For the past three years, Blue Moon Digital has hosted our Annual Brand Summit here in Colorado. This year, instead of heading to the mountains, we chose to bring it home to Denver. Why Denver? Because Denver empowers and embodies change! Once an unassuming cow town, Denver has blossomed into a vibrant city that continuously attracts new companies and residents. Our beautiful city has always been an agent of change, which aligned perfectly with our theme of Empowering Change in the Digital Age: Putting Big Ideas into Action!

Playing host is never an easy task. But, hosting an amazing group of 60 of our clients, plus our exceptional partners, was the highlight of our year. The great feedback on the conference content, the networking amongst our clients, and the social activities clients participated in during our three-day Summit sparked the desire to take the material further and share it with you! So, we took some of our favorite, most impactful knowledge nuggets out of five of our sessions and compiled them here for you!

We break them down for you below into two groups:

  • Focusing on the Data 
  • Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things

Focusing on the Data

1. Data for the 99% Unlocking Data Curiosity Across Your Organization – Ben Schein, Vice President Data Curiosity at Domo

The Core BI Dilemma – Why does it always seem so hard to get the data and insight you need to solve a business problem?

Here is how Ben breaks it down.

You see, data is emotional. That probably doesn’t feel intuitive. But, let’s cover some undeniable truths.

Data is emotional because of…

  • Broken promises
  • Wasted investment
  • Disappointing your partners
  • Interesting but not useful
  • Not having what you need

If you break it down, data is emotional because so many businesses were delivering static information in inflexible BI solutions. It wasn’t intuitive, it leads nowhere, and it frustrated everyone. It was taking on too much at once.

Don’t hang all your hopes or past failures on data.

When you’re strictly looking at your data in a vacuum, you can’t effectively see the woods through the trees. Let the curiosity of that data, be the emotion you tie to your data. If you breed a culture that is curious about data and the problems it can solve, you structure an organization that is data inclusive. Meaning, you’re not putting your data in the hands of a few, and you’re bringing the whole team into the fold.

Prioritize and solve one problem at a time.

Here’s an excellent way to overwhelm yourself.

end to end business solution
Courtesy of Domo Inc.

That begs the questions…

If we are working on the most critical problems, why should we care about using the data differently?

  • Need to build a culture of data curiosity (don’t discourage people from asking)
  • The fallacy of self-service (everyone needs some guidance, help, teaching, configuration)
  • Lost business value from the orphaned business problems we pass over. Nothing is ever “complete” (by their very nature, business problems will continuously evolve and change)

Create a curiosity for solutions that evolve with your needs, one that is agile enough to support the organization it serves.

Here’s what that entails.

Courtesy of Domo Inc.

What do End-to-Almost-End Solutions Look Like?

  • Build tools that get “almost to the end.”
  • Maintain engineering rigor on the last mile without engineers (automation, dependency, logging, backup, usage tracking)
  • The last mile of insight delivery happens very close to the business problem (sometimes dedicated BI, sometimes within the business)

Solving business problems is always the inspiration but engineers aim for just short of the actual problem. Basically, solve the problems of the people who are solving the problems.

Use end-to-almost-end to solve real business problems. Things like…

  • Competitive Shifts
  • Customer Sentiment
  • Changing Business Models
  • External Events
  • Forecast Accuracy via AI/ML

Encourage data curiosity across your organization. The way things have always been done is no longer a good enough answer.

2. How to win Business and Influence Decisions…with Data – Chad Seaver, Strategic Account Director at Blue Moon Digital & Tracy Smith, Director of CRM at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows

Let’s get to it. In this session recap, Chad and Tracy dive right in!

This is how to win business and influence decisions…you do it with data.

Start by Acknowledging the Opportunity

  • Where are we wasting hours?
  • Where are my blind spots?
Courtesy of BMD Inc.

Inspire Curiosity in your data (seeing a theme here).

Build Freedom Within a Framework – Sifting through copious amounts of data can be daunting.

  • Schedule playtime and define what that looks like to your organization
  • The rest of the time keep your eye on the prize

Because, balance.

Objective vs. Subjective decision making: when and how to make decisions with data.

Courtesy of BMD Inc.

Ask yourself, how do you influence decisions with Data? Make it actionable, review your most mission-critical reports with at least 2-3 different groups.

  • How much of this report is used?
  • Which metrics drive decisions, what charts are looked at?
  • Which attachments are opened?
  • How many hours are spent building, maintaining, or updating this report?
  • How many of those hours can be saved?

What are your answers? Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your relationship with your data.

“Data Science is the study of where information comes from, what it represents and how it can be turned into a valuable resource in the creation of business and IT strategies…” – TechTarget

Without the right data, you’re missing the mark. But that isn’t the only thing that you need to be keeping an eye on.

Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things

3. Righting the Ship: How Global Brands Realize Digital Transformation – Joanna Darst, Global Director of Media and Consumer Activation at Molson Coors

Joanna believes art and science must complement each other. You can automate all you want but neglecting the human element will leave you out of the conversation. Decide what needs to be automated and what needs a human touch to offer people the best experiences with your brand.

This digital transformation requires a new modern marketer who thinks, behaves, and approaches the digital age, change, and the needs of their customers differently.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start by defining digital transformation.

Digital transformation is the profound transformation of business and organizational activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way, with present and future shifts in mind.”

Again, that doesn’t mean that the human element is negated. No no. The human element is needed on all levels. If you think about it, the human element is what sparks this transformation.

People don’t want digital for everything. As you will read later in this post that sentiment is reflected in our generational panel. But, I digress. People, generally, relate to people and value face-to-face interactions. But in that same breath, there is a digital transformation element in that non-digital interaction. This digital element plays a crucial role in empowering those contexts and conversations, especially when it comes to customer service.

This is how Joanna described digital transformation.

Empowering Change in the Digital Era means Modern Marketing.

modern marketer

So, how do you reap the rewards of modern marketing? First, you NEED to understand the state of your business. You can’t get started if you have no idea where you are starting from.

Ask yourself, your executives, your decision-makers these questions…

  1. What change can be tolerated?
  2. What level of risk can be tolerated?
  3. What are your business conditions?
  4. What is your marketing strategy?
  5. How do you interact with consumers today? Will that stay the same?

What then?

Build your Plan, assemble your team.

  1. Who are your natural advocates? Detractors?
  2. Who must you depend on for transformation, modernization?
  3. Who is your natural community – The pioneers within the enterprise?
  4. How to pace and prioritize investments? Tech, team, data.

That begs the question, how do you know when it is working? How do you know that you’ve won?

Courtesy of Molson Coors

Joanna’s parting words of advice…

  1. Patience is overrated
  2. Place ‘networked’ bets that pay off near AND long term – use this progress to grow your community of advocates
  3. Sow common language, goals, expectations
  4. Educate, inspire, assure, calm, demonstrate. Rinse and repeat
  5. Democracy is overrated – clarify roles and responsibilities

“Change is inevitable, change will always happen, but you have to apply direction to change, and that’s when it is progress.” – Yanay Zohar

4. Making the Most of Your Brand’s Most Valuable Asset – Customer Data – Art Tschoop, Regional Director at Listrak

Marketers hear all the time to put the customer first. It’s a tired narrative, right? And while “personalization” is everything, what does that mean?

Personalization is woven into every service we consume. And if it isn’t, brands are potentially missing out on an opportunity to connect with consumers.

“So, what are the thrilling opportunities and potentially disastrous consequences of such a future?”

Art covered what it actually takes to create a magical experience and the risks involved.

Customers need to be put at the heart of your business operations. Long gone are the days of being “sold to.” Consumers see right through that. There’s no genuine connection! Customers want to be related to.

This means that marketers need features and functionality in their technology solutions that allow and support them, adding value within every step of the customer journey.

Perhaps your business is interested in a higher customer lifetime value and revenue growth (because really, who doesn’t?). Those technology solutions need to add value at an individual level. Not a demographic level, not a subset nor a list level…an individual level.

Retailers who fail to tie functionality to a positive customer experience will likely make false assumptions about those customers’ preferences and likely fall behind in the “pursuit of customer” obsession.

Here’s what Listrak has found to be the “Trifecta” of Data-Driven Personalization

Dynamic Content + Recommendations + Predictive Content

But this isn’t a set it and forget it type of model. Customer habits change. The state of the industry and social changes. Your customer personalization touchpoints should be evaluated regularly. Strive to truly understand your customer and place them at the heart of your organization. It’s not a nice to do. It’s a demand and one that’s growing by the day. And if you don’t know how to harness your customer data in such a way that you can deliver a superior experience for your customer, you will lose.

5. Highlights from our Generational Panel:

When you get 4 generations (Baby boomer, Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z) together to talk about digital, you get a lot of laughs, some great insights, and you walk away with new ideas to strengthen your business and customer relationships.

Where do you shop online?

“I like to shop on Amazon for the little things, and it’s easy because I am a Prime member. Wayfair is another favorite. For a person my age being able to talk to someone on the phone if I have an issue is huge for me. Good or bad, I am confident they will be there for me.” – Marcie, Baby Boomer

“Amazon but I have a love-hate relationship with them. It’s so easy to overspend. I also like to try online retailers that my favorite podcasts recommend.” – Cami, Gen X

“I shop directly on the Nike site because I am brand loyal. Being able to experience the brand through social and on the website matters to me. Those positive experiences keep me coming back. I own 50 pairs of Nikes.” – Jared, Millennial

“I like to shop on the Nike and New Balance apps. It’s easy and efficient. They know I am a runner, and they personalize what they recommend for me.” – Carson, Gen Z

A lot of the data you generate daily is being tracked and stored for use later. Does that bother you?

“I am not worried about tracking. Also, I feel lucky that most of my youthful mistakes and indiscretions happened before the digital revolution, and I won’t be haunted by them. Most importantly, I am careful of what I do online and assume my info has been sold a lot.” – Marcie, Baby Boomer

“I am not too worried. Every day new measures are being put into place to keep our data safe, and it’s only going to get better and more reliable over time.” – Jared, Millennial

“I do all the privacy restrictions, so after that is done, I feel ok about it. Also, if you want to hack me or misuse my info, you will do it.” – Cami, Gen X

“I am not too concerned. Brands just want to learn more about me.”– Carson, Gen Z

via GIPHY

Do reviews matter when you are shopping, planning a vacation, or deciding where to dine?

“Reviews matter a lot to me. If it’s not 4 stars or above, it’s off my radar. I am suspicious of paid reviews, and for the reviews I trust, I look for common threads in the comments.” – Marcie, Baby Boomer

“I like to read all the reviews, both negative and positive feedback is helpful when I need to make the right decision.” – Cami, Gen X

“I don’t look at reviews because most of the bad stuff is highlighted. I prefer to judge a brand or a product for myself.” – Jared, Millennial

“Reviews are great. I am super indecisive, so if I need to buy something expensive like a new device or running shoes, I trust my peers and the opinions of professional reviewers.” – Carson, Gen Z

We’ve piled a lot in this post and hope that you haven’t received whiplash from all the action-oriented content.

We must keep some Summit secrets to ourselves. That’s why we keep it exclusive. But, our hope is that we have covered enough here to pique your interest and give you some takeaways so that you too can Empower Change in the Digital Age for your business.