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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.

Anil Pillai, CEO of LBi UK, is the fourth in the series.

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

I’ll be looking for standout work with a spark of innovation, where the brand or agency has thought creatively about consumer insight and the application of technology.

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

A lot has already been said about Nike FuelBand, but I think it’s an interesting piece of work because it shows how an apparel brand has managed to become a data business. FuelBand gives Nike access to an unprecedented amount of customer data, and it will be fascinating to see how they use this for future initiatives.

How do you build digital excellence within your company?

We do this in lots of ways. Firstly, and most importantly, we build excellence by striving to make LBi a place like no other, creating a culture where innovation and creativity are valued and encouraged.

Secondly, being a digital business means constantly adapting and changing, so we have made this part of our culture as an agency, and we hire people who embrace that approach.

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

In today’s digital economy, the currency is velocity, so brands who are able to change and innovate at speed are the one who I see excelling. Pure play digital brands like ASOS and Amazon are good examples of this, as are some of the more traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses like John Lewis.

At the other end of the scale, there are plenty of start-ups popping up who are small and agile enough to bring new products and services to market quickly, and who understand the power of storytelling and content, like this Welsh jeans brand Hiut Denim.

How should companies be defining and measuring digital excellence?

Digital excellence should of course be about the effectiveness and impact of your work, but it can also be measured by the speed at which you are able to make things happen. Sometimes, it’s better to get something out there than to get it perfect. This “always in beta” approach has long been the way of working in Silicon Valley, but we’re starting to see more UK businesses embracing it as a philosophy.

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?

One of the key trends identified by Trendwatching recently is ‘newism’ – the consumer hunger for new products, services and experiences on a daily, if not hourly basis. People are always looking for new apps to help them ‘self-manage’ everything from their diet to their diary. With the proliferation of smartphones and other mobile devices, there are more opportunities for brands to tap into this need for new products which add value to people’s lives.

Another important digital development is the ‘Internet of things’, and what this means in terms of data. As the required technology becomes more affordable, machine-to-machine communication will mean a huge increase in the amount of data available to brands. The challenge for those brands will be to figure out smart ways to mine this data to develop fresh and relevant insights.

Finally, we’ve seen stats from many of our major household brand clients which demonstrate that the mobile channel has reached a tipping point recently. No longer the digital destination for a minority, we’re seeing that people’s first interaction with a brand is often on a mobile device, so it’s essential to build experiences which reflect this.

Ryan Sommer

Published 26 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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