Talking Heads: ORM’s Senior Team on Current Digital Trends

OPINION / 24th August 2017

The digital landscape is continually changing, and things evolve at a rapid pace.  Thought leader predictions given at the beginning of the year often crash and burn by spring, and are quickly replaced by the new ‘next big thing’. So, with that in mind, we thought we would take stock and do a mid-year litmus test to see what people are talking about and what is trending in our industry right now.

Here our five directors give their views:

Andy Farmer - Executive Director, Strategy

“Whilst there's quite rightly a great deal of media noise about artificial intelligence and machine learning using big data, the reality is that current capabilities still have limited practical application in many industries and organisations. More importantly the organisations themselves who would benefit are often not ready culturally or operationally to deal with these technologies. More urgently in the next two years will be the requirement for businesses to be able to integrate and interrogate their various data sets in a meaningful, compliant way, so they can practically undertake the personalisation and marketing automation programmes that are currently seen as one of the biggest business differentiators.

Digital is also going to take an increasingly important role in defining an organisation's brand proposition. With the focus firmly on customer experience and using data to create "micro-moments of delight" throughout the customer journey, what a brand is will ultimately be defined by what it does; rather than by how it may position itself or what it says it does. As this trend develops traditional brand expression and guardianship, still driven by largely offline visual artefacts and traditional branding consultancies, will increasingly become the domain of digital agencies and consultancies.”

Peter Gough - Managing Partner & Founder

“The brand is the customer experience, or the customer experience is the brand. There’s nothing else to it. You need to have everything connected, seamless and working together to deliver the best possible experience for the end user.  Pretty soon, businesses won’t be able to compete on price, it will be the customer experiences they provide that will differentiate them from the crowd.

Brands need to recognise that face to face operations and sales need to go hand in hand with digital. Customers aren’t just making purchases online, they are making them face to face or on third-party platforms too. That is why a lot of our clients are joining their customer journeys up –  as they realise that digital plays an integral part in the experience customers have with their brand.”

Keith Nation - Managing Director & CTO

“The main thing that people are doing at the moment is trying to tie up CRM to their digital properties. Traditionally CRM has been used at the back end of the digital ecosystem to define segments, which has enabled marketers to target content to specific audiences. But, these days, marketing tech has improved, CRM is now being used to personalise websites and digital destinations.  Historically, a lot of websites have been very static, they may have been ‘content managed’ but they were not ‘experience managed’.  As marketers become more au fait with experience management, they will begin to use the same principles of CRM for their websites.”

Peter Paterson - Director, Client Engagement

“The big trend at the moment is artificial intelligence (AI). Last year there was a lot of hype about virtual reality, which hasn’t materialised. Yet, with AI companies are really starting to build and add chatbots to their digital solutions. The uptake in devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home are driving this trend. Financial Services businesses are using AI to drive cost savings and to differentiate their services in a crowded marketplace. Incumbent businesses, with legacy back end systems and processes, are now competing with Fintech startups that are using AI and best-in-class-tech to engage with consumers in new and innovative ways. We’ve already seen companies like Nutmeg use algorithms to help people make investments, this trend will gather pace, as other FS companies will try to use similar tech and digital interfaces to engage with their consumers.”


Chris Scull - Director, Experience Design

“We want to empower our clients. We are focusing on teaching them how they can use their systems and data to learn more about their customers. In the past, digital deliveries were quite simple: websites were more like brochureware, with a bit of functionality that allowed users to achieve what they wanted it to achieve. But now, due to the advancement of tech, websites are very complex, and they are far more superior to the 1.0 versions produced a decade ago.

Our delivery process has been redesigned to empower our clients so they can glean the right data from their customers. We are applying CX principles to delivery, so that analysing customer behaviour and data is a more simplistic process for our clients. This way they can analyse what’s going on on their own platform without the need of hand holding from agencies.”   

Amy Creeden Amy Creeden Senior Marketing Manager Amy Creeden