Digital Summit Phoenix – part 1

Digital Summit Phoenix – part 1

Digital-Summit-signI was thrilled over the past two days to attend the first annual Digital Summit Phoenix. Lots of very smart people and shared insights about content marketing, social media, email, mobile and much more.

Collect a thousand eager tech-savvy people and you inevitably find conversations about the latest trends, and prognostications about the future of digital marketing. “Convergence” was a hot buzzword as panelists predicted the eventual merging of wallets, keys, phones and personal computing devices.

Sometime soon, as you walk through the grocery store (or potentially any retailer) your smartphone will be busy collecting coupons on products you’ve not yet bought. As your purchasing history becomes better integrated with the digital store environment, those coupons will become better targeted to your personal needs. If you don’t buy baby products, you won’t get coupons for diapers. But as a light beer consumer, discounts for alternative brands will be texted to you as you walk the aisle along with inducements for joining light beer enthusiast communities and other relevant messaging.

An interesting dilemma was discussed regarding the range of demographics that digital marketers will want to influence. Millenials will embrace the check out counter as they pay by simply touching their phone screen or holding it up to a scanner. But what of boomers who want to swipe their beloved credit card, or even write a paper check? Somehow, retailers must accommodate both demographics – both preferences.

Alternative payment systems like Square¬†were discussed. One panelist who uses Square for purchases made the interesting comment that it seems to lack the finality he’s used to at the end of the payment process. He misses the traditional handoff of the receipt and thank you – the finality of the transaction. Appearing to be in his thirties, he suggested that he was showing his age. Hmmm… I’m really feeling old. It signaled to me that these new frontiers of commerce will take some getting used to by those who didn’t grow up with these digital payment alternatives.

Another topic regarding new technologies is the fading line between one’s personal and professional on-line lives. As politicians and celebrities are frequently reminded, the mic is always on. The implication for the rest of us is that the content we post in our personal Facebook wall or Twitter feed or YouTube channel is indelibly written on us like it or not. Don’t think you can freely express your political or other personal views and have them remain, well, personal. We are all creating digital personas containing all our tweets, comments, videos, photos, and pins. Assume prospective employers, lenders, clients, and romantic partners will make judgements as they see you in all your digital glory.

In part 2, I’ll talk about one of the hottest topics of the conference: content marketing.