Barry Thorn Technology for Marketing
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:13] Hello and welcome to day two of technology for marketing right here at Olympia. I am Nayoka Oware and I am here with my co – host
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:00:19] I’m Jonathan MacDonald. Hi.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:22] That is him. And we are joined by the amazing Barry Thorn, who works for Akeneo.
BARRY THORN [00:00:28] That’s great and pronounced correctly.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:31] Wonderful. Wonderful. So, Gary, tell us more about your job role and what it entails.
BARRY THORN [00:00:36] My job role, I’m head of sales for Akeneo in the UK. That’s fundamentally we’re a product information management solution. And I guess ultimately what we’re trying to do is help e-commerce businesses deliver the right customer experience through the medium of the products that deliver the right product experience, ultimately through all of the channels that the customers are interacting with them on.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:01:05] And you did a seminar yesterday that you were speaking at, I guess, and I’m sure it was an amazing success. For those viewers, the very few viewers watching who didn’t see the seminar yesterday. What did you speak about? What was the subject?
BARRY THORN [00:01:20] So I guess what I was trying to do was make the link between what we call product experience at Akeneo and customer experience. And I guess ultimately we probably all agree, right? That Customer experience is still the fundamental battleground that we’re trying to compete on. And the reason we do that is it drives business value fundamentally. Typically, customers who outperform in terms of customer experience to beat the market and beat company’s that underperform in that measure. They beat the market quite significantly so that we found 15 – 30 percent. And if you think about it in e-commerce, what really drives that experience is how you’re able to present those products and build an emotional engagement with the customers through the medium of the product. Ultimately, that’s product experience.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:02:13] Thank you, I was just about to ask what exactly you mean by product experiences. Would you like to add anything else to that?
BARRY THORN [00:02:19] Yeah so, I guess you’ve got a few trends that we or challenges that we face as professionals in the e-commerce industry. So first off, is channel proliferation, as e-commerce sites, there’s multiple marketplaces, there’s mobile apps, we need to be present on increasingly consumers, particularly with the rise of generations, Z and millennials, people are transacting, discovering products on social media channels. And we’ve got technology now driving things like voice commerce, voice systems, virtual reality. We’ve mentioned reality. We’ve got to be able to present our products in the right way for all of those channels.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:02:56] And say you’re using a load of tools to do that. What kind of tooling do you have you now integrated into your services?
BARRY THORN [00:03:03] Well, ultimately, Akeneo is a product experience management solution, and it solves for that problem of being able to present, across, all of those channels. And if you think about the fundamental challenge with getting your product experience delivered across all those channels is complexity. Most businesses are ranging thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of products. They’re managing hundreds of pieces of data to hold against those products in the dream rich descriptions and all of that. Well, that’s, that’s exhausting. Just thinking about managing that for one channel. You’re now doing that for five, 10 channels. How do you do that efficiently? And that’s where the PXM solution, the product experience management solution like Akeneo comes in. So it gives the tools to businesses to collect all of the data that have multiple sources of product data that they will have. It allows them to collaborate on enriching that and then allows them to contextualize that for the channels they’re going to go on. So in social, I mean, imagery is so crucial to be able to shop successfully on Instagram, to bring your community managers in, allowing to curate the images from a central repository distribute that on to the social media channel and drive the right experience to that customer in that context. That’s fundamentally what we need.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:04:26] Barry, Would you say that there’s a formula, one specific formula for gaining and retaining customers?
BARRY THORN [00:04:31] Oh, God, no, I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a single magic bullet, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that fundamentally consumers judge a good or bad experience based on the emotion or the positive emotional engagment they have with that, so I would say being able to tap into that emotional connection with customers is really key to driving great experiences. Now we know something like 95 percent of our decisions are made unconsciously. So we tend to decide on emotion based on the right way unconsciously. We aren’t even aware of this. How does this experience make us feel? And then we go where we justify that post that with the left brain. So, you know, it’s it’s an unconscious thing, but it’s how do we preserve it? How do we how do we allow the customers to see how those products are going to exist in their lives, how is it going to relate to their lifestyle?
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:05:31] And I have a final question because we’ve been discussing what Akeneo means and also what the logo is. Because I reckon it’s something to do with Jamiroquai. Because it looks like his hat. I’m not quite sure what your theory is.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:05:44] I thought it was a tool from a tool box.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:05:48] Right. So set our minds at ease. What does Akeneo mean and what is the logo?
BARRY THORN [00:05:53] Sadly it has nothing to do Jamiroquai and it’s nothing to do with a toolbox. Right. So we’re a French company. This symbol represents, do you know the seeds of a Dandelion clock. OK, you blow and they disseminate and that seed is called an Akene in French OK, so the founders added the ‘O’ at the end just to make their name a bit more catchy. But if you think about the challenge, we’ve just been speaking about, disseminating product information to the right channel and context. So symbolically we’re creating product information and setting it free on the internet if you like!
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:06:31] I prefer that answer to either of ours. That’s great. I really appreciate you coming on, Barry.
BARRY THORN [00:06:37] Thank you. Thank you for your time.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:39] It’s been an absolute pleasure, thank you so much. Unfortunately that’s all we have time for today. Thank you for watching. You can join the conversation by using the hashtag TFM19 and hashtag Disruptive Live, don’t go anywhere because we will be back shortly.