Editor’s Letter: Adweek’s Digital Transformation Playbook Focuses on Consumer and Customer Experience

And how these 2 inflection points are informing marketing

Adweek explores how brands are shifting to go with the flow of the customer journey rather than interrupt it. Adweek
Headshot of James Cooper

It’s no accident that we’re publishing the second installment of Digital Transformation Playbook in partnership with Accenture Interactive in the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In this report, we are focused on the consumer and customer experience, and the two retail inflection points are good indicators of how brands are shifting to go with the flow of the customer journey rather than interrupt it. They also represent big macro themes informing marketing, including the rise of Amazon and the converse, and largely nascent, direct-to-consumer commerce play, data-driven and utility-enabled creativity, and AI- and AR-driven activations. All this in service of the empowered and experience-focused consumer.

With these themes in mind, staff writer Marty Swant interviews David Godsman, who joined Coca-Cola almost a year ago as the beverage behemoth’s first-ever chief digital officer. In his role, Godsman is leading the brand’s consumer-first transformation through new experiments and activations around data and connected devices in order “to help customers make decisions in a more effective manner.”

In another story, contributing writer Dan Tynan does a deep dive into how artificial intelligence and virtual reality will soon converge and offer new forms of marketing—think well beyond the headset to VR/AI-enabled eyewear, cars and appliances—that are fully integrated in customer journeys. “The result will be an explosion of virtual environments that respond in a more human and compelling way,” Tynan writes. Tynan also penned the section’s Winner’s Playbook on key insights to understanding having your VR in your AI and your AI in your VR—“two great tastes that taste great together.“ (Did you get my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups reference from a millennia ago?)

One of the exciting elements of partnering with Accenture Interactive is helping unlock and amplify not only the rich data insights from within the company but also its considerable thought-leadership bench. The infographic, one of the recurring departments in each report, illustrates what impact AI has and will continue to have on marketing and customer experience. “The practical application we already see today in precision targeting, dynamic ad creation and marketing automation are just the tip of the iceberg,” Jean-Luc Chatelain, chief technology officer, Accenture Analytics, tells story desk editor Erik Wander.

And what Mark Curtis, founder and chief client officer at Fjord, Design & Innovation from Accenture Interactive, posits in his opinion piece doesn’t disappoint. Curtis asserts that modern marketers need to be able to balance digital capability­—which is receding into the background as a given reality in the brand marketing ecosystem and physical experience that is driven by consumer-centric creativity, utility and emotion—an eventuality for which they need to prepare.

As the holiday season unfolds, the consumer will interact with retail, media, commerce, branding and social media in ways that were, in many instances, unavailable to them just a year ago. Brands, if they want to succeed at evolving into the future, will be watching closely through the merriment and good cheer in order to make 2018 the year of real transformation­­—in other words, the year of the consumer.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 4, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@jcoopernyc james.cooper@adweek.com James Cooper is editorial director of Adweek.