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Highlights From HubTalks 2019 – The Amazon Effect

Q: What do you get when you combine an almost torrential rainstorm with 150 of the smartest marketing and eCommerce professionals in Ireland?
A: A brilliant night of learnings, buzz and insights at our second HubTalks event!

At the very center of TalentHub is our belief in community. And one of the ways we endeavor to give back to our community is by sharing knowledge.

Over the last two years, as we’ve worked with different clients, we’ve been asked more and more about Amazon, eCommerce and what brands and people can do to future-proof themselves. And so our HubTalks – The Amazon Effect event was born!

The human is far from obsolete

From bookseller to 1-click shopping to early adopter of drones to disruptor of shipping and much else, Amazon has changed the world. But so much of the coverage of how Amazon is using advances in technology to drive innovation in retail is met with fear. Who hasn’t heard countless times that the robots are after your job?

Brian Corish, former Chief Customer Officer at Bank of Ireland and 2018 CMO of the Year, opened HubTalks with a highly insightful presentation that showed how far we’ve come, how far we have to go and the role humans will be playing for a long time still as analogue and digital worlds fuse.

TalentHub_HubTalks, eCommerce event, brian corish

“We’re at the end of the beginning,” said Brian, as he explained how brands still transfer analogue experiences onto digital platforms. “Think of the advances in technology over the last century. When the radio was invented, humans still made plays and broadcast those. When TV was invented, we treated it like radio. We had a man, and later a woman, sit in front of a microphone speaking to the camera. When the internet was invented, we used it like TV. But now, with the exponential leaps technology is making every two years, CX design means that how humans interact with technology will transform. Digital will be a mindset and not a channel.”

So, how do you keep the robots at bay and use the Amazon Effect to innovate in your own business or career?

While Brian was clear that technology is a critical component, true innovation comes from:

• Aligning your product with your purpose – long term vision will always innovate way beyond delivering for the next quarter

• Understand your values and what your customer wants from you – not just your product

• Empower your teams – keep a notepad by your desk and write down every idea that your team shares with you. Even the so-called “stupid” ideas could be a springboard to innovative ones

Good CX is mapping the qualitative with the quantitative

Our panel discussion continued to discuss what brands, large and small, should be doing to be competitive in the current, and future, online landscape.

Our excellent panelists were:
Mark Swain, Founder of “UX Guy”
John McElligott, Chief Digital Officer SmartBox Group
Mark Lilley, Co-founder of Groundswell
Chiara Henderson, CX Consultant
Ellie Doyle, Co-founder of TalentHub

And last, but by no means least, our excellent moderator and MC for the evening, Taragh Loughrey Grant, Digital Editor of RTE Lifestyle.

Taragh Loughrey Grant, Taragh RTE, Taragh Loughrey, Taragh Grant, HubTalks

Taragh Loughrey Grant, MC for HubTalks

The snippets below relay the scope of the panel discussion and provide great starting points for brands and individuals who want to dive deeper into innovation.

slack, chaira henderson, cx, customer experience, hubtalks

Chiara Henderson, CX Consultant, Former Head of CX at Slack

Chiara Henderson is on a mission to get HX into circulation as a term. “We initially spoke of UX, now we’re speaking of CX, but really, it’s HX, Holistic Experience, that we need to look at. And HX is made up of three things; your product, your purpose, and the support you provide to your customers.”

mark swaine, ux guy, talenthub, hubtalks

Mark Swaine, Founder of “UX Guy”

Mark Swaine highlighted the necessity of adding qualitative interpretation to data. “To get real insights, you can’t be looking at data in isolation. You have to bring the human (your customer) to the centre and interpret the data from that point.”

Mark Lilley, Founder of Groundswell Growth, talenthub

Mark Lilley, Founder of Groundswell Growth

Mark Lilley agreed with this point, citing tools like Hotjar and their ease of use as great resources to use. He also elaborated on how technology is the game changer for small to medium businesses along with their teams. “Tech and talent will only become more important as time moves on. Technology levels the playing field to a degree that was almost impossible to do just a few years previously; don’t underestimate it,” Mark reminds us.

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Ellie Doyle, Co-Founder and Director of Clients & Partnerships at TalentHub

Ellie Doyle shared how humans will continue to be hired, but the reasons for being hired may change. The number on skill being hired for now is complex problem-solving skills. “While millions on jobs will be made redundant due to automation, millions more will emerge, so no robots are going to take our jobs and maybe we all need to chill a little bit on this front,” Ellie added.

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John McElligott, Chief Digital Officer at Smartbox

John McElligott advocated for online retail, citing how online banking and online travel has remained much the same for the last few years, while the customer is very much at the centre of the online retail experience. “The consumer is winning, and retailers are taking onboard how customers want to be remembered – and forgotten – and delivering on that,” John pointed out.

The event closed with lots of networking, great eats and drinks and some brilliant connections made by the people in the room.

While that’s a wrap for HubTalks 2019, there’s no doubt that eCommerce is going to only become an increasingly bigger topic for brands (and it’s already huge). For Irish brands who want to keep Irish euros in the country (to the tune of €12.3 billion per annum), using technology to support the human buyer is the best way to make the Amazon Effect work for them!

 Mark Swaine, “UX Guy”, john mcelligott, SmartBox, Mark Lilley,, Chiara Henderson, CX Consultant, Ellie Doyle,  TalentHub

From left to right: Ellie Doyle, John McElligott, Mark Lilley, Brian Corish, Mark Swaine, Chiara Henderson, Taragh Loughrey Grant

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