#DriveDigital2017 in Madrid

I attended #DriveDigital2017 in Madrid which was hosted by Google and INSEAD last week. There were numerous interesting insights and actionable takeaways of which I would like to share a couple with you: How Google approaches the current state of the internet and how they support companies with insights for them to re-evaluate their strategy to position their brand and sales approach. Google’s insights on where the customers attention lies is fundamental, because the unbroken rule on how sales work is still the same: Before you can sell anything to someone, you have to gain their attention.

This translates into any given context and advertisement environment: online, offline, at events, for b2b, b2c, b2c2b – whatsoever. This will never change.

Google’s representatives Fuencisla Clemares, Cristina Pitarch, Shane Nolan, José Luis Pulpón, Ester Marinas, Ramiro Sànchez, Justus M. Mallach, Moritz Dickfield, Adolfo Fernàndez Roger Albinyana and Miguel M. Avalos showcased their approach and toolset on how to evaluate where and when to earn the customers attention whereas Joerg Niessing from INSEAD asked the right questions to trigger a different and much opener mindset for the CMOs from +20 Countries.

3 Key-Takeaways:

  1. Break established industry patterns & mindsets in favor to your audience and potential customers

Instead of aiming for the largest target audience with a new product within your industry, think about choosing the niche where you can dominate and serve your customers the way they want to be served. Choosing a smaller niche with very little to no competition does a couple things to your favor:

  1. It makes you market leader with little effort.
  2. You have the opportunity to serve your consuming audience better in order to transform them into die-hard fans who will later be your best sales representatives.
  3. The cost of entry is mostly very low (because of very little to no competition)

Sidenote: When I write about “makes you market leader with little effort” it should be clear that it still has to be an above average product with outstanding customer service. This is all about breaking patterns, becoming consumer focused internally & externally as well as moving fast, when you see opportunity.

  1. The market is there, but almost 97% of companies are missing out on opportunity

    If you’re working in a digital environment, you will most likely feel overwhelmed from time to time by the speed of how technologies, advertisement and mindsets change in todays world. I have a good, a bad and a semi-good message for you:

  2. Roughly 2-3% of todays actively operating companies haven’t even started extending their operations into a digital environment which leaves us with 97-98% of potential in a digital focused world. How awesome is that? Of course this is mostly not good for the non-adopting companies, but great for you, if you’re moving into the right direction, correct?
  3. The internet is not going away nor will the way how we do business go back to 2000. Either you’re in or you’re in the way.
  4. If you’re having trouble getting you’re page-speed from 6s to under 3s for smartphones, you’re definitely working towards the right direction.

If you’re reading this on LinkedIn, none of the bullet-points from above should be bad nor semi-good for you though 😉

Next: Analytic Insights & data tagging

  1. Analytic Insights & data tagging are the aftereffect of „big data“-hype

The whole marketing industry has been talking about it: big data. Now we have big data, but most of us are struggling with the interpretation of it. There are many techniques and I know a lot of very smart people who can find correlation between crazy data points. But if you’re starting off, here is the question you should ask and clarify: What is it, that you want to know? Name it, then re-engineer and see where you can get that data from. And when you detected the right data source, you will have to deal with data quality. Data-quality is mostly more important than quantity.

Getting the right insights is all about asking the right questions and listening, because data insights is nothing else than listening on scale!

Lastly, there still is a point I think which has not been emphasized enough during the event: analytic insights is a retro perspective view on data signals by users/customers  mostly triggered by marketing activities. Data does not predict the future. Maybe machine learning or some other fancy new technology will be able to closely predict the future based on provided data, but we aren’t there yet.


TL;DR: If there are three things you should remember from this it would be the following:

  1. Before you sell anything, you need the attention of the person you want to sell to.
  2. Analytic insights are a retroperspective view on what happened and how it performed in numbers. Analytics and „big data“ do not predict the future and should not be followed blindly. Machine learning will most likely be a great help with data to „predict“ the future, but there is one fundamental rule to marketing and advertisment: the creative will always be the variable.
  3. Analytics is nothing else than scaled listening.


Resources you should know!

Here is a list of tools provided by google to evaluate where your costumer’s attention lies and how your page performes:

  1. Google Trends: g.co/trends
  2. Market Finder: g.co/marketfinder
  3. Google Surveys: g.co/surveys
  4. Consumer Barometer: consumerbarometer.com
  5. Test My Site: g.co/testmysite

Overall, you should sign up for googles “thinkwithgoogle”-Newsletter, or just have a look at their view on relevant topics: www.thinkwithgoogle.com

We sometimes get cluttered to much in so many fancy buzzwords which I would like to sum up the #DriveDigital2017 summit in one sentence:

The #DriveDigital2017 summit showed the importance of incorporating the skill of scaled listening, asking the right questions and detecting the right time and place to provide the most valuable answer to your customer.

Let me know if you have any questions after reading this. There are many interesting details I left out but like to elaborate more if you’re interested. Also, I am happy to answer all your questions!

Last but not least: If you find this useful, feel free to share it with your friends & colleagues!