Philadelphia Digital Technology in Marketing Trek

I recently attended the Philadelphia Innovation Trek with a focus on Digital Technology in Marketing and we visited both Comcast and Curalate.

Upon entering Comcast the first thing we saw in their lobby is their enormous digital wall. It is almost camouflaged as it projects the design on the surrounding walls, but it very quickly comes to life with videos ranging from employees running to work to videos of animals in the Serengeti. We were then taken to their innovation lab where we were able to see all the new Xfinity technologies. Xfinity is currently working towards a more streamlined and connected house by changing the way their products physically and digitally interact with one another and their environment. They talked about the potential for the television to serve as a display in the home rather than just a tool for watching shows.

Their new product designs are intended to be sleeker and more attractive prompting customers to leave them in plain sight. The products were all capable of being controlled through an app on your phone and had simple setup to cut down on the difficulties of managing and integrating multiple devices.

Next we saw a presentation on how Comcast uses analytics to back up their marketing decision making. They will often test out different slogans and website layouts by randomly selecting which users will see them. They then see which iteration has the best effect on sales. While they may find an option that is better for their site, they still continue to challenge their current standards. Finally we learned about how competitive Comcast must be in bidding to maintain the top ad on Google. It was an interesting insight into how small keywords can effect website location and by extension sales.

Next we took a trip to the Philadelphia startup Curalate. Curalate’s visual commerce software, “helps more than 800 brands tell their stories through imagery in order to drive engagement, build awareness, and form stronger, more meaningful relationships with consumers.” Curalate works with companies such as Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and more. They are working to bridge the gap between social media images and commerce by allowing for photos and videos to link to websites.

Curalate’s space and culture was very different than Comcast’s. The members of the office had a much more unique feel accompanied by relaxed but productive employees. Comcast had a very clean and sleek building. Curlate on the other hand, had inspirational quotes paired with pictures of Chuck Norris on the walls, clouds hanging from the ceiling, and rooms full of beanbag chairs. It was clear that the company valued individuality and alternative ways of thinking.

While very different, both companies stressed the value of backing their creative decisions with data and facts. Overall, the trip gave a well-rounded view of the digital marketing landscape and how it plays a role in large and small companies.