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Victoria Greendyke - 11.21.2017

2017 Sagepath Digital Summit Debrief

Digital Transformation – Keynote Speaker

The Sagepath Digital Summit is an opportunity for digital leaders to come together to share and learn about upcoming trends in the industry. The first annual Sagepath Digital Summit opened with keynote speaker, Abir Thakurta, who discussed what digital transformation means to large and small businesses. He explained that no matter what industry you are in, the Lilliput effect is in full force. Companies like Amazon, Uber, Alibaba, Facebook, and Airbnb are disrupting long-standing industries with new digital platforms. Unlike traditional businesses, these disruptors provide exchange platforms and not products. In order to compete with these emerging business models, he explained that it’s important for companies to use bimodal transformation to make quick-win, technical and operational updates. Bimodal transformation projects help his team discover innovative opportunities to stay relevant with Haverty’s customers, industry trends and digital trends. 


Abir concluded that in order to digitally transform your business, you need to champion the following internal shifts before you can shift the experience of your customers:

  1. Embrace innovation, continuously
  2. Give rise to fearless innovators
  3. Go to the edge and back (empower the edge)
  4. Advance data science



Monetizing Digital Channels – Panelist Discussion


After Abir's insightful keynote, the panelists took the floor to discuss topics from digital transformation to monetizing traffic in digital channels. Each panelist brought viewpoints, recommendations and case studies on digitally transforming their customer experience, MarTech stack and internal team operations.


Rob Milstead (Genuine Parts Company) told us about the on-going development of his long-term digital roadmap at GPC and his plans to transform his customer and operational experiences. He reminded us that digital roadmaps should never be static documents but a plan that evolves based on industry trends, technical advances, customer needs, and operational inefficiencies. Bimodal transformation is what is driving his team's success and keeping his roadmap aspirational but achievable.


Ashish Bisaria (Customer Whisperer; Fleetcor) provided answers to our panelist questions from a customer lens and assured attendees that in order to monetize digital and in-store channels, it must start with an omni-channel customer approach. A company will only be successful if they focus on closing the gaps in the customer experience and seamlessly extending that experience into the daily lives of customers. 


Mike Schouder (Cracker Barrel) highlighted the importance of a digital transformation roadmap and what that means to his innovation team at Cracker Barrel. Not only is the roadmap an important asset, but customer data is key to his team's success. By consolidating and leveraging customer data from in-store and digital channels, his team is breaking barriers in customer engagements by building hyper-personalized experiences.


Amy Harp (RJ Reynolds) provided a unique perspective focused on driving customer engagements in an industry that is highly regulated. To be successful, Amy’s team found inspiration in the heavy regulatory standards and developed unique ways to market to their customers. By using regulation as a source of creativity, Amy empowered the Summit audience to always look for unique opportunities to convert digital traffic into sales. Even when there are technical, design, or operational limitations, a limited lens can still trigger marketing innovation.


Abir Thakurta (Haverty’s) supplemented his keynote presentation by joining the other panelists in the panel hot seat. He explained that at Haverty's, a 130+ year old enterprise, it takes time to make transformative shifts due to legacy systems and operations. Therefore, his marketing and sales teams focus on staying relevant to customers and provide personalized in-store experiences above and beyond what their customers could experience in their digital channels. Digital is a source of inspiration and research, not final conversion. The marketing team embraces this and is not necessarily worried with digital cart abandonments or bounce rates because they are in the business of in-person, experience selling. As long as digital traffic converts to in-store foot traffic, his team will continue to be successful with their core customer set.


A big thank you to all speakers, participants and attendees who joined us at Sagepath’s 2017 Digital Summit. We appreciate all of your support and look forward to another year developing digital transformation strategies and traffic monetization best practices.