With digital and mobile communications technology evolving at the speed of a swipe or click, marketers must be smarter, faster and more efficient than ever. They must also figure out how to attract and retain the right kind of consumer – and cater to increasingly fickle demographics.

Evan Cohen, Director of East Coast Markets at Lyft, on marketing tech

Evan Cohen, Director of East Coast Markets at Lyft

At Rakuten Marketing’s inaugural Experience event held in New York City in early November, a panel of leading figures from the digital marketing sphere shared advice and thoughts on how business owners can navigate this challenging landscape:

Don’t limit digital business to digital marketing

Evan Cohen, Director of East Coast Markets at Lyft, explained that even though “we live in such a digital world, we’ve found that a blend of digital and traditional marketing works best.” For Lyft, that means using radio ads, billboards, subway advertising, bus stop signs and even television, all of which Cohen declared to be “dependable, smart models.” The key, he said, is “learning to optimize and focus (those activities) along with existing digital advertising tools.”

Manning Field, Chief Commercial Officer of Acorns, on marketing tech

Manning Field, Chief Commercial Officer of Acorns

Shop around on social media

Manning Field, Chief Commercial Officer of Acorns, said most of their 1.3 million users have specific problems that need solving, so tend to reach out on social media to peer groups for solutions. That social networking represents an opportunity for Acorns to interact. Still, Field said, it’s important for marketers to be open to a wide variety of channels. He said engagement and results on Twitter had plateaued for Acorns at a certain point and that as Facebook marketing becomes more expensive, his company will have to find new methods to connect – on Snapchat, perhaps.

David Hu, VP of Engineering & Strategy at Dexter on marketing tech

David Hu, VP of Engineering & Strategy at Dexter

Think before investing in chatbots

David Hu, VP of Engineering & Strategy at Dexter, was highly enthusiastic about the future of chatbots, but he cautioned against the overzealousness that tends to come with emerging technologies. He recommended that before investing heavily in automation processes such as chatbots, business owners should gain a thorough understanding of their needs and the kinds of products that might suit them.

Scott Nelson, Head of North America for Viber on marketing tech

Scott Nelson, Head of North America at Viber

Be culturally relevant

If relying on digital marketing doesn’t quite garner the desired results, consider other options, or a complementary approach. So advises Scott Nelson, Head of North America at Viber, who went on to describe the company’s brand exposure activities at events such as NBA All-Star games, Art Basel and Fashion Week. With these initiatives, Viber puts its brand in front of tastemakers and potential users and clients.

Brian Stempeck, Chief Client Officer at The Trade Desk on marketing tech

Brian Stempeck, Chief Client Officer at The Trade Desk

Use the data you have

There’s a lot of pressure to jump on every new trend, but the chances are you already have a lot of untapped customer information at your fingertips. Brian Stempeck, Chief Client Officer at The Trade Desk, recommends analyzing data you’ve already collected but might have forgotten about. You may already have the answers you’re chasing.

Alex Konrad, a tech-specialist staff writer at Forbes, on marketing tech

Alex Konrad, Staff Writer at Forbes

Or perhaps jump on a trend

When panel moderator Alex Konrad, a tech-specialist staff writer at Forbes, asked if the panelists had adopted any strategies involving the Pokemon Go craze this past summer, there was a palpable sense of expectation from the audience. It was clearly an issue many had wrestled with themselves. It turned out there was a range of answers from the panelists, but on one thing they could all definitely agree: if a cultural trend interests your target demographic, it’s worth aligning with, or at least exploring.

Make it your own

Whichever of these methods inspires you most, find a way to personalize it to best suit your business and needs. What works well for a tech company might not mesh with the ethos of a consumer goods manufacturer – and vice versa. Study the trends, know your needs and plan and implement accordingly.


Read more posts from the Rakuten Marketing Experience Conference here and watch this video for more insights from the “Emerging tech and the future of reaching consumers” panel: