Though we may be a few months out from the Festival of Marketing 2019 (October 10-11 in London, get your tickets here), the Econsultancy blog is bringing its readers a preview of some of the excellent speakers.

Louise Kristensen, EMEA Digital Commerce Lead at GSK, is returning to the festival this year and will be part of a session titled ‘How data & personalisation is fuelling growth at GSK’, alongside EMEA Media Director Jerry Daykin. The session will explore what it takes to unlock the value of data, when is the right time to personalise and how to create the best consumer experience.

We caught up with Louise to ask about the last year at GSK and to whet the appetite ahead of the event.

Since you spoke at last year’s Festival, what has been the biggest development in the commerce team at GSK, and in the market more broadly?

Louise Kristensen: Over the last year, we’ve continued to boost our digital commerce efforts by focusing on our channel and portfolio strategy and driving test and learn opportunities, which allow us to have greater understanding of shopper journeys for our products. We’ve optimised the findability of our products, developing rich content for retailer portals, and securing high-profile ads on customers’ ecommerce sites. We’ve also invested strongly in our digital and ecommerce capabilities, as well as hiring expert new talent.

What does personalisation mean to you at GSK Consumer Healthcare? Is it about ads? Loyalty? Or something else?

Louise Kristensen: Personalisation is about delivering more meaningful interactions with consumers, identifying the moments that matter to them and then creating the right experiences. Through our focus on data-driven marketing, we understand our consumer, their behaviours and needs and then create actionable and growth segments. We leverage our data to drive dynamic content, with the right message, at the right time, in the right format, and strive for continuous optimisation. For us, it’s not just about ads or loyalty, it’s opportunities to drive end-to-end consumer value.

Which direct-to-consumer brands have impressed you in the last year?

Louise Kristensen: The following D2C brands are great examples of customer-centric data driven businesses. They leverage their direct-to-consumer connection to create meaningful insights and leverage technology to create a better shopping experience:

Allbirds: D2C shoe brand, really good example of customer centricity and agility – they embrace the importance of listening and reacting to customer feedback, and make changes fast and frequently.

Warby Parker: D2C eyewear brand, great use of technology to create a better end-to-end buying experience and disrupting the traditional eyewear value chain.

How is your media mix changing, if at all, and what new skills or capabilities are needed for effective advertising in 2019?

Louise Kristensen: We’ve significantly increased the digital balance of our marketing which was previously very geared towards traditional television advertising. Our media buying has also been streamlined with the appointment of one global media agency to oversee our digital and offline paid media strategy and planning around the world. We’ve also enriched our people’s digital skills to drive our marketing in a digital world, rolling out a new Marketing IQ programme to 1,300 of our marketers.

Innovative industry partnerships are also crucial to our success. For example our partnership with Google helps us deliver relevant content to consumers and drive greater efficiency in our media targeting. We drove 4.5 billion more viewable digital media impressions than the same investment would have generated in the prior year, representing a 74% increase. We also draw on invaluable external insights from our Digital Advisory Board (DAB), which is made up of digital marketing, data and ecommerce experts and helps challenge our thinking and shape our digital strategy.

Head to the Festival of Marketing website to view the 2019 agenda.