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Top 10 Takeaways from the 2020 Acxiom Transformation Summit

  • Mike Wagner

    Mike Wagner

    Industry Managing Director, Consumer Brands Group

Created at February 25th, 2020

Top 10 Takeaways from the 2020 Acxiom Transformation Summit

Constant change in the marketing and advertising industry has companies on the lookout for new strategies to help them overcome challenges. While certain industries such as retail are facing more disruption than others, every marketer, regardless of industry, faces the same challenge: To deliver exceptional experiences at a time when customers’ expectations – and concerns about how their personal information is used for marketing purposes – are sky high.

To help our clients navigate this rapidly evolving landscape, we hosted the Acxiom Transformation Summit in early February at the L’Auberge resort in Del Mar, California.

This exclusive event brought together Acxiom executives and more than 20 of the top marketing and IT executives across the retail, travel, entertainment and automotive industries for three days of networking, discussion and learning.

A theme of every session was that having the right data is key to business success and the right data strategy matters more than ever. That said, most brands still have some work to do to improve their data strategy roadmap. In fact, two of three businesses either don’t have a data strategy or theirs is out of date. 

Clearly, there’s never been a better time to be a data-driven business, but brands must transition from collecting as much data as possible to focusing on the right data to fuel excellent customer experiences and ethically deliver business impact at scale.

Here are the 10 top takeaways from our exclusive executive event:

1. Customer experience is still important

Did you know that 80 percent of customers want personalized experiences? We must take this into account when formulating our data strategy approach. From a data perspective, less is more. Brands need to focus on the right data to provide better customer experiences.  Just a one-point increase in customer experience satisfaction has significant revenue implications and potential upside.

2. Having a customer experience vision is key

Customer experience is defined as how customers perceive their interaction with a brand or organization. This happens across the entire customer lifecycle, but the phase between buy and use is when most issues happens. It is our job as marketers to understand our customers across channels and devices and to tailor engagements to reach them with the right message at the right time in a contextually relevant manner.

Rick Parrish, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, gave a wonderful presentation about unraveling the complexity of customer experience. Rick stressed the importance for companies to have a customer experience vision that is authentic, inspiring and mobilizing.

3. The three E’s of customer experience

Rick also discussed the three E’s of customer experience: Effectiveness, Ease and Emotion. Of these three factors, the most critical is emotion.

4. Best practices for improving your customer experience journey

So how can you start improving your customer experience journey? Rick provides this advice:

  • Model customer-centric behavior in your own work.
  • Recognize behind-the-scenes employees for contributing to a great customer experience.
  • Ask one question every time – How will this affect the customer experience?

5. The importance of digital responsibility

Data and technology must be at the center of the customer experience strategy. We live in a world that is data-fueled, algorithmically driven and tech-enabled. This is why having a data strategy is so important. But just as important is being digitally responsible.

Sheila Colclasure, senior vice president of global digital responsibility and public policy at Kinesso, led a presentation about the importance of digital responsibility including things like security, data ethics, ethical AI and accountable technology. The way we handle these issues helps build trust with our customers. Unfortunately, we have entered the “age of reckoning,” where there is a trust deficit. Companies need to do the right thing for the consumer, which will lead to the right thing for the brand.

6. Trust is essential to business success

Trust is essential to business success. Customers are twice as likely to buy a new product, stay loyal, advocate for your brand and defend your brand if they trust your brand. Integrity is good business practice, and privacy is a strategic business issue. You must have a demonstrable accountability with data-tech governance.

7. The power of personalization

The customer journey is complex, and they expect brands to know and understand them by providing a seamless and relevant customer experience. The race for relevance is going strong. And relevance is key to real-time personalization and delivering an effective customer experience.

Meredith Albertson, vice president of marketing at Tealium, and Rimma Kats, executive editor at eMarketer, were on a panel discussing the power of personalization. They noted that 80 percent of consumers say they want a personally relevant experience in real time, and 90 percent of brands say they are working on it. Yet only 20 percent of consumers feel like their experience is personalized or relevant. In fact, 44 percent of consumers say they would switch brands for a more personally relevant experience. In an era of information overload and channel proliferation, consumers appreciate brands that give them relevant signals rather than noise.

8. Data is key for real-time personalization

Real-time personalization takes a data-first mentality because it is about delivering the right content and the right experience at the right time. Data is the key to knowing who the customer is and creating meaningful and relevant interactions at scale between valuable consumers and the brands they love.

9. Engaging mobile moments matter

Advances in mobile communications continue to multiply, giving businesses an unprecedented opportunity to engage with consumers any time, any place. With mobile now driving 70 percent of all web traffic, adults in the United States spend more time using their mobile devices than they spend watching TV. This information is very helpful when creating a data strategy for your business.

Jennifer Hobbs, vice president of strategic growth at Vibes, gave a great presentation about engaging mobile moments. She informed us that mobile is where the customer is, and mobile is becoming richer in terms of media, images and functions as the technology advances.

10. Best practices for engaging mobile moments

So, how can you win with engaging mobile moments now?

  • Understand consumer trends and recognize your customers’ specific needs during their buying journey.
  • Engage your consumers through more channels: SMS, Push, Facebook Messenger, etc. to learn from initial interactions.
  • Segmentation is key. Deliver personalized and targeted messaging through the consumer’s preferred communication channel.


11. Your marketing needs to keep up with the changing needs of diversity

The demographics of the United States market have shifted and show an increase in diversity for the younger generations. Companies need to be aware of this and account for it in building their teams. The ways we design and implement marketing to a more diverse population is becoming more critical to business success.

Getting it right requires a new marketing playbook that recognizes individuals’ differences and aligns with their values. One aspect of this new playbook is having more diverse data for your marketing teams to use.

So, where do we start?

  • Recognize that bias naturally exists.
  • Become more aware and observant about when bias is likely to occur.
  • Embrace diversity intentionality in the work you are doing every day.

Having the right data strategy can help your business grow this year. The insights from this summit will help our clients transform their challenges into opportunities so they can continue delivering amazing customer experiences and win in the marketplace.