3 Key takeaways from Experience Makers London

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Transformation is people-driven, not IT driven. That was one of the main messages put forward at our recent Experience Makers event in London, and it has really stuck with me since.

For the team, this was our first big foray back to live events since 2019. I missed the energy you get from sharing space with an audience.

People, trust and the power of personalisation dominated the agenda. Among the key takeaways were the importance of trust and understanding in relationships; seeing digital transformation from a people perspective, and how to maximize each of these building blocks for the desired business outcomes.

Put people at the heart of technology decisions

Asprey London’s Chief Technology Officer Aidan Connor and Save the Children’s Chief Digital Officer Linda McBain spoke candidly about the challenges they have each faced at their respective organisations.

Despite coming from two very different organisations – one a symbol of luxurious British goods and the other a charity – they spoke from similar experiences when talking about the role of people in digital transformation. The point that really resonated was that regardless of what your company does, there will always be an initial lack of trust when new tech is introduced. There will always be early and late adopters of the new.

For a premium brand like Asprey, one of the challenges came when lockdown forced an overnight transition to online shopping. Their customers needed to feel just as special and as valued as they would if they were to shop in-store.

Linda has seen the equivalent happen in the charity sector. When people part with their money for a donation, they need to see the impact it makes, and in some ways, get something in return .

To me, that makes it even more important to make sure you have the right skills and capabilities across an organisation before introducing new infrastructure into the picture. By skipping that step, you may not have a tech problem, but you’re likely to have a people problem.

Earn your customers’ trust by showing you understand them

Without solid rapport between everyone involved, digital transformation will not run smoothly. In the lead up to EML, when I was pondering over what I would speak about, I kept coming back to the building blocks of any relationship—trust and understanding. Trust is built in drops but lost in buckets. That can happen within the company structure just as it can between a brand and its customer.

My colleague Steve Allison made the very valid point that when we think about personalisation campaigns, we often think the problem is how to access the data. But the real issue is rooted in trust, or as Steve put it:

“The problem isn’t accessing your customer’s data; it’s about accessing their trust. 71% of customers have trust issues around how their data is being used and only 25% think the benefits they get from sharing their data outweigh the negatives.”

Make Transformation business-led, not IT- or marketing-led

Three Mobile experienced trust issues between marketing and technology teams during their recent business transformation. Something which Chief Information Officer Belinda Finch says the company had to work hard to change.

“It has to come from the top, with all teams and departments involved. Using Adobe Experience Manager, Our IT teams were able to hand over the tools to the right people and meant that marketers didn’t always have to through IT to make something happen. The moral of the story is, don’t run your change transformation programme from the tech department.”

There you have it. This year’s event was all about people and the various roles we play in a digital transformation. If you couldn’t attend this year’s EML, you can watch all of the sessions on demand here.