Given the growing numbers of devices – from iPhones to smartwatches to Google Glass – in people’s possessions, the worlds of marketing and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined. With that dependence comes new opportunities – and challenges – for marketers as they try to reach out to customers on the behalf of their brands.
The Ad Club’s annual EDGE Conference on Monday invited thought leaders and drivers of a dozen of Boston’s strongest brands to touch upon the dynamic realm of marketing amidst the rise in tech. We jotted down takeaways from the event and personal conversations with the speakers to help keep you in the know.
John Della Volpe, CEO of SocialSphere – Five Reasons Why Boston Will Remain The Hub
Della Volpe opened the event by listing, “Five Reasons Why Boston Will Remain The Hub”:
1. We are the home, the home away from home, for founders, tastemakers, geniuses and generals.
2. We are America’s Millennial Lab.
3. We are social, online and off.
4. We are not a one-company or a one-industry town.
5. We value education, from kindergarten through graduate school.
The chief executive detailed each of the above, noting that “Boston has transformed itself” over the course of the last decade and touting the city as the “second hottest startup market” in the country. We framed his presentation within a profile on SocialSphere here.
Ben Jones, Creative Director of Google – Creative Revolution
“This is what creative revolution looks like at this moment in time… We need more imagination than we need more technology,” started Jones. The creative director listed a number of points, eschewing the use of the word “digital” and begging the importance of humanizing a person’s experience with a piece of marketing.
“Context is magic,” noted Jones. Even amidst the so-called mayhem of technologies and media outlets, “there is no clutter… we don’t experience that as overwhelming because we allow it into our intention.” Jones closed by summing the monumental challenge marketers face in a single, simple question: “How do we generate a more human experience?”
John Costello, President of Global Marketing and Innovation of Dunkin’ Brands – The Download on Dunkin’
“Can you make a difference without a big ad budget?” posited Costello. “If you have a powerful idea, a truly differentiating idea…Yes.”
Over the course of his presentation, Costello stressed the importance of finding ways to combine the new with the old to engage consumers throughout this transition in technology. He broke down the process into a handful of guidelines:
- Differentiate or Die
- Engage Your Consumers
- Be Agile
- Build a Team
On the latter point, the marketing and innovation expert noted:
If you’re doing business like you were last week, your competition is likely gaining on you. If you’re doing business like you were last month, your competition is beating you. And if you’re doing business like you were last year, chances are you won’t be in business soon.
David Chang, COO of PayPal Media Network – Pay It Forward
Chang spoke to the intersection of talent, capital and post-acquisition life for young companies within Boston’s business ecosystem. Often times after being acquired, “the company dissipates,” shared Chang, further stating that the parent company either absorbs or shuts the door on the newly bought startup. In some particularly favorable cases, a buy-out can bring a big-time brand into a new market, as was the case with PayPal’s acquisition of WHERE, the COO’s former company, in 2011.
PayPal Media Network and startup incubator StartTank want to make the “growing up” process for young companies run a bit smoother by providing them with early insights into business plan and strategy, free co-working space to engage with fellow early-stage startups and connections to potential VCs and angels. And while PayPal doesn’t take a dime of equity in its companies, the StartTank is, in a way, carrying its own source of in-house investment capital as of late with equity crowdfunding startup LaunchAngels hunkering down in its space.
Sean Belka, SVP of Fidelity Center for Applied Technology – Finding Edges at Fidelity
“We really view ourselves as a customer experience leader, and as a company committed to having great investment outcomes for our clients,” Belka told BostInno.
“As we try to create something on Google Glass, we’re trying to push forward how we can apply technology to make customers’ experiences better and technology more engaging,” explained Belka, citing the company’s play with the Glass stock-ticker app FidelityLabs created a few months back.
“That sounds good but how do you do that, and well?…We really need to inspect big technologies. We’re dealing with the question of, ‘how do you look for new emerging technologies, no matter where they exist?’” said the SVP.
Image via @KevinTVine