On the Road Again: Marketing Industry Conference Recap


In this podcast, Lori, still practicing social distancing, sits in the studio by herself talking with NaviStone's Vice President of Business Development, Angie Arnspiger, on the topic of attending in-person marketing events again. Listen in as they discuss the in-person dynamic and key takeaways on what marketers are up to in 2021. 


Lori Paikin:  Hi, everyone. I hate to say it, but once again, I am alone in the studio recording the Two Gals & Some Data podcast. On the phone with me is Angie Arnspiger, NaviStone's Head of Business Development, who is here to not only talk data with me, but to talk about how you can use data to make more money. Thanks and welcome, Angie.

Angie Arnspiger:  Thanks for having me.

Lori Paikin:  Over the past three months, Angie has actually been back on the road for the first time in over a year and a half and has attended several conferences, both remote and in-person. And with so many of us having lost the ability to attend industry events and brainstorm and learn and share with our peers, I thought it would be interesting to hear from Angie who has her ear on the ground, and now her feedback on the street what exactly is the buzz with marketers today? Angie, my first question really is about attending the industry event in person. Can you talk a little bit about the experience of being back in person at an event?

Angie Arnspiger:  Yeah, absolutely. So at first it was so exciting. The energy in the room was there. Everybody was trying to navigate, talking through their mask, which is hard. It's harder than you would think because your mask falls down as you're talking and it's hard to hear people as others are talking, but navigating that, navigating the urge to want to hug and shake hands and instead do fist bumps and elbow bumps, but there was a lot of energy and I think people were just so excited to be back at it, if you will. I will say that the first industry event that we attended was in Chicago and it had a lot more attendees than I had thought it would. I think they said the attendee count was about 375, which is about half of what they normally have, but it was really fantastic.

Angie Arnspiger:  The brands themselves, I think, are more [inaudible] as far as getting back to it in front of that many people. There were a lot of brands who didn't attend, but they attended virtually. But brands that were there were excited to learn what is new in the industry and talk to the vendors who were there. So it was pretty energetic overall. And I will say it was a two and a half day event. The first day people did a great job, steering clear of others in the ballroom where the main event and general sessions were, people were leaving two or three seats in between.

Angie Arnspiger:  On the second day, I saw people starting to get a little bit closer and on the third day, you wouldn't even know that there was anything going on in the world outside of what our normal event would be. So people were a little... they were getting more relaxed as they got used to being around everybody for those two and a half days.

Lori Paikin:  You said that some people were virtual, so it was a combination event. There were some people there in-person and then others virtual. How did the event planners cater to both of those audiences?

Angie Arnspiger:  So the audience that was virtual were the brands themselves that were supposed to be on stage. So I think there was a lot of planning that would into that. So the brands thought that they would be able to attend and then as the event got closer policy within their organizations were such that they could not travel. So for a regular attendee that wasn't an option, virtual was not an option, but for those that were to present on stage, of which there were several, they were virtual.

Angie Arnspiger:  So a lot of the onstage events were case studies with a brand and then a partner of theirs. The partner of theirs would be onstage live, a vendor, a partner who facilitates, whether it's AI or augmented reality, or maybe CRM services, they would be live on stage, but their brand counterpart would be virtual and on the screen as a virtual counterpart to that presentation.

Lori Paikin:  Got it. So I just heard you mention maybe some of the topics that were shared. I heard you mention artificial intelligence and augmented reality. What were some of the key topics that were being discussed and maybe even some of your biggest takeaways?

Angie Arnspiger:  Yeah, I think the number one is something that we've known and really tried to highlight within NaviStone which is first party data. And there were a lot of discussions on how to get there. How do you leverage your first party data? I think the consensus was everybody collect a lot of data and how much of that data is meaningful and actionable, versus the data that they could be collecting that would be meaningful and actionable. So I think that the need and desire to hone in more on the first party data was absolutely top of topic for the conference itself.

Angie Arnspiger:  Then we got into, well, what other kinds of data are there and how do you augment that first party data and where can you do that? So there were a lot of discussions about declared data or zero party data, second party data, or third party data, like overlays for demographics and that kind of thing.

Angie Arnspiger:  And it was interesting because a lot of people made fun of the fact that sometimes there's so much data collected, it's [inaudible 00:05:31] that they really can't make it actionable. So I think the key theme was leverage your first party data, get to know those that are your first party consumers, get to know them in the best way you can that will make a difference in how you market to them. I think the biggest thing that stood out for me anyway was just because somebody falls into a cluster of a certain demographic, or household income, or number of kids in the household, there's a lot of differences within those households within that cluster. So you need to kind of start dividing them apart and do individualized marketing to them to make sure that it's personalized and customized to drive the biggest response for you.

Lori Paikin:  So you had mentioned zero party data, and I had heard declared data before, but I hadn't heard zero party data. And I know those two terms are now being used synonymously. So I am curious what, if anything was shared about that type of data, because as you're talking about first party data or using third party data and within any given audience of like people there really are other ways to segment that audience. And I wonder if that's where zero party data really does come in. Right? Because that's the data that the consumer is willingly sharing with the brand about their preferences and intentions and that could really enable you to segment those audiences for more refined marketing. Is that the context in which they were talking about it?

Angie Arnspiger:  Yep, absolutely. So some of the examples were in the apparel space. Being able to go through a questionnaire where the consumer or the website browser is actually providing you information because in return, they're going to get this personalized, curated marketing approach, whether it's let's use Stitch Fix as an example, they do a really good job of really honing in and understanding who you are as a consumer. Are you a working mom? Are you a professional? Do you like to be casual? Do you like to be dressed up? Whatever that is and in exchange for providing that information, you now know specifically for that consumer what they want from an apparel line and what they think is most important.

Angie Arnspiger:  And in exchange, you can now cater to them and give them recommendations and promotions, and really just products that meet their needs and are of most important to them versus just a free for all. You and I may be in the same demographic as far as, let's say household income, let's say political, let's say married with two kids, whatever that might be. So the old way of segmenting is, "Oh, okay. These two households are the same. Let's serve up a like ad to Lori and Angie." But then we find out you're a working professional and I'm a stay at home mom and there's different criteria in what we want from an apparel category as the example. So I do think that there is a lot of value in that zero party data.

Lori Paikin:  Yeah. I can actually see that zero party data really working nicely hands in hand with intent data, because with zero party data, maybe you are filling out a survey and willingly sharing what your preferences are. Intent data is essentially doing the same thing. It's more actions speak louder than words. Where are you browsing when you're on a website? And that is telling us what your preferences are different from actually declaring it, but it is the actions that you're taking that enable us to further segment as well.

Lori Paikin:  So I see that as another alongside of intent data as another way to further segment. So in talking about first party data, I know you had also mentioned just the audience first strategy and I'm curious about how you see that zero party data feeding into that audience first strategy. They sound like they go hand in hand as well.

Angie Arnspiger:  Yeah. Being able to segment in an audience first strategy, I think really puts the onus on the brand trying to drive prospects and more sales and revenue. But I think that the consumer really appreciates that because they're being talked to in a personalized one-to-one fashion. You have the ability with a audience first strategy to nurture a one-to-one personalized way through that buyer's journey. Whatever they're buying at the end of the day, you're able to nurture them. So audience first is a great way to make sure that you're personalized and you're using that information to talk to the consumer instead of in broad strokes.

Lori Paikin: Yeah, Angie, even as you're saying all that, I'm actually thinking about the differences between what we've historically referred to as personalization and what marketers are talking about today as individualization. It's really taking that concept, that notion of personalization one step further and using all of that information to really provide that individualized experience.

Angie Arnspiger:  Yeah, absolutely.

Lori Paikin:  The other thing that I heard you say earlier, you had talked about artificial intelligence and augmented reality. I think we've been talking about artificial intelligence as an industry for a long time. I'd love to hear what some of the takeaways were for augmented reality.

Angie Arnspiger:  So let me just real quick on AI, I will say it is even from a year or two ago at the last conference I attended, so I guess two years ago, I think it has really improved. So AI is pretty much in every high tech CRM that there is, you have to have AI and that AI is able to go through all this data that is collected, all the browsing behavior, all the purchasing behavior, everything to really make that individualized recommendation for the end consumer. So it's almost impossible to get through what people get through from a data perspective without AI in the backdrop. And it feels like, at least what I heard from the show is that almost every really good big brand is leveraging AI in that instance. So using artificial intelligence to really decide what are they going to buy next and to distinguish between two households that may look alike, but inside there's data points to point to what curates a individual approach for each of those households.

Lori Paikin:  So all of this data that we're talking about first party, second party, zero party, it can be paralyzing without AI to help us make sense of it.

Angie Arnspiger:  That's absolutely true. Yes.

Lori Paikin:  So tell me a little bit about augmented reality.

Angie Arnspiger:  And that's increased so much in the last couple of years as well. So with online browsing, and I think it had to as part of COVID, people being at home and shopping from home, but it is fascinating how augmented reality is being leveraged in a lot of different verticals, like beauty. In beauty, you can snap a picture of your face, put it on their site, and then you can use different colors to decide on eyeliner, eye color, cheek color, foundation color, hair color, and you can play around with all of these before you actually buy.

Angie Arnspiger:  In home decor you take a picture of the room that you are trying to buy something for whether it's vase for a table or a picture for the wall or a piece of furniture. You just take a picture and then you place these pieces that you're thinking about buying into spots so you can see what it will look like. And it's just fascinating that we're at that point where pretty much, I think all online browsing is going to have to have some portion of this. I think it's going to be expected from the consumer standpoint. If you're buying online, this is a great way to do it without any risk.

Lori Paikin:  Did you hear any of the brands talking about using QR codes?

Angie Arnspiger:  Yes. QR codes is almost a necessary thing now that you have to have again, consumers are expecting it because they've found it so easy. They've had a rough start. Nobody could really figure it out, but these days everybody has a smartphone and the technology has just gotten better. Some examples of how a QR code can really help is if you send a direct mail like we do in the direct mail retargeting world, if you send a direct mail piece, you can have a QR code that takes somebody directly back to the site and the items that they were browsing. So how easy is that? So especially at NaviStone's world where it's a retargeting strategy, we want to get somebody back to site. We want them to come back and make a purchase. We're just going to give a QR code to leave where they left off.

Angie Arnspiger: So it makes it very, very easy. The other cool thing about QR codes that I saw and talked to some people on how they were being leveraged is collecting that first party data. So having a QR code to enroll somebody into a rewards program, into a loyalty program, just to get a newsletter or to get offers and coupons, a high percent of people are filling out that information when you have a QR code that goes to a form to complete. So people, again, that zero party data, that's the great way to get it, they are willing to give information back if in exchange, you're going to give them an individualized approach to your offers and messaging.

Lori Paikin:  Angie, it is interesting you hear the expression, everything old is new again and I do think about QR codes in that same light, that there was a time when you would talk to people and they didn't know what QR codes are. And now it's just becoming such an important tactic in marketing. And in particular, I did love the application that you shared about you using QR codes on direct mail pieces and bringing people right back into that experience. And even though I didn't know that you were going to say that I really can't think of any better way to end this discussion.

Lori Paikin:  So that will do it for this episode of Two Gals & Some Data. And I can't thank you enough, Angie, for joining me today. Maybe next time we'll be live and in person. And until then, if you want to read more from us, check us out at navistone.com/blog. And if you enjoyed today's show, head over to iTunes and leave us a five star review. Thanks for listening.