Recap: Digital Summit Chicago 2018

Nex Gen Dynamics VP of Creative Services Troy Sandidge and Digital Marketing Specialist Mike Lovelle recently attended the 2018 Digital Summit in Chicago, where they had the privilege of learning about innovative marketing strategies and tools from top professionals.

From sitting in on powerful presentations to networking with the speakers of those presentations, the Digital Summit Chicago was a beneficial experience filled with knowledgeable and well-rounded experts in the marketing industry.

To offer insight on the information obtained from this event, we have put together a recap of three powerful presentations the team attended.

Power of Purpose

“There’s never been a harder time to be a brand then right now. They are waging a war for attention and relevance.” — Stacy Minero

Stacy Minero, Head of Content Creation at Twitter, led a presentation on the importance of including personal connection in a marketing strategy to translate the brand’s purpose to consumers.

Due to the world’s current state of chaos and disorder, social activism is on the rise, and people tend to turn to brands to be their moral guide in the process. This is because they are seeking out a strong emotional connection that they can relate to. In fact, 75% expect brands to make a contribution to their quality of life and 57% will buy or boycott based on political position (30% more than a year ago).

A solid example of personal connection from a well-known brand is Nike’s Just Do It campaign. As most would probably already know, this campaign features famous athletes and emphasizes on them chasing their dreams to encourage others to follow their own dreams. Due to this campaign, Nike had their biggest online sales on record at a spike of 32%!

Minero stressed that authenticity is key when it comes to brand strategy and that spending too much time on hashtags is taking away from the chance to be authentic and real. If people aren’t using and relating to the messaging, use it as a chance to remarket to provide a personal connection.

If there is a compelling message with a strong call to action, people are more likely to share it, thus influencing user-generated content for brands. A great example of this is when a five-year-old girl was cited for operating a lemonade stand without a business license. Lemonade company Country Time stepped in and offered to donate a dollar to the young girl for every retweet they got. This was a purpose driven message.

To sum up her points, Minero left the audience with the following five questions to consider.

Talking on Instagram

“Social media is not a promotional channel. It’s a place to have a conversation. It’s social for a reason. A big mistake artists are making is shoving promotional stuff to people. It would be better if you do it in a more compelling way.” — Lisa Wirtzer Seawood

Lisa Wirtzer Seawood, Head of Music Partnerships at Instagram shared her ideas for effectively and authentically growing and engaging audiences and shared how today’s most popular artists and celebrities connect with fans on the app.

When it comes to Instagram strategy, these are the top four points a brand should focus on:

1. Authenticity. People know when you’re not being genuine and real; they can see right through any false messaging a brand is putting out.

2. Consistency. You must be consistent and frequent in order for your audience to consume your content at all times.

3. Engagement. Engage as often as possible to form a connection with them. Even just liking a comment can help keep a fan for life.

4. Video is a key content mix. Video is the strongest content on Instagram, so it’s best to seek out all the possibilities of a video strategy.

Seawood explained that it makes sense to take advantage of the amount of time people spend on the Instagram app and increase brand frequency to align with audience activity. Frequency doesn’t necessarily mean “to post” to the feed every time, but it refers to how to “spread” the brand’s message across the feed. This includes reposting content that used the brand’s name and engaging with customers.

According to Seawood, 200 million people look at the explorer tab every single day on Instagram. The content shown on this page is based on what the user does and who the user interacts with. In order to show up on more users’ explorer tabs, a brand’s content is very important. The style and layout of content depend on the brand and industry, but it should express who the brand is, the brand’s values and beliefs, why the customer should care, etc.

To further explain the true power of Instagram, Seawood shared examples of the ways musicians and other celebrities use Instagram to connect with their fans. She went on to say that many times people won’t search a new artist on Google, they will actually turn to Instagram first. In turn, it’s crucial for singers and bands, along with other celebrities, to make sure their profile reflects who they are.

Seawood mentioned 6lack and LeBron James as two celebrities that use Instagram to connect to their fans and how it benefits them in the long run.

Outcomes vs. Enablers

“If you don’t have a strong brand & connected to audience, when things hit the fan, it will weather the storm because it’s so strong.” — Mayur Gupta

Mayur Gupta, VP of Growth & Marketing at Spotify, touched on the importance of drawing a clear line between the outcomes vs enablers of marketing, similar to the ideation of the outcomes vs outputs methodology by Bill Skowronski.

He emphasized finding the balance of your KPIs to measure growth. To have sustainable growth you need to be able to track and grow the following:

  • Grow user base
  • Grow user value
  • Grow the brand

But with so much pressure on marketing and analytic personnel in a direct B2C sell cycle system, it can be quite challenging to track all of the efforts pertaining to the rise and fall of sales/CTAs from efforts. Trying to measure 100% of effort may be impossible or not even necessary. But can you do it with 70–80%? Yes, you can!

80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is attributed to the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Pareto noted that roughly 80% of Italy belonged to approximately 20% of the country’s total population. In essence, Pareto inferred that there’s an 80-to-20 relationship between effects and their causes.

Applying this to the business world, the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your company sales come from 20% of your customers. Alternatively, you could say that 20% of what you do represents 80% of that particular activity’s outcome.

So how does a brand manage its analytics and KPIs accordingly when 20% moves the business & 80% just makes noise? Remember it only takes one interaction to convert someone to be part of the 20% that moves the business versus being there. The other 80% of a brand’s customers/audience that just make noise are still important. As a brand, you don’t want to ignore them or disregard them from your data and marketing efforts.

Keep in mind that 20% is still a big number; big enough that if a brand were to lose them, it would feel the impact. Those customers providing the 20% of a brand’s sales may not command the full attention of your marketing budget and efforts. Nevertheless, they are still driving sales and engagement for the brand. What if a high-value enabler from the 20% leaves or disengages from the brand? The brand would have to scramble to replace and fill the gap that the enabler left. Remember if you keep the mindset that every person matters to your brand, you will be fine.

Gupta went on to explain key ways to sort through your audience to discover your top enablers and personify them through various advertisements and strategies.

1. Find diminishing returns through testing and learning.

2. Attributable registrations/weekly spend.

3. Never forget about multi-touch marketing attributes.

  • Billboards
  • Display Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Paid Search
  • House Ad

Final Note: When it comes to a brand maintaining consistent growth, there is one thing a brand has to consider daily: the incrementality of marketing their brand vs the performance of the brand.

Check out our full live Twitter recap for an additional summary of the Chicago Digital Summit 2018!