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Key takeaways from my conversation with David Edelman, McKinsey Digital at the Adobe Summit 2014.

by Jerry “Doctor Spin” Silver // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Senior Digital Strategist // Spin Factory

Last week I had a chance to speak with David Edelman, McKinsey Digital, at the spectacular Adobe Summit 2014 in London.

Not only is David a Top 5 LinkedIn Influencer, but also the global co-lead at McKinsey Digital. And before that, he worked at both Digitas and Boston Consulting Group.

Of course, I had to try and tap his brain for some insights.

I asked David to quite simply give me his thoughts on three important tech trends from an organizational perspective — and three insights on how to stay on top of the digital shift.

Here’s a summary of our conversation:

Online Enterprise Trends

David EdelmanDigital Trend 1: Mobile First Strategies

Many companies are still treating their mobile strategy as an add-on when the mobile actually serves more and more as both a starting- and end point for the customer decision journey. The customer’s mobile experience is too often overlooked or setup without a solid strategy.

Many companies are still treating their mobile strategy as an add-on when the mobile actually serves more and more as both a starting- and end point for the customer decision journey. The customer’s mobile experience is too often overlooked or setup without a solid strategy.

Digital Trend 2: Advanced Search

Today, we often associate search with textual input. But emerging technologies are showing great promise when it comes to searching for images, sound, and location. As algorithms get even more sophisticated, the search systems will be more potent when it comes to predicting and understanding what the customer is searching for.

Digital Trend 3: Machine-Learning

Organisations must not only harvest customer data but also, be able to detect patterns and to leverage predictive modeling on a massive scale. David predicts that running tests continuously on all aspects of business will be crucial for successful enterprises.

Digital Transformation Insights

Digital Insight 1: Massive-Scale Testing

Testing is extremely important in managing the shift to digital. David Edelman advises his clients to allocate 20% of digital budgets for test programs on a massive scale. You beat your competitors in the digital game by constantly evolving your business iteratively — based on real customer data analysis.

Digital Insight 2: The Multi-Channel Customer Journey.

Organizations must find ways to keep tabs on their customers across channels to give them a coherent and efficient experience as they form their opinions and make their decisions. This transition doesn’t have to take all that long to make since software companies like Adobe are developing tools to track the customer decision journey online, especially the transition between mobile and other channels.

Digital Insight 3: Aligning the Leadership

A digital first strategy requires a committed leadership. Digital isn’t just more, it’s different. And this is something the C-level must get behind. Putting digital on top of the agenda shouldn’t be a big step for leaders of today and now is the time to really start unlocking the potential of the digital shift.

Were you at the Adobe Summit 2014? Please share your insights from the conference in the comment section.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.


Doctor Spin’s comment policy:
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Reader reactions:

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Elia Morling

Jerry, that does sound like a rewarding conference visit! The multi-channel customer journey, and leadership are both valid points. However “the testing” is the real trend and shift from my perspective.

I actually think 20% sounds very low. With a data-driven hypothesis driven approach, and a growth hacker mindset, this could be as high as 100%. Depending on where you draw the “testing” line of course.

A great testing routine is, regularly:
1) collect & analyze your data as well as KPI. Answer the ‘why’ question
2) select one KPI that will be the primary focus
3) design and run growth hacks that you presume will have an impact
4) document all hacks and what you learnt
5) loop around

Reply
Doktor Spinn

I think this, with your added comment on the testing Elia, should be a real eye-opener for many brands. I recommend testing, of course I do, but not at such high levels. So I’m definitely taking this to heart. But I know of so many communicators who doesn’t have testing as a tool in their arsenal. Sure, they do evaluations, but that’s not really the same thing as constantly running splits on your digital efforts.

So glad to have you commenting and sharing your wisdom here on the blog Elia, it really means the world to me!