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Entries for The Digitals, our new awards that recognise the best in digital marketing and ecommerce, are currently open

To celebrate their launch and build a better understanding of what it is all about, we've invited several of the esteemed judges for a Q&A.

Matthew Timms, Director, RBS acquisition at Santander UK, is the second in the series.

What will you be looking for when judging entries this year?

I will be looking for two things, have entries been able to innovate and bring customers a value proposition that is differential and creates cut through in the marketplace, and have entries have been able to deliver real tangible results in terms of business / ROI or customer benefits.

In keeping with our global theme, are their campaigns that stand out in your mind as best practice from other areas outside the UK?

Of course the best global campaign of the year must of course go to PSY and Gangnam style! No other campaign reached as many people or had such an impact on Global “culture” – I use the word culture loosely here…….whether or not this was the original strategy is probably up for debate.

How do you build digital excellence within your company?

I would suggest that digital excellence is driven by combining the following within your company:

Structure and culture, in many companies digital isn’t part of the core DNA. It requires a measure of business transformation – this is hard and therefore needs to be driven from the top of the organisation – and in some cases the organisation needs to restructure around this change. Structure drives your strategy. The business needs to be aligned and incentivised around the customer and digitally enabling the business.

In a traditional multichannel business you need to look at optimising your business footprint for a digital age and customer, focusing on efficiency and how best to use high contact / value interactions with customers.

Can the business operate in a truly multichannel way with customers at the centre?

Review the 3Ps – products, processes and pricing – are these “digitally ready” can they operate as well in a retail Outlet as on a mobile device?

What types of company and business sectors do you see excelling at digital marketing and ecommerce at the moment?

I think that the high street retailers have had the toughest time as ecommerce has grown and online players with a lower cost base have attacked the high street. This has been incredibly challenging however you are now starting to see Retailers with a more holistic multichannel strategy fighting back.

How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?

I think this is relatively simple to answer, does it create value for the business, customer or brand? If the campaign or project is demonstrably achieving measurable impact in these areas and when comparing to competitors we outperforming then you are close to digital excellence or just plain business excellence!

What do you see as being the biggest digital trends of 2013, and do you see examples of companies capitalising on these as part of their digital marketing campaigns and programmes?

Clearly our old friends social media, location based marketing and mobile are still very much in the limelight, and for many remain an opportunity to be driven harder. Of course we should be looking at how best we can use the opportunities presented from digital being such a data driven area to enhance targeting and cut through.

I would like to think that augmented reality might make a bigger play this year but it still feels a little way out unless the Google Project Glass initiative can make this a more tangible reality – if you’ll excuse the pun.

Ryan Sommer

Published 13 February, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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