and cut operating costs.” What’s the third win? Well, the environment of course. And it’s important for companies to take that into consideration.

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(Thanks for the inspiration, DJ Khaled.)

You know what else you need to consider?

The DNA is the content.

We’ve all heard a lot about content and how important it is to use within our marketing efforts. People have written books about this stuff! (Shout out to Ann Handley of Marketing Profs!) Gwyneth Paltrow, renowned actress and entrepreneur, took the stage today and left us with a few powerful sound bites. The first was about content. Her business ( is focused on content—that’s how it got its start in fact. And that’s what keeps people coming back. Even if they don’t look at it as marketing, per se, that’s exactly what it is. It’s why their “readers” come to the site and why they connect with the brand. Gwyneth produces the content for and that’s what makes it authentic. “Our marketing machine at Goop is pretty non-existent. If anyone wants a job! [She added later, you could send your resume to Legit.] We’re pretty homespun. I think that for good or bad, we really are who we are. We have a lot of integrity in our words and our deeds. We have a lot of authenticity. When you do, people find you and you resonate with people.” Keep it fresh, keep it real and use it to serve your customer. That’s how you do content right.

Other valuable sound bites from Miss Paltrow include:

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And with that let’s…

Bring it back to leadership.

During the marketing keynote, just before our product got a special shout out (what what?!), Michelle Peluso talked about the challenges of being a CMO today. The expectations have totally changed! It’s no longer just about developing messaging; it’s about driving profit and loss (hint: Allocadia helps you do this effectively!). It’s no longer just about broadcasting messaging; it’s about one-to-one messaging. It’s no longer just a few clear channels you’re working with; you’re dealing with a proliferation of digital channels. It’s no longer just a right brain job; you need both sides of your noggin. You don’t have time for planning and long lead times; you’re expected to react in real time. And you’re expected to collaborate more than ever before. Phew! No wonder we’re all attending gatherings like this to try and figure out how we navigate this new role! Michelle suggests, in this new day in age, we bring it back to leadership. She left us with a few key suggestions as to how to lead successfully in this new role:

  1. See the world as it really is [quote by David Foster Wallace speech]
  2. Keep curiosity and humility at the forefront
  3. Edit to amplify, with your messaging and your time
  4. Stay focused on customer experience, not just what you’re selling
  5. Bold innovation and teamwork are requirements
  6. Pick the right partners
  7. Practice grace, when things don’t go your way

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Chris Wong of IBM compared marketing these days to a symphony orchestra. You need to think bigger, think about the journey, think about the entire team and stay cohesive. This event has really kicked things up a notch in terms of inspiration and innovation, and it’s not over yet. We’re hoping these valuable takeaways light your fire, if you weren’t able to attend yourself. Go marketeers!

Want more inspired quotes? Get ‘em here.

The post How To Outthink Ordinary: 5 Lessons From #IBMAmplify appeared first on Allocadia.


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