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Ahead of our upcoming Forward Marketing Summit Sydney 2020 on 26-27 February, we’ve caught-up with Virge Nielsen, Head of Digital Marketing Solutions at Accent Group Limited to talk digital marketing, Martech stack integration, her talk at the summit and much more...
Want to hear more from Virge? She's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.
What have been some of the biggest changes you have seen in digital marketing strategy within the retail footwear industry over the past year? How has this benefitted the industry?
I would summarise the latest direction in digital strategy as “human centric automation” – this covers re-invigorated focus on customer journey as well as optimised approach for utilising talent within organisations. More and more companies focus their efforts on building smart flows of automation to connect with their customers at the right time with relevant messaging; targeting built based on customer engagement and leveraging the capabilities of AI. This brings new levels of maturity in digital marketing and hopefully increases the capacity for developing engaging experiences for our customers.
In your opinion, how important is the increasing Martech stack integration? In what ways does it improve digital marketing output?
Bridget van Kranlingen from IBM said some years ago: “The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.” There is no question that customers’ expectations are high today, and they are only going to rise higher. Just pause to think how your own perceptions have changed over time and you know it is true. Therefore, we all strive to provide our customers the best experience possible across the many touchpoints they may choose to interact with us.
Integrating Martech stack of solutions with your organisation’s data points enables the curation of great customer journeys and orchestration of experience per individual customer on the fly. Emphasis being here on the word “integrating” – stack of solutions by itself is typically not going to achieve as much as it does when it is informed by the data unique to your organisation.
What advice would you give to digital marketing strategists looking to implement more Martech stack integration into their strategy?
The word “stack” implies a collection of solutions or platforms that at least to some extent talk to each other. Some organisations pick and choose elements to create their own stack while others prefer to go with a vendor (or several) who provides a whole selection. In which case, it is good to evaluate whether it is necessary for your organisation to implement all the solutions in the stack or can some of them be left for consideration at a later date. That way the effort can be focussed on parts that drive the most value realisation for your objectives.
It is also important to learn upfront what each of the elements in the stack can do (beyond the sales pitch level) – what kind of data it holds (if any), what kind of data it passes to other stack solutions, how it technically integrates with your organisation’s data points and how the ongoing pricing is calculated in consideration to the expected capacity of usage.
What are the main challenges to your role this year?

Working in a retail group that operates across online and in-store, the biggest challenge is finding intelligent ways to connect the customer experience across these two environments. Customers may interact with our brands online during the morning commute, try on a few shoes during lunch break, abandon their in store browse to return to work, go back to shop online on the way home, abandon their cart, next morning receive a voucher by SMS and walk into a different store to buy the pair of shoes in their online cart. While we are able to connect many of those touch points, there are still parts we would like to improve to enable a smooth customer journey across the different touchpoints.
What do you think our delegates can take away from your participation in the upcoming Forward Marketing Summit in Sydney?
I am sure that all the speakers and delegates at Forward Marketing Summit have a wealth of knowledge to share. Everyone’s experience is different in the field and it is refreshing to hear how others have approached similar challenges. I hope I will be able to share some quite practical tips on the processes for implementing and operationalising Martech solutions.
Accent Group is a regional leader in the retail and distribution of performance and lifestyle footwear, with 500 stores across 10 different retail banners across Australia and New Zealand. In this environment of multiple retail divisions, we are in a continuous state of implementation and rollout of Martech and other technology to improve the experiences of our customers. To be able to operationalise the platforms relatively quickly and drive value realisation we develop processes of collaboration throughout the implementation and make sure to integrate learnings of past experiences into planning new projects.
Want to hear more from Virge? She's one of the many speakers at our upcoming Sydney summit on 26-27 February – see how you can be part of it here.

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