Tapping Into Retail Partnerships, Consumer Trends, and Emerging Tech: Tips From Digimarc’s Judy Moon
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How long have you been with Digimarc?
Since January 2022 when Digimarc acquired a company called EVRYTHNG where I was SVP of sales.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My paternal grandfather was a Buddhist monk in South Korea. I visited his temple many years ago as a young woman, I asked him two very existential questions and his answers, simple yet profound, have always stayed with me:
1) Q: Who am I? A: You are who you want to be.
2) Q: Why am I here? A: You are here because you want to be.
What are the three things you’d bring if you were stuck on a desert island?
1) Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods. 2) Lots of notebooks and pens. 3) Something that could play music without needing to be charged.
What do you wish you knew how to do?
After college, I began my career in the media and entertainment industry, working at multinational media and entertainment companies in direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing and new business development roles. Once I was able to pay off all my student loans, I left the corporate world and reinvented myself as a documentary film producer. I always had a creative side and saw the power of film as a medium to tell stories and make an impact.
I’ve been working in technology for about 10 years now and I absolutely love it. Digimarc is the fourth innovative tech company that I’ve been fortunate to work for and I joined the company as part of the acquisition of EVRYTHNG, a 10-year-old, UK-founded technology company that pioneered the concept of product digitization.
Hands down, of all the companies that I’ve worked for and had exposure to, Digimarc has the biggest opportunity to make an impact on businesses, people, and our home planet. Digimarc is on a mission to digitize the world’s consumer products. Our watermarking technology combined with our product digitization platform can help solve incredibly complex challenges facing the consumer products industry and our planet.
CGT: Do you see any crossover with your earlier roles, whether within the challenges or opportunities?
During my time in tech, I’ve worked in client services, customer success and sales — all in client-facing roles which helps me to take a customer-centric approach to what I do. I believe very strongly that being able to understand a customer’s needs and challenges is critical to succeeding, especially if you are working in the world of emerging tech that still needs product market fit, and for that matter in any industry.
Throughout my career, whether in the media and entertainment industry or in tech, I am always thinking about what resonates with people, whether they are consumers, business clients, or film fans, because at the end of the day, it’s people who make, sell, and consume products.
CGT: Digimarc recently expanded its partnership with Walmart. What’s going to be different moving forward?
We were excited to announce that we’ll expand our relationship with Walmart to optimize Walmart’s store operations further. Walmart is a forward-thinking technology leader with an unwavering focus on the customer experience. Our technology platform perfectly aligns with Walmart’s mission to create a positive shopping experience for its customers to save money and time. We’ll be announcing further details of our expanded relationship soon.
CGT: What are some of the new consumer behavior trends that you think fail to get enough attention? What should retailers have on their radar?
Consumer goods brands and retailers must deliver on consumer demands for transparency, sustainability, and personalized experiences. This expectation among consumers is not new, but the urgency has escalated for brands and retailers. Consumers are holding brands accountable.
Culture — a commitment to diversity, equality, and inclusion — is no longer an internal comms issue. The same goes for commitments to sustainability goals — protecting our home planet. Consumers are evaluating brands at every step of the product journey. The good news is that the technology now exists, so brands can communicate directly with consumers through the products they purchase.
Product digitization empowers brands and consumers through smarter engagement while delivering on expectations for transparency and sustainability. What’s new is that consumers in the U.S. have climbed a steep hill since 2020, becoming accustomed to using QR codes for everything from reading the menu at a neighborhood restaurant to donating to a favorite charity. With eMarketer predicting QR code scanning in the U.S. will increase by another 19% to 99.5 million by 2025, brands can no longer ignore this consumer trend and engagement opportunity.
In addition, consumers are looking for greater efficiency and convenience at checkout. The good news is that the brands and retailers we work with are aware of this consumer desire. I expect the retail industry to see positive change and innovation in this area in 2023.
CGT: How can consumer goods manufacturers improve their retail partnerships in 2023?
Digimarc has an extremely strong and collaborative partner program. The key to its success is listening, sharing data, and collaborating on solutions that address real market needs. The same is true for the relationship between consumer goods manufacturers and retailers.
What we know for sure is that real-time data is essential to both manufacturers and retailers. Having a mechanism to capture product and consumer data is the first step. And then creating a forum for collaboration and sharing and acting upon that data is the next step. Beyond expanding customer reach and awareness for the brand and retailer, the magic of partnerships is in the opportunity to foster innovation — an opportunity to lead and drive needed change in the industry.
CGT: What are some of the emerging technologies that you think will bring about the most change in the next 5-10 years?
I believe we will see changes in every aspect of the consumer goods industry over the next 5-10 years. Three big changes I believe we will see sooner rather than later are linked directly to consumer expectations.
Product Digitization At Scale
We will see a significant uptake in the digitization of products at scale among retailers and consumer goods manufacturers. In the simplest terms, product digitization means giving physical products and packaging (such as a bottle of lotion or baby formula) a digital life.
Product digitization also solves supply chain challenges. Once a product is digitized, brands and retailers can see supply chain bottlenecks. Adding digital watermarks or serialized QR codes to products, connected to a cloud-based record of their journey and interactions, allows brands and retailers to make more informed and proactive business decisions while protecting consumers and our home planet.
Enhancing Consumers’ Retail Experience
We will see technology innovation designed to help brands and retailers adapt their products and product packaging to optimize emerging in-store technologies and provide shoppers with the retail experience and efficiencies they now expect.
Taking Action on Recycling
We will see the global adoption of technologies to help consumer goods manufacturers and retailers contribute to a circular economy. We already see the positive impact of products like Digimarc Recycle through successful pilot projects in Europe and Canada that improved the accuracy of recycling sortation and provides an ability to sort material that current optical sorting technology cannot with a proven 99% detection rate.
I’m passionate about protecting our home planet, so no matter the technology, I hope to see businesses, governments, and global organizations come together to address the issue of plastic recycling. It is time to put action behind the words.