Top Takeaways From the Bluecore Summit 2019

By Sarah Cascone

The Bluecore Summit 2019 brought together the world’s fastest-growing retailers and uncovered a lot about the challenges and opportunities facing brands today.

Presentations from industry leaders like Under Armour, TomboyX and Shutterfly plus insights from Forrester Research shed light on several key trends, including the importance of retail data to building compelling relationships, the need for a new class of marketing technology and the importance of breaking down organizational silos.

Here are our top takeaways from the day.

1) The age of Consumer 3.0 has arrived

We’ve reached the age of Consumer 3.0 in which shoppers are highly connected, demand a lot of choice and want convenience — and retailers must figure out how to keep pace.

Shar VanBoskirk, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester, shed light on the rise of Consumer 3.0 by highlighting three key trends:

Against this backdrop, brands and retailers must embrace a true customer obsession by putting shoppers at the center of every decision and pivoting the business as needed to regularly surprise and delight customers.

2) D2C has taken on a new meaning

To date, the term D2C, or direct to consumer, has been used to categorize digitally native vertical brands — think the Caspers, Warby Parkers and Glossiers of the world. Today, that’s changing.

As Fayez Mohamood, co-founder and CEO of Bluecore, explained, the D2C movement kicked off in response to the rise of Consumer 3.0. Now, brands that pre-date Consumer 3.0 have started to take notice and respond accordingly.

In this new world, any brand — regardless of its age or history — can become a D2C brand. That’s because the term D2C has evolved to recognize “digitally fluid” brands, or those that are investing in understanding consumer preferences to better connect with their shoppers and meet them where they are (regardless of where exactly that is).

3) Insights are only as good as the actions that follow

Going forward in the age of Consumer 3.0 and working to become a digitally fluid brand will require changing how you manage customer data. A lot has changed for consumers and the retail industry in the past 20 years, but very little has changed in terms of how marketers manage and use customer data.

To succeed going forward and get past the hurdles holding back many of today’s brands, you need technology that can connect insights to action. After all, even the best insights won’t do your brand any good if you can’t act on them to deliver compelling and relevant personalized customer experiences.

Sherene Hilal, VP of Product Marketing and Business Operations at Bluecore, broke down what it takes to activate powerful insights into customer data. Specifically, brands should look for a modern ESP that can combine customer, behavior and product data and that focuses on scale, personalization and revenue growth.

4) Personalization is hard, but the right technology to make it easier has arrived

In pursuit of the right technology to help you capitalize on the age of Consumer 3.0 and become digitally fluid by connecting insights to action, where do you go? To date, personalization has been hard. But the right technology has arrived.

Julie Sukosd, Director of Digital Performance Marketing and CRM at Under Armour, shared her experience growing a personalized marketing program. Her advice? Clearly outlining and staying focused on your goals and gaining buy-in at every level of the organization remain critical throughout the life of your program. Equally as critical is having the right martech stack in place.

Fortunately, as Max Bennett, co-founder and VP of Product at Bluecore, previewed, technology to power individual-driven personalization at every level of brands’ emails and websites has arrived. Notably, this technology not only makes it possible for marketers to get more relevant with customers and optimize for key goals, but it also removes the burden of manual workflows throughout the entire process.

5) Look for technology partners, not vendors

As you evaluate technology for your marketing program, look for more than just vendors — look for true partners.

According to Jim Hilt, President of Shutterfly, the best technology investments come when you look beyond the features and functions you need today and instead look for a partner with intellectual horsepower who can take you where you need to be long term.

Lori Gatto, VP of Marketing at TomboyX, echoed this sentiment, urging brands to look for true partners that your team can grow with as your business scales and that can grow their technology alongside your evolving needs long term.

See You Next Year!

That’s a wrap on the Bluecore Summit until 2020, but there’s plenty of learnings still to come! Check back in the coming weeks as we continue to share insights from our speakers and all of the marketers who participated in roundtable discussions.

In the meantime, check out our Bluecore Summit Annual magazine for even more advice on how you can prepare your brand to succeed in the age of Consumer 3.0.

P.S. Save the date! The Bluecore Summit will return on September 15-16, 2020 at Pier 60 in NYC.

Sarah Cascone, VP Marketing

Sarah Cascone

A metrics-driven brand marketer with 10+ years experience, Sarah has a passion for tying the human element of marketing to revenue growth. As VP of Marketing at Bluecore, Sarah’s focus is cultivating and nurturing the strong community of innovative retail leaders behind Bluecore's mission to empower brands to discover their best customers and keep them for life.