The first day of Acquia Engage seemed like it was going to be tough to top, but Day 2 was not about to be outdone. The shorter of the two days, the second day of Engage is usually the more relaxed of the two but this year, the Day 1 excitement carried over.
Day 2 seemed to be easing us back into conference life with a fireside chat between Acquia CEO Tom Erickson and Eric Black of NBC Sports. The two have known each other for quite some time and there was an obvious rapport. Tom's questions and Eric's insights on how digital has fundamentally changed how we view sports, including, ahem, massive global competitions, intrigued the room.
The London Games were a turning point for NBC Sports. That was the first year they decided to stream them online. While continuing to improve things like the two-screen experience and personalization, Eric's biggest concern is always scale. How do you adequately prepare for massive traffic spikes, in which site traffic can go from few viewers to millions when an event is about to begin?
Interestingly, a lot of the ways NBC Sports has learned to deal with digital live event challenges was by looking how traditional broadcast deals with precautions and redundancies. But when pressed to reveal what goes on behind-the-scenes, Eric was tight-lipped. The whole point is for NBC Sports to handle it without the audience ever knowing there was a hiccup.
Day 2 was also a big day for our partners. The first of the partner general session presentations was from MRM / McCann on the ever-popular topic of content and commerce. In their presentation, they walked the audience through the foundation of a solid content program, including team alignment, clear business goals, and not just earning customer trust but maintaining it.
One of the most interesting takeaways for me, as a content marketer, was convergence of B2B and B2C content. As Libby noted, "They are the same, but different." With a thoughtful content strategy in place, you can optimize your content for both B2B and B2C without creating more work.
Being able to bridge the content and commerce gap has never been more important. By 2020, B2B e-commerce sales are projected to reach 6.7 trillion and $523 billion for B2C. The average B2B conversion rate is 10 percent where B2C is 3 percent. Seventy-five percent of B2B buyers are influenced by social versus 90 percent of B2C shoppers.
So what does that mean? The momentum of B2B is increasing, bringing content and commerce closer together.
Wednesday morning's general session wrapped up with an amazing keynote from author and New York University professor Scott Galloway.
The theme of the keynote centered around the topic of his latest book "The Four," which examines how four technology companies are dominating the planet: Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google. Rather than try to summarize his presentation, that was equal parts fascinating and depressing, here are some highlights:
We pray to a modern, man-made god known as Google.
- Want to live to be 100? Here are the three factors that can make that possible, in order: genetics, lifestyle and the No. 1 reason? How many people you love. The more people you care for, the more likely you are to hit triple digits.
- The reason we love Amazon so much, and why we feel the need to have so much stuff, is because it's ingrained into us for survival. Too little used to mean starvation and death so now we massively overcompensated.
- Digital marketing has grown 103 percent solely thanks to Facebook and Google. Facebook has more active users than the population of China.
- Apple has pulled off the impossible -- simultaneously being a low-cost producer for a premium price product. It's like having Ferrari's margin with Toyota's supply chain. It has more cash on hand than the gross domestic product of Denmark
- Amazon is a force to be reckoned with because it has the ability to infiltrate any industry. It is a major player if not THE major player in commerce and cloud, but its massive research and development budget lets the company try its hand at any industry -- most recently, groceries and digital marketing. Netflix is already on high alert and if it goes after sports media, it could be devastating networks.
- We used to source the greatest minds from all over the world to solve humanity's biggest challenges. There was the Manhattan Project and the moon landing. Now they come together to figure out the best way to sell you things. As Scott said early on in his presentation, he didn't come here with a message of hope.
After eating our feelings during lunch over the bleak prospects of the future (was that just me?) Matt Webb, chief technology officer of Mirum, kicked off the afternoon sessions with innovation. More specifically, what makes a good innovation project? Mirum's answer is to enable meaningful outcomes from customers, partners, stakeholders and society with purpose-driven innovation.
Historically, client IT teams have spent years commanding and controlling platforms. But now we are seeing multi-functioning departments building platforms that embrace modularity. Cloud technology and APIs have made this a reality and early cloud adopters are spearheading the charge into things like microservices and headless to make it all move faster.