media update’s Adam Wakefield was at Accenture’s Liquid Studio in Johannesburg to hear why speed in today’s economy is key, and what trends will shape the near future.

Experience is a differentiator between agencies 

The event, hosted in collaboration with Popimedia, saw attendees first addressed by Ray Connell, digital marketing lead at Accenture Interactive, and Rory Moore, innovation lead for Accenture and Liquid Studio director.

Connell began his talk by highlighting the importance of being able to implement technology, instead of merely having it. Accenture Interactive are strong advocates of technology, with the agency having four pillars or capabilities:
  • Content;
  • Commerce;
  • Design; and
  • Marketing;
Connell said Accenture Interactive positions itself as an “experience agency”, where they can “carve out the niche of experience”, with technology key in their approach.

“We define experience as any use case that touches a brand,” Connell said.

“We want to take ownership of that entire journey.”

The current marketplace saw competition coming from known rivals, and companies moving into new markets and sectors. The question Connell posed was: “How do you stay relevant in a world with competitors coming in from all sides? How do you increase revenue in this changing environment? How do we craft experiences that keep customers using your product, tweeting it, selfie-ing it?”

The experience that the customer interacts requires an architecture, a “backstage”. Data management and structuring data correctly plays an important role in laying that foundation, because if your data is not structured correctly, it might not be possible to measure or hit KPIs.

Five key trends shaping the market and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

After Connell, Moore first spoke about five key trends that are shaping the marketing, being:
  • Citizen artificial intelligence (AI): “Jobs will change, jobs will be lost. How do we impose moral integrity on AI? Sometimes, AI learns from us and it learns badly”.
  • Extended reality: Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the spectrum between these technologies is where brands and marketing is occurring because it is a “whole new user experience”;
  • Data veracity: This is key to trust. There is too much information available today, so how do you know which information is trustworthy?
  • Frictionless business: Being built to partner at scale; and
  • Internet of thinking: Creating intelligent distributed systems;
Moore said the world is changing quickly, and what we used to believe was not possible is now possible. It is those types of beliefs that are holding people back;

“We know the sun will rise. We also know that the world is round. We used to know that the world is flat and we believed. The first people who said the world was round, were they celebrated? They were stoned,” Moore said.

He stressed the importance of acting quickly on a good idea, because in the past we were taught to hold onto a good idea, don’t tell anyone, and when ready, release it. Today, you cannot afford to wait because even if you had the idea first, it is likely someone else will claim that space.

Quoting Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, Moore said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late”.

Another trend that is going to impact on us today, according to Moore, is blockchain. Beyond the public’s familiarity with blockchain via Bitcoin, Moore said it is going to alter the supply chain landscape because it decreases costs and increases transparency. VR, in comparison, is about reducing distance.

After Moore finished speaking, attendees were then given a demonstration of some of the different technologies Moore had referred to, including AR, VR, and blockchain.

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The changing media environment has seen the mobile phone become an important media device, and marketers need to adapt. Read more in our article, Succeeding online is placing audiences, mobile, and video first.