110 seconds. That’s the average time it takes to ride an elevator in a New York City high-rise according to Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of Think Big, Act Bigger and keynote speaker for The RealTime Marketing Lab, an international digital-social-online marketing event.

At the kick off session for the lab in Chicago last month, the event offered a lot more than 110 seconds to network, debate and discuss ideas about social storytelling, social word of mouth marketing, lead generation bootstrapping, advanced digital marketing and even LinkedIn B2B messaging secrets.

Event founder Bob Fine, who edited The Big Book of Social Media: Case Studies, Stories, Perspectives, created the lab as an intimate place for local marketers to share ideas without minimal travel and registration expenses. The fall tour is winding its way through nine cities in the United States and Canada, including Kansas City, Austin, Miami, Atlanta, Raleigh, N.C., Toronto, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta.

(Editor's Note: Pierre DeBois will be speaking at CMSWire's DX Summit 2015 on Nov. 3 in Chicago.)

The Innovation Imperative

Hayzlett, a best selling author and public speaker, was the CMO of Kodak from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure, he was responsible for Kodak's worldwide marketing operations including the design and implementation of all marketing strategies, investments, policies and processes, as well as brand development, corporate communications and public relations.

At the marketing lab, he offered strategic insights about innovation and on driving and delivering change.

Hayzlett attributed Kodak’s loss of market dominance to the fact that executives saw the company's purpose as a provider of film, not an “emotional technology” business as he describes it.

Kodak developed the digital camera as far back as 1975 but feared cannibalization of its film offering. That fear, combined with a too-slow entry into digital image marketplace, helped propel the company into bankruptcy.

“They did not get it. Photos are the only product that people would run back into a burning building to retrieve,” says Hayzlett.

Hayzlett went on to highlight a number of concepts from his new book. He talked about the importance for marketers to “change, adapt, or die” and to “be clock changers — change and take the initiative.” He was the first person to name a chief blogger within his organization to “organize the growing online conversation.”

Hayzlett also noted the value of authenticity and radical transparency; “By telling the truth, we are being transparent.” The occurrence of a bad tweet should not be an indicator that something is wrong with being yourself. “Your community can also understand your mistakes. If your community is yours they’ll work with it.”

He further shares that “We fail because of fear, for one reason or another. To avoid failure, you should be the chief tension officer; it’s our job to create tension — healthy tension is good.”

What's Mine Is Yours

Sean Moffitt, Managing Director of Wikibrands, a customer engagement firm, offered his take of the sharing economy. In his keynote Here Comes The Crowd Economy, he covered six characteristics that frame a crowd economy business model:

  • Getting an active crowd involved in your business model
  • Being a platform-based business
  • Disintermediating the middle man
  • Exhibiting authenticity and transparency
  • Innovation through delivering better, faster, more efficient and possibly fairer value than traditional methods
  • Providing on-demand access vs. owning the high ground of assets

Other presenters included Anne-Marie Stephen, CEO and founder of Kwolia, a retail tech advisory firm. Her presentation, The State of Connected Retail, highlighted developing digital retail trends.

The success stories emphasized that most customers want an immersive experience. Offline is replaced by omnichannel that establishes direct connection to brands.

Stephen is not alone in observing the omnichannel trend. It has appeared across various segments in recent studies. For example, eMarketer reported in its slide deck Demystifying Mobile Attribution that 58 percent of US consumers were using smartphones alongside tablets.

The point about omnichannel naturally complements Sean’s characteristics of disintermediating the middleman.

Stephen notes through examples what the end result of omnichannel means; an environment of “everywhere commerce” in which curated, customized, contextualized, personalized, and omnichannel — C3PO as Stephen coins it — reign over strategic decisions that matter for the long haul.

If you'd like to hear more about digital experience strategies, Pierre DeBois will be speaking at the DX Summit in Chicago on November 3. Find out more here.