5 Quick Marketing Takeaways from the Boston Digital Summit

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens [AHEM, MARKETERS] can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead, Q3 2018

Continuing education takes on many forms. Fortunately enough in our remote and digital age information is readily available for everyone. Platforms like Skillshare exist to educate and close skills gaps. With enough concentration and time, anyone can do anything. Yet, that’s not the case. Attention, discipline, and motivation are also at play.

The reason I love going to conferences like the Digital Summit Series is to hear active first-hand accounts of successes, best practices, and epic failures. Oh! How I love a good flop, coupled with a happy ending. Trips like these are also good for culture and encourage making space for a different kind of “work.”

To review the full speaker line-up in Boston, here you go! We loved the keynote presentations given by best selling author, Ann Handley and Scott Dikkers, Founder of The Onion. For those of you who couldn’t attend, our team wanted to share some of our most memorable takeaways and themes.

1. Watch your tone.

Marketers were encouraged to be champions for businesses: to tell a bigger story, create bolder marketing and defy the norms using a braver voice. It sounds easy enough, but it’s harder than you might think because externally it involves intentional tone at each touchpoint and internally requires unification of minds and group-think. The whole company has to be on board. Establishing harmonious tonality might feel a bit like pushing a boulder uphill, but once you reach the top, it’s all downhill from there.

Brands living this out loud: The Skimm and Freaker USA.

Make sure that you’re telling people who you are AND who you aren’t. Flexing tone both attracts what you want more of and deters what you don’t. Help people self-select you by telling and repelling. Remember: tone is your edge. Freaker’s Director of Marketing was quoted to say, “The story is the start of what makes you different.”

2. Email, alive and thriving.

Email marketing is alive and well. Many people know that email can be used to educate, lead nurture, and convert. It’s a vehicle for a lot of good. However, for email to be useful, your lists need to be qualified, and your email user experience needs to be solid. Email is not a set it and forget it forever kind of thing- rarely anything is in the digital space. We heard from many email marketers at the Summit, here’s what they had to say:

  • Your subject line should be your #1 priority.
  • 7 word subject lines are most popular, but 4 words prove to have the most engagement. Remember: people open emails on their phone where there is less room for the subject line!
  • Emojis are popular, but only have higher engagement if they’re specific to the brand.
  • Personalization, “Hello (so and so)” is not as effective. People are privy to automation, and it means less than it once did.
  • Be sure that you’re purging your list based on engagement. A small but powerful list is more impactful than a large, unengaged audience.
  • 3. Social cues.

    73% of marketers are producing more content year after year. 42% of marketers are spending more. Is your company in line with this trend? When you’re reviewing budgets each year, be sure to account for the growth and focus required to compete digitally. According to BuzzSumo, social sharing is down 50% since 2015. So, consider the ante upped.

    4. Sales funnel evolution.

    Traditionally the funnel has been marketing at the top, occupying the larger portion of the funnel and sales at the bottom half of the funnel, occupying the smaller part representing attrition and conversion. However, we saw a newer illustration which is more applicable in today’s world.

    Think of a traditional funnel, but split marketing on the left side and sales on the right, now put a gap between them and zigzags between the right and left side within the gap. This illustrates how sales and marketing are able to work together in today’s digital age. For example, a salesperson might have a lead at the top of the funnel that opts into marketing communication and is nurtured through education and measurable engagement and the salesperson makes intentional touches with that prospect back and forth through the funnel.

    5. Questions you should know, or find the answer to:

    • Would you recognize “you” if you covered up your own logo? (On your website, ads, etc.)
    • Are you telling people who you are AND who you are not?
    • Do you have a content strategy?
    • Do you know what you’re spending on digital marketing and if it’s effective?
    • Once a customer lands, how do you expand?
    • When do your customers get to give feedback? How often are you asking their opinion?
    • If you’re selling online, can it be purchased in 3 clicks or less?
    • Do you have a digital strategy? If so, is it agile?

    • The web world is a big, bad, beautiful place. You have so many opportunities and touchpoints to create positive engagement with your brand. Market wisely.


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