This week’s Marketer to Marketer (M2M) blog features Justin Twymon, the Director of Digital Strategy and Development at CBD. An expert in coding and front-end web development, he has constructed digital architecture for numerous large-scale brands, including Ricoh Pentax cameras and HSBC Bank.
Believe it or not, Justin Twymon's venture into web development started out as a happy accident during his formative years at DeVry University, where he studied computer engineering.
At the time, he had just finished helping build a model for a child hypertension detector, which filled a largely unmet need in the healthcare industry.
In order to spread awareness of the prototype, Justin designed his first professional website, which kicked off a flourishing career in web development — ultimately landing him right here at CBD.
Q&A with Justin Twymon
What’s one of the most ambitious web development projects you’ve ever worked on?
While working with Ricoh Pentax cameras, I had the opportunity to take the lead on the redevelopment of their entire US site. That was definitely one of the most ambitious projects for me, since I was in charge of overseeing the whole process, from web design to SKU management and more.
Because Pentax cameras are so customizable, I was dealing with hundreds — if not thousands — of product combinations, and I had to make them all easily accessible to the consumer.
What are some of the lesser known benefits of incorporating data analytics into a digital strategy?
Many people don’t realize it, but data analytics can provide you with everything you need to know about your digital strategy. The way I look at it, data tells a story that describes all of the actions a user took on a site, including the items they clicked on, the pages they visited and so on.
But that’s just scratching the surface. Data also tells you anything from where your audiences are located, to how you can slightly tweak your product messaging for more conversions, to whether you should optimize your site for desktop or mobile.
In short, data will tell you exactly how you can improve your business. There are a lot of dots you can connect to document the entire user journey of your audience.
In your opinion, can a business survive in the competitive marketing environment of today without a digital strategy?
In B2C, I’d have to say no. They can’t. I have seen a few niche clothing brands thrive without a digital strategy — such as Supreme — but those are few and far between. For the most part, it can be very challenging to go on without a digital strategy in the marketing environment of today, because data provides a good benchmark for success. Without it, you’re left wondering whether your overall marketing strategy is working or not. It’s sort of like driving a race car with a blindfold on.
What advice would you offer to a business with an underperforming digital strategy?
When it comes to digital strategy, I always say it’s best to start simple to avoid making any costly mistakes. For instance, you can start with organic search. You don’t have to jump right into paid search if you’re not sure about your overall strategy. If you start with organic search, you can begin to tailor your digital strategy to better suit your needs and learn how to best take on a paid search strategy. It’s all about figuring out what your audience’s needs are, and learning how you can best address those needs.
In terms of digital marketing, what is a key trend or recent development that you’ve been using to your advantage?
Of course, as an agency, we’ve been keeping our eye on artificial intelligence (AI) and how we can use that to improve digital strategies.
Lately, I’ve also been paying close attention to voice marketing, which I believe is going to grow a lot in the next few years. Right now, people are asking their voice-controlled devices for directions, the weather and more. Imagine taking all of that data and tailoring your digital strategy to better meet the needs of consumers who use voice-controlled devices — it would offer a lot of potential for your business.
In addition, your device could keep you informed on your daily traffic, conversions and other KPIs, making it easier to understand how you can improve your overall marketing strategy.
What are your thoughts on the future role of digital strategy in the marketing industry?
As I mentioned before, the future role of digital strategy in marketing will be centered on a combination of voice control and AI. Because they’re both becoming more commonplace, you’ll start to see more voice marketing on those devices.
The interesting part about AI is that it can learn to adapt to each consumer, making it easier for them to live their lives without disruption. This offers a lot of potential for marketers to get to know consumers on a much deeper level based on what they ask their devices, and tailor their digital strategy to suit consumer needs.
Last but not least, what is meaningful to you outside of your role at CBD?
I think a lot about my daughter and the kind of world she is going to grow up in, especially in terms of technology. She had an iPad at 2-years old, so she knows more about mobile than a lot of people I have met. I try to expose her to new media as much as I can, so that she’s well prepared for the future.
Want to learn more from Justin Twymon? Connect with him on LinkedIn for even more digital strategy tips. Next up in the M2M series, we’ll be featuring Barb McDonald, CBD’s Group Account Director, and her take on building successful client relationships.