Recap: ONWARD18: The Digital Consumer Experience

Executives from top brands and technology vendors shared their thoughts on salient trends affecting the mar-tech and ad-tech industries.

For an event held on Broadway, it was only fitting that the show would go on.

Despite a security issue at the Time Warner Center, on October 24, 2018, Yext’s three-day ONWARD18 Conference kept moving forward at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Executives from top brands and technology vendors, including Verve’s own Mark Fruehan, shared their thoughts on salient trends affecting the mar-tech and ad-tech industries.

Read on for a summary of selected panels and breakout sessions.

Sparking a Culture of Innovation

Inspire Brands’ CEO Paul Brown said every innovative marketer needs technology with a clearly defined purpose and a clearly defined value to the customer. “Never confuse yourself with the customer,” he said. Marketers additionally need input from partners, Brown said, and leaders will think beyond their technology’s current applications. Brown also noted the importance of an end-to-end solution — highlighting the roles of mobile apps and loyalty programs — as key to interfacing with customers.

Making Moments That Matter

According to Crystale Dunn Lapham, T-Mobile’s vice president of Digital Commerce, digital transformation demands that companies become nimble enough to meet customer needs. This drives a shift toward personalized, data-driven marketing and also highlights the value of gathering customer feedback on “listening posts” such as social-media channels. A customer-centric mindset may also lead brands to create Customer Experience Manager roles and to cross-train staff on UX and digital-marketing skills.     

Achieving World-Class Growth In the Digital Age

Verve took the stage in this panel discussion featuring Mark Fruehan, executive vice president of Enterprise and Platforms. Noting that “everything in our lives is connected,” Fruehan said brands must be able to market themselves around consumers in their local market.

“Customers are looking for brands that they can trust within their area,” he said. “Brands want to be able to engage with customers’ mobile devices on that turf, so we have to give them the tools to do it.” Fruehan added that small and medium-sized businesses have the opportunity to participate in programmatic platforms to achieve scale as well — the programmatic space is no longer the territory of giant organizations alone.

Takeaway: ONWARD18

Each of the above highlighted discussions dealt with the importance of enhancing the consumer experience through digital marketing. As Mark Fruehan said, “We are making much better decisions to hone-in on the identity of a customer that has a propensity to interact with marketers.”

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