Digital Opportunities for 2014: Extraordinary Digital Thinkers, Part 2

March 4, 2014

by Bruce Nickson

At the February 20th BCAMA Evening Speaker Series event, Graphically Speaking’s Darrell Hadden, one of The League of Extraordinary Digital Thinkers, was up next…

Darrell began on the subject of Digital Marketing Technologist, an idea he didn’t seem too enamoured with, saying: “the difficulty with digital people and engineers is that they want you to know they’re the smartest people in the room – which leads to technology people telling marketing people how to market.” This from one of Vancouver’s senior digital marketing leaders.

Darrell suggested that there are three main digital opportunities for 2014:

  1. Customer Experience
  2. Content Strategy
  3. Personalization

Darrell Hadden_ BCAMA_presentation 3

Customer Experience

Especially from a B2C (business to consumer) viewpoint, one of the great companies occupying the digital space is, of course, Amazon. Darrell noted, “Their success comes from their desire to impress customers. They don’t focus on how to beat the competition – they think about what is best for their customers.” Darrell thinks the following quote fits Amazon: “Being a great company is the new brand.”

Content Strategy

Content has always been king. If you are in the B2B (business to business) world, content needs to be the centre of your focus, if it isn’t already. Content should be central to your efforts.

In 2013, 20% of B2B marketing was spent on sponsored advertising or content development. Google, of course Darrell Hadden_ BCAMA_presentation 10has introduced some game changers with Panda (aimed at downranking sites that provided poor user experperience) and Penguin (aimed at sites that are designed to increase page traffic only). More than 65% of websites were adversely affected by Penguin in particular.


Darrell recounted the following conversation with his daughter, who was planning a trip to the US. She received a text from Rogers, saying effectively, “We understand you’re going on a trip to the US soon. Would you be interested in this great roaming package?”

Daughter: “How did they figure out I was going to the US?”

Darrell: “How good a deal is it?”

Daughter: “It’s a great deal…”

Darrell: “You should buy it.”

But the question remained: how did Rogers figure out that she was about to leave for the US? The conclusion was that someone, somehow was ‘scraping’ her text messages. She was “very, very offended” by that. But she still bought the package.

And then there is disruptive technology. Darrell’s messsage here was to be constantly on the alert for it. He asks, why would you pay 600 or 700 bucks an hour for one of these:


When you could buy one of these for a couple hundred bucks:


Adapt it, add software, make it do things it wasn’t originally designed to do. The point here is: Be adaptable.

Watch this blog for Part 3 of The League of Extraordinary Digital Thinkers.

The next BCAMA event is the Breakfast Speaker Series event, the Next Generation Digital Storytelling Panel on March 27.