Thursday, September 28, 2017

Digital Summit Detroit 2017: Fragmentation, Confusion, and Opportunity

Tom Keuten, Managing Director, Detroit

Earlier this month, Rightpoint sponsored Digital Summit Detroit. There were 1,400 people there all with some interest in Digital. I was amazed at the variety of companies, agencies, technology providers, and roles, that came together to learn and share. I took away three distinct perspectives:

1. The Digital Market is Fragmented

Unlike almost any market I’ve seen lately, the digital marketing market is fragmented. According to, there are 5,381 distinct technology products that marketers can purchase in order to “better connect” with their customers. While at the conference, speakers covered a diverse range of topics like search engine optimization (SEO), marketing automation, social media, and content management. We learned about building progressive web apps, mapping your digital footprint, developing a community platform, mastering email marketing, and leveraging UX techniques. And we heard over again, whatever you do, it’s all about personalization – if you don’t deliver a personal experience, you’re behind.

2. The Fragmentation is Creating Confusion

With this Fragmentation, I had several discussions with people at our table, covering some basic questions like:

  • Where do I start?
  • Where should I invest?
  • Who’s role is it?

The people I had these conversations with included content strategists, public relations specialists, user experience architects, designers, directors of marketing, directors of digital marketing and CEO’s. They came from traditional retailers, online businesses, hospitals with a wide variety of stakeholders, and business services companies that sell to other businesses.

Leaders of these companies have so many options, so many ideas, and so many people approaching them with the next best thing, which makes it difficult to figure out where to focus, where to invest, and when to bet on the horse that will ultimately drive your goal – more customer engagement and more profitable growth. Sometimes it is as simple as keeping up with competitors (my web site looks terrible, there’s looks awesome – I think it’s time for a refresh, or my competitor is tweeting, so I should too).  Sometimes you want to leapfrog your competitors and jump ahead, knowing it will change the way you do business. But where do you start?

3. With Fragmentation and Confusion Comes Opportunity

“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.” – Isaac Newton

Given the state of confusion based on the fragmentation, I was glad that I was able to listen to my colleague Brandon Rozelle’s session during Digital Summit Detroit. I really appreciated Brandon’s because he helped cut through all of the confusion. Companies that are customer centric and put their customers at the center of all of their multi-channel touchpoints are the ones that will ultimately make better investments and reap more rewards. I love the idea of really understanding who your customers are, what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. Companies that have this intimate knowledge are able to create frameworks and make better decisions about how and when to engage customers. Then they can go look for tech to deliver what they need. Bottom line – do your homework, know your customers, and then decide how to best serve them. I’m sure whatever role you play - if you do this, you’ll go far.

Explore our Digital Strategy capabilities and learn how we can help you with your customer experience strategy.

Tom Keuten is a Regional Sales Director at Rightpoint. Follow Tom on Twitter and LinkedIn.