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The Keynote Recipe I Dread This Year
January 2, 2019 |


Yield: A complete speakership

Active Time: 20-30 minutes

Total Time: 45-60 minutes (with Q&A)


  • 1 emphatic statement
  • 8-10 generously bold typefaces (italics as substitute, depending on season and availability)
  • 6 cups: anxiety-inducing facts about data
  • 1 joke about millennials
  • Pinch of soothsaying
  • Applause


  1. On a stage, begin with an emphatic statement, referencing “the rapidly changing digital landscape”
  2. Casually add cited statistics reinforcing the insane amount of data shared on the internet (for extra saltiness, also add a sidebar on how that data is absorbed through multiple, ever-growing channels)
  3. Let sit for 5-10 seconds, followed by a dash of anxiety-inducing facts around data privacy, fake news, and impending U.S regulatory reform
  4. To cut the serious tone, zest with a joke about millennials (if using a modern stage, will draw a few chuckles from the audience, while 40% of the audience (who are, in fact, millennials) shift uncomfortably in their seats and then look down at their phones to scroll their instagram feeds in agitation
  5. Remove Soothsaying from package, use to top off the keynote with the effects of our digital landscape on Gen Z and beyond
  6. Serve, with applause, on a generic contact info slide (include Twitter handle for a twist)

I’ve had this meal before, and Im sure you've tasted something similar in 2018; it's a recipe for every single keynote I attended in 2018.

But if 2018’s rallying cry was “things are changing rapidly and personal data is being abused,” then how will we adapt and evolve in 2019?

What was once emergingnew customer behaviors and an increased rate-of-change combined with new digital marketing tools and trendsis now the standard at which we all need to function.

Here are some of the ways our industry will evolve (onstage and off) in 2019...


While a growing concern over data privacy was fully warranted this year, no amount of new regulation and reform will take us back to the good old days before trolling by bad actors.  Bots, AI, machine learning, and data sharing are a part of our daily lives (for better or worse). In 2019 bots will begin to become a standard tool for identifying fake news and privacy threats. Tools like Bot Sentinel and Fakespot are early signs of this.

Customer Engagement

No matter what you’re selling, your differentiator in 2019 will be authenticity. And authenticity, at-scale, requires leveraging customer data to deliver a meaningful interaction with personalization tools.  A personalized brand experience has become an expectation and brands that can successfully make a personal connection with authentic and relevant experiences will gain the attention of the consumer.

Consumer Behavior

There is a myth out there that attention spans have gotten shorter. Neuroscientist, Carmen Simon debunks this myth in her book Impossible to Ignore.  It’s not attention spans that have changed, it's the amount of stimuli around us that has increased and our threshold for stimulation.

But then how do we cut through the noise and keep your target audiences engaged? Simon explains that it’s all about variating the stimulus for your audience. Keep your content dynamic and varied in channel and form.

Don’t shy away from complexity.

Despite the concern that snapchat is ruining our children’s attention span, Simon assures us that the human brain actually hasn’t changed much in the last 40,000 years.

As marketers, isn’t that kind of comforting?

With the rate of change especially in the digital space, it’s nice to know there is one constant we can count on: the good ol’ brain. In 2019, no matter how you tackle customer engagement, remembering our shared humanity should be at the center of your strategy.

Personalization At-Scale

Connecting on a personal level to your audience requires a digital personalization strategy.

And we’re not just talking about segmented emails and A/B testing here.

Personalization at-scale in 2019 means delivering a 1:1 personalized experience across your channels and touch-points. Brands are investing in customer journey orchestration tools to accomplish this. They are also assembling multidisciplinary task forces to break down silos in order to create seamless customer experiences.

Getting past Digital 

The buzz around customer experience came to a boiling point in 2018. Brands are working hard to deliver an authentic and personal experience at every touch-point in their customer’s journey. Hurdles to achieving this include internal departmental silos, stakeholder alignment, and technology investment.

In 2019, the Brands that will thrive, are the ones whose strategists no longer consider “digital” to be separate from “offline” visibility. As consumers, we’ve moved beyond thinking of digital on one side of an invisible membrane, and brands will need to follow suit and recognize that in the way they interact.

Initiatives in 2019 should include delivering human-first experiences rather than compete for improved customer experiences. Despite the fact that technology has become ever more entwined in our lives, human connection, wellness and the future of the environment are the values and concerns that our newest generation of consumers care about.

To sum it upwhether you’re mobile, in-store, or on stage, brands must speak to what consumers care about, what enhances their lives, and what creates meaningful, unique experiences.

Shoot us a note to get an assessment of your customers’ brand experience.

Customer Experience

Annie uses her pragmatism, curiosity, and creativity to develop data-driven and innovative marketing strategies for our clients. With 10 years of experience working across a diverse set of marketing functions, Annie helps marketing teams create and optimize engagement strategies that provide the key processes and data they need to drive meaningful results, actionable insights, and real business impact.

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