Hey there! Welcome to the Marketer Of The Month blog!
We recently interviewed Jérôme Dubreuil for our monthly podcast – ‘Marketer of the Month’! We had some amazing insightful conversations with Jérôme and here’s what we discussed about-
1. Pandemic Impact: Boosted digital adoption and customer experiences at Decathlon.
2. Unique Digitization Approach: Eco-design, carbon footprint reduction, and sport experience focus.
3. Influencer Collaboration: Enhancing customer experiences globally via social media.
4. Cloud Computing Future: Reimagining ownership and transparency in interactions.
5. Gamification in Sport: Integrating VR games and connected treadmills.
6. User Experience Enhancement: Prioritizing trust, ethics, and Omni-channel experiences.
About our host:
Dr. Saksham Sharda is the Chief Information Officer at Outgrow.co. He specializes in data collection, analysis, filtering, and transfer by means of widgets and applets. Interactive, cultural, and trending widgets designed by him have been featured on TrendHunter, Alibaba, ProductHunt, New York Marketing Association, FactoryBerlin, Digimarcon Silicon Valley, and at The European Affiliate Summit.
About our guest:
Jérôme Dubreuil is the Chief Digital Officer at Decathlon since 2020, leading the digital transformation for 100,000 teammates in 70 countries. He boasts over 20 years of experience in tech, including 9 years in Silicon Valley startups, establishing an early startup incubator and launching three successful spinoffs, including the acquisition of Orb Networks by Qualcomm and 9 years in major multinationals, where he played a key role in creating cloud-based services for connected devices.
EPISODE 127: Digitizing a Sports Giant: Decathlon’s Chief Digital Officer Jérôme Dubreuil Talks Marketing Gamification
Table of Contents
Saksham Sharda: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. I’m your host, Dr. Saksham Sharda, and I’m the creative director at Outgrow. co. And for this month we are going to interview Jérôme Dubreuil, who is the Chief Digital Officer at Decathlon.
Jérôme Dubreuil: Great to be here. Thank you.
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The Rapid Fire Round!
Saksham Sharda: Describe what your organization does in one sentence.
Jérôme Dubreuil: So my organization, Decathlon, is the world multi-sport leader in 70 countries, with 100,000 teammates, making spots available to them.
Saksham Sharda: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
Jérôme Dubreuil: About 20 minutes.
Saksham Sharda: The most valuable skill you’ve learned in life?
Jérôme Dubreuil : To be empathic.
Saksham Sharda: The city in which the Best Kiss of your life happened?
Jérôme Dubreuil : Mexico.
Saksham Sharda: How many speakers can you name at this conference?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Maybe five.
Saksham Sharda: In one sentence, describe one problem that your organization is facing.
Jérôme Dubreuil: To make sports available to more people using a lot more digital ways and experiences.
Saksham Sharda: How do you relax?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Sports, meditation, reading.
Saksham Sharda: And can you name at least three speakers?
Jérôme Dubreuil: There was Claire Kanjan. There was Andre from the mural and there forgot her name, that lady from the arch-investing.
Saksham Sharda: A habit of yours that you hate?
Jérôme Dubreuil : Pass.
Saksham Sharda: Work from home or work from the office.
Jérôme Dubreuil : Both.
Saksham Sharda: The most embarrassing moment of your life?
Jérôme Dubreuil : Pass.
Saksham Sharda: How many hours of sleep can you survive on?
Jérôme Dubreuil : Zero.
Saksham Sharda: Your favorite app?
Jérôme Dubreuil : Decathlon.com.
Saksham Sharda: The first movie that comes to your mind when I say the word technology?
Jérôme Dubreuil: That’s a good one. Did I use all the passes already?
Saksham Sharda: You can use it again. How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Usually zero.
Saksham Sharda: Favorite Netflix show?
Jérôme Dubreuil: I’m gonna switch to Amazon Prime, it’s the expense. And that might be the other answer for the technology.
The Big Questions!
Saksham Sharda: So that’s the end of the rapid fire. So for the long questions, the first one is how has the pandemic affected the digitization strategy?
Jérôme Dubreuil: In a very positive way in the sense that there was this massive understanding that digital was a strong channel that we needed to develop. And in short, pre-pandemic for a company that was making north of 10 billion euros turnover in more than 70 countries. Post-pandemic we did that but more than 20%. So a huge shift in awareness, and also in solutions and experiences delivered to our customers digitally.
Saksham Sharda: And how is your strategy of digitization different from other brands in a similar space?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Well, I think there’s a lot of commons between a lot of brands and that’s okay. I mean, because we all need to go in the same direction. Yet, I think there are a couple of things that stand out. First of all, we have a major desire deep inside of DNA to be planted positively. Decathlon serves hundreds of millions of customers all over the world with, you know, small products. And so we use digital a lot to make sure that the carbon footprint of our company is as small as possible. So for instance, in 2026 we have a goal of having 100% of our products eco-designed, and eco-design means optimizing every process and part of the product so that its carbon footprint is the smallest as possible. And that requires a lot of digital. So that might be, you know, something that we do differently from other companies because it’s so deep within our processes. And another thing is we want to shift from just you know, providing products and equipment to people to practice sport, whether it’s casual or high-performance sports, to a world of sport experience, that world where you as a sports practitioner or active practitioner, it might be even for urban mobility, you have this continuous interaction with the Gatling whether for buying, but also for practicing for improving, for connecting with your community. So these are a lot of digital experiences that we’re building for customers.
Saksham Sharda: And I was planning to work with some influencers or social media people to try to make this happen with experience.
Jérôme Dubreuil: Yeah, we started to do that and do some operations, these are very different. We’re in 70 countries. So every time it’s different. Now, I think going forward, we’re probably going to have a more global approach to this. In France, we’ve worked with a couple of influencers in Europe and others, but more globally going forward, we’re probably going to be a bit stronger with that.
Saksham Sharda: So as a Chief Digital Officer, what do you think the future of cloud computing is?
Jérôme Dubreuil: I think the future of cloud computing is already here. I’ve been working for the past almost 20 years in Silicon Valley, and used to live in San Francisco. Cloud computing has been around me in my life for, you know, at least 10 years. So to me, the future is here. If you’re talking about you know, the next step I take is taking us into what tree and how we rethink, the notion of ownership, thanks to a tree and the notion of transparency of what companies are doing for customers. And that’s something that’s going to matter to us a lot. Because at the Decathlon trust and high ethics is at the core of our company for the past 45 years. So we’re going to build upon that a lot.
Saksham Sharda: So you talked about the capital experience, is there going to be gamification involved in that in any way?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Yeah, somehow, I mean, an easy answer, you know, is that sport is a game. It’s always about, you know, playing and winning, of course. But you know, to give you some examples, recently, we worked with the best table tennis game, in virtual reality, that’s 11 table tennis. We worked and you played it with an Oculus quest, we worked with them to make the precision of the sensation as good as possible and as close as possible to reality, by analyzing and using skills, analyzing all the movements of the ball, the racket, and all that. We also developed and we’re setting this, don’t go plug your virtual reality handle on the dongle that looks like a racket, so that the gestures and the feeding are as close as possible to the real game. Yet, you don’t have a table, you don’t have a bowl, you just paint the actual reality. And it’s getting so close to the real game that even you know, good players are using it to practice. So it’s a form of gamification and yeah, we’re going into this.
Saksham Sharda: And how vastly adapted do you think this is going to get in the future like is it going to become commonplace everywhere for this to happen?
Jérôme Dubreuil: Well, there are two things, on one hand, we are deep in our DNA, and we are super open and innovative. So we are going in these directions. Another example is that you know, we have connected treadmills where you can also, you know, put on a VR headset and, and work in a virtual world rather than just looking at the world in front of you. So we’re innovating and trying all these experiences at the same time. To us, sports also have to be lived, you know, outside with other people, collective sports, we’re a big fan of hiking, nature, sports and so on. So, it’s a balance, embracing digital, but also being so close to the roots of sports and what makes it so important and healthy I would say, for health and our well-being.
Saksham Sharda: So, in your opinion, which element is the most important when it comes to improving and enhancing user experience?
Jérôme Dubreuil: While the most important is to understand the users obviously, that starts with establishing that understanding of what their expectations are perceptions are so that they get on we have that little secret sauce is that we have, you know, more than 18,00,000 stores all over the planet, we’re presented 70 countries, and we’re an international company. So we can talk to ourselves physically, every day, and we leverage a lot to understand what they want. And people want digital, but they just don’t want digital, they want this Omni channel experience that goes from our starting digital to the store and back and forth. And also with the circular economy where, you know, we go heavily into renting long term short term, let’s say, you don’t buy a bike for your kids that are growing and you change it every year, you rent them over the long term, and you get new ones, we also go into secondhand so we’re really at that, you know, close contact with users. At the same time, user experience is also about trust and ethics. And this is super important and the direction we are going in providing a larger user experience to people through digital applications. We’ve thought that such as Decathlon Outdoors, we’re Decathlon Coach Ticket World, and Pacer, which are activities and applications that help users practice their sport, beyond the act of purchase. With that, and through that, they spend more time with us, and they entrust us with their data. And so in the customer experience here, what matters is the trust that, you know, people can place in the Decathlon, and so we build everything with a strong ethic, at the core or DNA. So to me, these are two key levers, key pillars of the customer experience.
Saksham Sharda: So the last question for you is a little personal, what would you be doing in your life if not this?
Jérôme Dubreuil: If I were not doing this, I would do two things, I would work in a very tech-forward environment in innovation. So I mentioned Web3, it’s a domain that you know, is very exciting to me. And I will be at the forefront of innovation. Or I will not be working. I would just do what I love the most, which is hiking and mountaineering.
Saksham Sharda: Thanks, everyone for joining us for this month’s episode of Outgrow’s Marketer of the Month. That was Jérôme Dubreuil, who is the Chief Digital Officer at Decathlon.
Jérôme Dubreuil: Pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Saksham Sharda: Check out the website for more details and we’ll see you once again next month with another marketer of the month.