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Technology only an enabler to disrupting digital marketing: Hybris exec

PALM DESERT, CA ?  A Hybris executive at eTail West said that technology is only an enabler when it comes to connecting with consumers. The real challenge is digging into experiences.

During the ?Understanding and Optimizing The Demand Chain? keynote session, the executive discussed how mobile is increasingly being tied into a marketer's day-to-day initiatives. Additionally it is critical that marketers tie mobile with other channels, including Web, social and email.

?With all the disruption, change and innovation that is taking place within consumer products, within mobile technologies, within Web technologies, start-ups and marketplaces, what we are really faced with at this point in time is this idea that really it is the experiences that we are waiting for, not the technology,? said Brian Walker, senior vice president of strategy at Hybris, Seattle.

?Technology is just an enabler,? he said. ?At the end of the day, you?re going to need to disrupt your entire business.?

Mobile growth
Although mobile continues to grow in importance for marketers, the medium is still new. In fact, 50 percent of smartphone owners have used their device for less than a year, according to research that Mr. Walker presented.

Furthermore, 24 percent of Black Friday traffic in the United States came from mobile this past holiday.

Despite the growth, mobile is reported to represent one percent of ad spend by marketers. This shows that  marketers will need to think of how to incorporate the channel into multiple marketing mediums gojng forward.

Marketers will increasingly think about mobile-first for not only day-to-day activities but also while consumers are in a store.

?The impact is there ? there is no denying the impact and there is no denying the behavior, whether we think it is a good thing or a bad thing,? Mr. Walker said.

?The disruptions that are taking place within how customers ? whether it is consumers or business-to-business customers ? are interacting is changing dramatically,? he said.

Publishers and media brands are prime examples of how technology has impacted marketing with new revenue streams around digital downloads and subscription models.

Right now, marketers are forced to view mobile and new technologies in a tactical way instead of looking at the bigger picture, per Mr. Walker.

More than commerce
Marketers need to realize that commerce is not the ultimate goal with technology.

The conversion rate game has changed. Instead of capturing conversion rates, it is more about grabbing the attention of a consumer.

Whenever a consumer wants to take an interaction with a brand, marketers have to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity on the spot.

For example, mobile search forces businesses to bring entire enterprises to the device for quick access. Additionally, it has to be relevant and contextual.

Per Mr. Walker, contextual means looking at the type of device, location and what a business is trying to get a consumer to do to get them to convert right then.

Multichannel and omnichannel are topics that marketers have been talking about for years. However, a company?s employees may still need to be persuaded.

One of the main things that Amazon has going for it is that it is quick and easy for consumers. It is a search-driven experience that powers through the experience as quickly and reliably as possible.

?As marketers, we are competing for attention with everything that is right here on this incredible little super computer,? Mr. Walker said.

?If we think about all the money that has been spent optimizing the conversion rates, now the game has changed,? he said.

?The conversion game is not just about that check-out page anymore ? it is about the total customer relationship.?

Final Take
Brian Walker is senior vice president of strategy at Hybris, Seattle