I recently attended Gartner’s Customer 360 Summit in San Diego. For those who haven’t been there, the event covers new strategies and technologies that are enabling organizations to better understand and engage their customers, build loyalty and grow the business. I have to say, the event was engaging and truly focused on sharing knowledge and best practices. My takeaways are below:
Innovation lies in the grey area between chaos and order
GartnerCRM 2013 featured a surprisingly fresh guest keynote: “The Art of Vision” by Eric Wahl, described as a graffiti artist, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist… Initially I wondered what someone like Eric could bring to the table at a business conference. Besides a high entertainment factor (Eric’s talent stood out through a Steve Jobs portrait crafted on stage), Eric was also inspirational, forcing everyone to think outside the box (where’s the box?) and pushing us to be creative. In fact, here’s an infographic done by the artist himself with some key takeaways from the event:
Understand. Engage. Deliver
The event’s opening keynote showcased the three protagonists that drive the ultimate customer experience: Understand. Engage. Deliver. Which one is more important? “Understand” swept away the biggest number of votes from the audience, but take a moment and think what would really be the deal maker for your company! One thing is for sure: customer experience is a major differentiator in today’s highly competitive world. According to Gene Alvarez, Gartner’s VP Distinguished Analyst and Conference Chair, e-commerce is a key part of that customer experience. Luckily, business leaders of the world see e-commerce as a top investment priority. Alvarez also stressed that driving change and preparing for the future of e-commerce is a cross-layer process between systems of record (well understood, tightly controlled – example: order management, ERP systems), systems of differentiation (example: commerce engine, customer service) and systems of innovation (highly flexible – example: social community).
B2B meets B2C
A session by Chris Fletcher, Research Director at Gartner, validated of what we see every day in software & Cloud services: B2B and B2C learn from each other when it comes to how they reach customers, or organize their internal processes to support marketing and sales. We’re on the same page here: B2B and B2C absolutely have to learn from each other, as consumers are savvy purchasers who respond to sophisticated marketing and sales campaigns previously reserved for corporate clients while businesses make purchasing decisions 24/7 to experiment and put ideas into practice quickly, influenced by personal, professional and social networks. At Avangate we call this “convergence” between B2B and B2C “B2i” – business to individual – and you’ll see more of this concept mentioned in our articles, as we acknowledge this key market shift. We also see a lot of growth in digital subscriptions for both B2B and B2C, another key point mentioned at the Gartner event, so we’ll hopefully see this subject covered more by research going forward.
What to do on Monday
The title of Gartner’s ending keynote was simply this: What to do on Monday. The main point of the keynote was to force people to think about the event’s key lessons and understand the why, what and how for their own companies. This is a great place to start, what does your Monday bring along?
P.S. Speaking of innovation, it was exciting to see our client Metaio, a leader in augmented reality technology, mentioned by Gartner’s Gene Alvarez as an example in “A vision for e-commerce – trends that will shape your strategy” (see screenshot below) – junaio is Metaio’s Augmented Reality browser for 3G and 4G mobile devices). Well done, Metaio!