Top 8 Marketing Insights from the Digital Summit

Armed with the Hootsuite app, we joined the 1,000+ digital marketers who converged in Atlanta this week.

digital marketing

And Digital Summit Atlanta was a blast. The pace was whirlwind, the presentations packed with information and the DJs spectacular. Despite losing keynote speakers The Woz and David Pogue to last-minute flight delays, we left as happy as Mark Zuckerberg in a hoodie.

Miss out on the fun? No worries. Here are our top eight insights selected from the digital fire hose we enjoyed.

1. Great Social Media Marketing Takes Time

Nick Ayres, Director of Social Marketing at IHG, confessed that it took two years to get their social marketing plan to an implementable state. Then again, IHG encompasses 10 brands in 100 countries, with 4,700 properties and 161+ million annual guests. His recommendation for success: be maniacal about your social media scope. In other words, be picky and learn how to say “no.”

2. “Twitter is the Soundtrack to TV”

digital marketingThis statement was made by Twitter’s Director of Southeast Sales, Brent Herd. It’s a valid point: how many of us now watch TV with a smartphone or tablet in one hand? Robin Wheeler, also of Twitter, put it well: “Twitter is a force multiplier for TV.” For brands, the social channel can create direct routes to consumers. Viewers can buy products on Twitter right after they see a TV commercial. Hashtags in advertisement can engage consumers long after after the 30-second spot ends. In a world of fragmenting media, Twitter can keep brands at the top of customer’s minds.

3. “Facebook is the Best Direct Marketing Platform Ever”

A direct quote from Cox Communication’s Adam Naide. The organic reach of brands on Facebook ain’t what it used to be. It’s time to accept Facebook as a paid marketing space. The platform’s true strength lies in its ability to target current and potential customers. Facebook is a treasure trove of individual demographic and psychographic information, which is both scary and amazing. So marketers, forget about “Likes.” It’s time to use Facebook as a direct marketing tool.

4. The Content Marketing Organizational Tree

There were metaphors aplenty at the Summit. We pieced them together for you:

  • Content is King
  • Distribution is Queen
  • Context is Emperor
  • Visual is (democratically elected) President
  • Engaging Copy is Vice President

5. To Google, Keywords Are Dead

digital marketingSEO used to be about keywords. But Google is not one to resist tinkering with its search algorithm in the quest for a better search experience. Updates over the past two years have favored websites with more robust content and quality. Google’s goal is to anticipate the user’s needs and deliver customized results. For your brand, this means getting Google’s robots to understand the content and context of your website is SEO priority #1.

6. Unite Splintering Content Under One Hashtag

digital marketing

How do you keep track of the content your customers create across multiple social networks? Simple: create one great hashtag. Collecting visual user generated content (UGC) can up engagement and produce a measurable increase in sales (see #4). T.J. Maxx’s #maxxinista campaign is a great example. Happy customers submit enough photos and stories to populate Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook. The result is an authentic campaign across multiple platforms that puts the shopper front and center.

7. Best Bang for Your Marketing Buck? Email.

Yes, it’s true. Christopher Lesser from Emma Email shared this stat: for every $1 invested, email returns $43. You bet that grabbed our attention. Turns out email isn’t dead – mobile platforms have given the medium new lifeblood. Email isn’t fleeting like a tweet or post in your newsfeed. Receiving a message from a brand in your inbox feels more personal and intimate. And don’t undervalue the power of a welcome email to new users. Well-crafted welcome emails can increase customer engagement by 33%. According the Christopher, Sunday morning is fast becoming the best time for email open rates. It seems the inbox pairs best with a cup of coffee on the couch.

8. Think Big

How do you invent a new type of digital news channel? Think big, and go live. That’s the approach Roy Sekoff, founding editor of the Huffington Post and current President of HuffPostLive, took. For a conference all about engagement, Sekoff was one engaging speaker. Better understand the story behind HuffPostLive by watching this video he shared in his presentation.

#DSUM14, A Success

We left Digital Summit full of new digital ideas and dance moves, which we expect to pay dividends in the coming months. Want to apply these eight insights to your brand but need some help? Partnering with one of these digital agencies may be the answer to your marketing prayers. Watch for us at #DSUM15. We’ll be on the (digital) dance floor.

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Claire writes about strategy, insight, and advice to help inspire smart and savvy marketers. She completed her MBA at UMass-Amherst and has been a team member at City Sports, MIT, and an organic farm in Maine. A former student-athlete at the University of Wisconsin, Claire now runs marathons, for fun! On her bucket list is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, dining at Per Se, and running the beautiful trails in New Zealand.

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