Diane Beffa serves as vice president of consumer & shopper marketing solutions at Digimarc Corp. Digimarc is an innovator in the barcode industry, having developed an invisible barcode that can be used in a variety of applications, including price scanning, consumer interaction and piracy prevention. The company is based in Oregon. Beffa works in Fayetteville.
Early in your career you worked in accounting and finance roles, but you eventually moved into marketing and branding. How did that transition come about?
- “Early in my career, I did a great deal of financial analysis work to support the sales and marketing groups within the companies I worked for. More specifically, I supported the sales, trade management and brand teams by assisting with their budgeting, forecasting and even category management. I eventually held an international controller position which required me to execute that full gamut of financial responsibilities and involved doing overseas acquisitions. It was at that time that I realized I didn’t just want to keep score, but instead wanted to play in the game. I am a passionate entrepreneur. There’s nothing like seeing a product or a marketing campaign you worked on in the market.”
Digimarc’s invisible digital barcodes are an interesting alternative to traditional barcodes. While they certainly make it easier for retailers by reducing the time it takes to scan products in the check-out line, do they also have other applications, such as letting customers get product information by using their smartphones? What about supply chain logistics?
“Digimarc barcodes are incredibly dynamic, and can be used by suppliers, retailers and consumers in a variety of ways. For instance, suppliers can use the Digimarc barcodes to support consumer engagement in store and manage their inventory, eliminating the time needed to remove products from the shelf and carefully align the camera on traditional barcodes. In fact, Digimarc just announced that its software is now included in a powerful mobile app used to manage on-shelf availability in stores, via their smartphones.
“Retailers can indeed use the barcodes to reduce check-out time, but they can also leverage them to provide consumers with dynamic, smartphone-enabled in-store experiences. Digimarc barcodes enable a package to become easily scanned by invisibly applying dozes of barcodes to the package. This lets shoppers scan Digimarc-enabled packaging with a mobile device to instantly engage online with brands.”
How important is it for suppliers to stay on top of new technologies, such as Digimarc barcode? Is awareness and adoption of such technologies even more important now that omnichannel retail is taking hold?
“Staying on top of new technologies, like Digimarc barcode, is incredibly important from a supplier’s point of view. Opportunities to engage in store and at home with shoppers, reducing the amount of time managing inventory, even by small margins, over time, can generate impressive results in the partnership of suppliers and retailers.
“Those same technologies are responsible for providing consumers with a dynamic purchasing experience, too. Not only are Digimarc barcodes capable of reducing a customer’s time spent at check-out, but they can host exclusive information and media implanted by brands or retailers that consumers can unlock using their smartphones. This type of brand engagement and transparency is more important than ever now that omnichannel retail is taking hold.”
You’ve spent a good part of your career in Northwest Arkansas. What do you think of the business culture and opportunities there?
“Northwest Arkansas has been amazing. I have met and worked with some of the best people in my career here — talented, caring, collaborative and genuinely fun people. If you want to be in the world of consumer packaged goods, retail or technology related to these industries, Northwest Arkansas affords business professionals all kinds of opportunities.”