#DMWF Global 2019 round-up: Exploring authentic brand engagement strategies

By: James Bourne

June 3, 2019


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We’ve just about closed the doors and taken down the bunting on another successful Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) event – and for the more than 1200 attendees who came to the Business Design Centre in London last month, there were two days of terrific insight, inquisition and information to take in.

The conference sessions and exhibition focused on different areas, from content and influencer marketing to eCommerce and digital transformation. Yet all of these paths converge; it’s all about creating great customer journeys for ever-increasing consumer expectations, driven by data.

Here are our highlights from #DMWF Global 2019:

One of the more eye-opening stats came on day one from Alessandra Alari, head of Google UK and Ireland’s search and mobile UX unit. Alari told attendees that the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds; as of 2013, it had been calculated at eight seconds – less than a goldfish.

In this click-first, think-later mindset where content is infinite and attention spans are dwindling, getting your message across has never been tougher. A standout panel on the future of social provided plenty of best practice for those in attendance. Cristy Garratt, head of digital video and social media at CNBC International, noted how it was a ‘long process’ for the publisher, but it was vitally important to get an authentic message across – with ‘fierce loyalty’ the result.

This was echoed by those on the platform side. Graham Forsyth, marketing director at Khoros (main picture), noted that marketing had a problem around trust, while Maureen McDonagh, industry head of retail at Facebook, told delegates of how content needs to be genuine and emotive:

So how do you get this authenticity to truly shine through? Several companies presenting, including PwC and Sage, advocate employee advocacy. Nick Masters, head of online at PwC, said advocacy shouldn’t be overlooked and that content was a utility, not a destination.

Lauren Burton, global social community lead at Sage, outlined how the accounting software provider had gotten executive buy-in and organic social referral traffic as a result of its Sage Voices initiative. “Why not empower your employees to tell your story?” she asked delegates. “People trust people. Employees are trusted, they’re credible, authentic, and will only share content they feel passionate about.”

Plenty of the conversation also focused on how brands needed to engage. As Sean Adams, social media manager at the BBC put it, brands being able to hyperpersonalise their offerings and consumers wanting it are two different things. Speaking prior to the event, Grad Conn, CXMO at Sprinklr, put it in similar terms. “Stories like that… listening to your customers and what they’re really saying… not what they’re trying to make you think they want to say,” he said. “What they’re really saying, listening to that, and then using it, leveraging it, can create massive value for organisations.”

This was just the tip of the iceberg. Simon Miles, global customer director at Coca-Cola, explored the definition of a CX strategy and the collision of previously disparate worlds, from online to instore, to robotics, to voice campaigns. Emerging technologies were also the order of the day; John Watton of Adobe discussed the use of AI and its effect on ‘humanising’ the customer experience, while on the same subject Dr. Elaine Rodrigo, chief strategy and insights officer at Danone, outlined a robotics case study.

Onwards to New York, Amsterdam and beyond…

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made #DMWF Global such a success, from attendees to speakers and sponsors alike. Our next stop in 2019 is #DMWF North America at the Brooklyn Expo, New York on 11- 12 September 2019, where we will have a brand-new agenda covering Influencer, content, social media, digital strategy, digital transformation data and disruptive tech, and much more.

Find out more about #DMWF North America and how you can join more than 1000 senior managers from global brands by visiting here