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    on September 27, 2019 Digital Marketing

    4 themes from Digital Summit Detroit 2019

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    If you’re a marketer who missed Digital Summit Detroit 2019, don’t worry. We've got you covered. While speakers brought a ton of thought-provoking research and experience to the stage, there were many common themes around content creation, reaching your target audience and engaging buyers throughout the sales funnel. Here are four of them:

    Themes from Digital Summit Detroit 

    1. When marketers say authenticity, they mean consistency.

    Seth Godin, keynote speaker, best-selling author and marketing mogul, came to the stage after former NBA player and original influencer Dennis Rodman, with a lot of powerful messages. But this one in particular stuck out to audience members:

    "I don't think there is such a thing as authenticity," Godin said. He went on to explain that it's not even authenticity people want; it's consistency that they build trust on.

    Whether it’s the videos you're creating for YouTube or the voice in which you’re writing your brand’s tweets — for it to feel “authentic” to your audience, it must be consistent.

    Whoever runs Wendy’s Twitter account should feel proud because the quick-service restaurant was used as a positive example several times at the conference, including for its reliable quip.

    If you haven’t come across the fast-food company’s tweets, the internet describes them as “savage,” often poking fun at others. Saga MKTG’s senior partner Eric Thomas made the point that if Wendy’s stopped doing this, their followers would be confused. When he asked the room how Wendy’s has been getting away with being so provocative, he answered his own question with “consistency.”


    2. Educating and empathizing through content will engage your audience.

    “Sell less, engage more,” Carlos Gil, CEO of Gil Media Co., repeated on stage.

    First, understand who your audience is and then educate and empathize through your content to engage them. 

    “Don’t write for millions of people. Write for seven people,” Godin said. “People want to click an ad that’s about them, not you.”

    And if you’re able to make consumers say, “hey, me too” after seeing your advertisement — they’re more likely to share it. Godin explained his goal is to serve the smallest group of people he can and to write about things they know to make them feel seen. 

    When you’re able to put yourself in the shoes of your audience, it’s also easier to create something educational that they will want to engage with.

    And as for education, it holds power. Movement Strategy’s Christy Pregont shared that Gen Z consumers don’t feel guilty after watching three hours of YouTube because they watch videos that teach them something, which is unlike how they feel after binge-watching three hours of Netflix. She emphasized that marketers should use this to their advantage.


    3. As the digital landscape evolves, so do marketing strategies. 

    The digital landscape has changed, making it harder for marketers to reach target audiences. Rand Fishkin, CEO and co-founder of SparkToro, shared strong research on this topic, touching on a lot of ways the internet has evolved. A big one, he said, is that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube massively diminish posts that outlink traffic because they want people to stay on their websites.

    Paxton Gray, 97th Floor’s EVP of Ops, offered a few tools (that you’ll have to pay for) to help. He found these solutions help marketers reach the right people organically: Ryte and Spyfu for keyword optimization and Followerwonk for a better understanding of who makes up your audience.

    Then, there were the more granular tips. For more engagement from buyers, these three may go a long way:

    • Merrell’s director of digital marketing, James Royer, saw consumers engage more (by 51%) with Instagram posts when the images posted were cropped vertically.
    • Yosef Silver, founder of Fusion Inbound, said animated GIFs receive more click-throughs in email campaigns.
    • Movement Strategy’s Christy Pregnot encouraged marketers to think of YouTube as if it were a brand’s TV channel with different shows and series, and to not be afraid of trying long-form content on the platform.


    4. Lean into what makes your brand unique. 

    Understand what your brand is and what your brand is not. Both can help with your messaging.

    Mike Albanese, comedian, marketer and MC of the event, said brands shouldn’t be afraid of embracing the negative and making it humorous. 

    Many sessions encouraged brands to be specific and find their niche.

    Rodman added that uniqueness is how he became one of the original influencers. As for what he thinks brands need to carry with them today: "It doesn't hurt to be creative." 


    There was a ton of invaluable information shared at Digital Summit Detroit 2019. If you missed it, we're sorry. But we hope this helped.


    Andrea Gonzales-Paul

    Andrea Gonzales-Paul is a brand journalist at Quikly. Her background is in storytelling, specifically working in TV news and documentary filmmaking.


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