To stay competitive in this rapidly changing world, it’s essential for brands and retailers to be innovative and agile. Tariq Khan, VP Consumer Experience at Beamly, gave a look behind the scenes. Though the company name might not sound familiar to the general public, Beamly is the in-house product and marketing innovation accelerator for cosmetics and fashion group Coty, the parent company of Gucci, Adidas, Max Factor and Calvin Klein, among others.
With a team of 150, the London based company works on innovative applications that contribute to the digital transformation of these brands. An example is the award winning Virtual Make Up Artist, an application that provides customers with valuable make up advice through the use of a variety of technologies, including facial recognition to analyze face shape and augmented reality to virtually try out the advice generated by the system.
Getting the technology to work wasn’t the biggest issue, says Khan. The challenge lies in obtaining full insight into the customer and getting marketeers and developers to speak the same language. At Beamly, they work with tribes and squads, an organizational model borrowed from Spotify based on fast and agile teams (squads) working on the same or related products or services. As far as Khan is concerned, a flexible setup of the organization is a key requirement to be able to switch from the monolithic era to modern commerce.
According to Khan, a characteristic of modern commerce is that success is no longer determined by the so-called marketing technology stacks that offer everything, but by marketing technology ecosystems in which talent and employee training make the difference. Major brands and retailers have now taken a step in that direction. It will not always be easy, Khan admitted, but he doesn’t see another option. “We either board the plane and know it will be a bumpy ride, or we wait and see our businesses slowly decline.”