September 5, 2017
Content & Data: 9 Takeaways from Digital Summit Philly 2017
The digital industry evolves quickly. With new platforms, updates, and features coming out almost daily, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to attend the Digital Summit Philly to catch up on the latest in marketing Strategies, UX & Design, Email, Search, Mobile, SEO and more.
The Philadelphia Convention Center hosted this 2-day digital bonanza filled with some of the most innovative, experienced speakers and vendors in the digital industry.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to the summit in Philadelphia or any of the other 13 cities, don’t go into a digital meltdown. Instead, read on for my top takeaways, as well as digital trends you should know about regardless of your industry.
1. Content is Everything.
In these days of social media and SEO, content is your best friend. What is content? Is it a picture? A video? A blog post? A landing page that summarizes your company and products? The answer is, of course, all of the above. Almost everything you post, share and put online (and offline) is content that your audience digests and indexes into their purchasing decisions, as well as their perception of your entire company. Content is everything, and almost everything you produce is content.
2. There’s a difference between Great And good enough.
If you have any experience creating content, you know the difference between the two. Good enough content will meet brand guidelines, be relevant to your industry, and may even spark some interest. But truly great content can be measured by how well it evokes emotion and action. It serves to humanize your company and the way your audience sees you. Truly great content makes us feel.
3. Know what you do and who you’re doing it for.
Okay, so maybe this has more to do with building a successful business than it does with digital trends. But in order to be successful in the digital age, you must know and communicate the following: what you, why you do it, and who you are doing it for. Why is having a simple answer to each of these questions so important? One word — search. Every digital customer is looking for an answer to their search. If you have a clear mission for a specific audience, you’ll most likely be the solution to many a search.
4. Customer empathy isn’t just a fancy buzzword.
The phrase customer empathy has been thrown around quite a bit over the past couple of years. And while it may seem like another trendy buzz word, it’s not. When you break down the concept of customer empathy, it makes a lot of sense. We all know the feeling when you go to weather.com to see if it’s going to rain today and see a banner ad of a pair of pants you looked at two seconds ago on a retail website that reads “Check these out!”. Ugh! Sometimes marketing “best practices” don’t always factor in the customer’s feelings. Before you click the launch button on your campaign, think about how you would feel as an outsider exposed to your ad. Stop thinking like a marketer, and start thinking like a customer.
5. Data can be your most valuable asset.
Each piece of data you gather from your website visitors, social media followers, and email subscribers paint a story that tells how your audience is responding to your content, campaigns, and overall business strategy. Failing to utilize this data represents lost opportunities.
6. …or Your biggest pitfall.
Before you put that data into action, it’s important to clarify that we’re talking about clean, quality data. Conversely, contaminated data can do more harm than good. Please make sure you routinely perform little quality control checks. Survey your analytics platforms to ensure all tags and metrics look normal and are set up properly. Throw away any data that isn’t squeaky clean. Dirty data leads to bad decisions.
7. Strategy, strategy, strategy.
Jumping into any digital venture without research and planning is like throwing your money out the window. In the days of seemingly infinite channels of communication, a solid strategy driven by sound data and research is the best way to avoid a digital marketing blunder. Don’t just do, think.
8. Being social = Being found.
Speaking of these infinite marketing channels, let’s talk social. Some businesses are still hesitant to allocate resources to social media marketing, convinced that their audience doesn’t spend time on social platforms. Let’s explore that. A recent study found that 90% of people are within 10 ft. of their phones at all times of the day. Considering that more than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform and almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile, it would stand to reason, your audience is on at least one social media platform. Be social, be found.
9. Go Big or go home.
Finally, as Day One keynote speaker Ann Handley put, “the biggest missed opportunity is playing it too safe.” In the age of customer empowerment, you’re up against more competition than ever. In the new purchase journey, customers go through a major consideration phase full of researching and comparing services, brands, prices, etc. before they make their decision. If you want to get noticed, you can’t just ask for it, you have to demand it. If you aren’t getting big rewards, take a big risk.