Direct Line Blog

Justin Bieber, toilets, customers, and smartphones. Seriously.

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What I learned at the general keynote session at IBM's Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando on September 6:

1. If you rent Justin Bieber's movie Never Say Never and you don't learn something about marketing, social media, and customer service, former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki will reimburse you the cost of renting or buying it.

2. Thirty nine percent of people use their mobile phone while in the bathroom, according to bona fide behavioral research conducted by Google. That's to say, mobile usage is growing. “Mobile has different user patterns,” says Joe Megibow, VP and general manager of “If you just think about mobile as your website on a smaller screen, you're going to miss something.” (By a show of hands, only about 5% of the audience admitted to smartphone/toilet multitasking.)

3. Here's a headline-grabbing quote for you that was being bandied about: Gartner estimates that by 2017, chief marketing officers will spend more on technology than chief information officers.

4. Mike Rhodin, SVP of IBM Software Solutions Group, has actually attended a Justin Bieber concert. He has tween daughters.

5. Though Adam Klaber, managing partner of new markets for IBM Global Business Services, has two teenage daughters, he's never been to a Bieber concert.

6. There are currently 1.5 trillion gigabytes of data in the digital world, including tweets, videos, and texts. And that's just looking at it from a mobile/social perspective. I guess that's why they call it “Big Data.”

7. Brands need to adapt or perish, and time is of the essence. IBM estimates that, from right about now, marketers have between “18 to 24 months to transform themselves before customers move along to more agile competitors,” Rhodin says. “The clock is ticking for everyone doing business today in the digital and global environment and there is a finite window to completely put the customer at the center of everything we do.”

8. If you don't give customers exactly what they want exactly when they want it, you're basically dead to them. “They expect to find anything they want in the specific size, style, and color they want it,” Klaber says. “And it has to be instantly available.”

In conclusion, customers aren't waiting around for brands to get their respective acts together.

“They are always talking to us and they expect great personalized service every time,” Klaber says. “If we don't meet their expectations just once, we've lost them.”

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