Hosted by Thomson Reuters on 31st May 2016

Journeys are becoming central to the online customer experience of a brand. So how can brands best shape the journeys customers take? How can they lead customers rather than follow them along paths?

Innovation in ad technology has historically focused on solving the needs of advertisers and publishers. But what happens if ad blocking technologies gain in popularity? Will advertising remain a viable business model for digital content and what impact will this have on the online customer experience?

This meeting explored the online decision journey that customers take from consideration to purchase and the role of digital advertising in that process. At the same time, we examine the extent to which users will decide the shape and future of digital advertising and the journeys they make across the proliferating array of digital platforms.

 Speakers include:

James Glaysher // Senior Manager // Deloitte Digital
There are various touch points where the marketer can impact the customer’s feelings towards the brand. Using software to assess each touch point helps make the marketer’s journey ever more accurate and relevant.

By listening on social you can identify potential customers by their intent. From that point they can be tracked onto your branded assets, onto points of data capture. This makes your marketing more personalised, whether it’s automated or done manually.

A problem with mobile and digital advertising is that retargeting has acquired a horrendous reputation. You don’t turn the volume up to the maximum every single time. Wait until you’ve got people’s permission before you market to them at full volume.

Small interactions can help establish a personal relationship with a brand, leading to purchase. But it’s only worth doing if it’s likely to be effective. There’s no point paying an agency to create an elaborate digital process if you’re not getting anything from that engagement.

Michael Smith // Digital Strategy Leader UK & Ireland // IBM 
At IBM the needs of our customers are greater than the needs of our brands. It’s about delivering value and engagement. We want to motivate buyers to come and make a purchase, as opposed to us actively going out and selling.

We start with the discovery phase, identifying the problem we’re trying to tackle. Then we’ll take people through a journey of learning, starting to provide a solution through a try-and-buy stage, finally moving on to advocacy.

The customer journey map is about aligning our assets. Which can we use to take people through the discovery phase and lead them into the learn phase? Social is involved in the early discovery phase. We encourage our experts to get out there and talk to people, spreading their leadership.

Before starting an activity like an ad banner campaign you need to know what you want to achieve. It might be to get someone to click on it or make a purchase. Or it might be some other action: watch a video, download information or sign up for a free trial. That means later you can measure the outcome.