Most conference experiences offer a few all-too-brief highlights, a lot of PowerPoint, and the slow realization that work is piling up back at the office. Luckily, last month I had the opportunity to attend Spark ’16, a digital marketing conference hosted by TrackMaven. It offered more than the typical conference experience, with excellent speakers, delicious food, and plenty of actionable takeaways.
Here’s some of the the best advice I heard at the conference.
1. “Listen to your customers like you’re on a first date.”
The heart of Noah Lomax’s talk was about getting to know and understand your customers. At HP, Lomax and his team have set up a private Facebook group to communicate directly with a group of 200 moms. Moms, it turns out, are often primary decision makers in new printer purchases. That seems counterintuitive, but it’s the kind of insight you get when you try to really understand your customers, instead of guessing and hoping for the best.
The team at HP uses the Facebook group to test new concepts that speak directly to their core group of customers. HP uses an application process to admit moms to the group. By listening carefully, they can identify pain points that wouldn’t have occured to them otherwise. For example, it’s very important that loading paper into a printer can easily be done with one hand. Why? How else are you going to load paper into a printer if you’re carrying a small child?
The group has allowed them to cut the amount of time it takes them to launch new concepts on social media from 3–4 weeks down to 3–4 days. Effective digital marketing is about understanding your customer and speaking directly to them. If you’re not listening, why should they care what you have to say?
2. “When content is everywhere, go deep.”
The reality of competing for attention on the internet is that you’d better stand out or you might as well go home. Shane Snow, of Contently and best selling book Smartcuts, pointed out that the only way to compete is to go deep. Rather than writing content marketing that’s practically indistinguishable from everything else on the internet, go deeper. Show your expertise, rather than settling for another article with the right SEO buzzwords that only scratches the surface.
Going deep will show the insights that you and you alone have gained and provide value that customers can’t get anywhere else. In an avalanche of nearly identical articles, unique expert content is key.
3. “Manage your priorities, not your time.”
Heidi Joy Tretheway, the Senior Marketing Manager at OpenStack Foundation, made a point that extends beyond just digital marketing. There are a million things that could or should be done in a business, whether on the digital marketing side or otherwise. Trying to manage your time to get everything done is a losing battle. Your team’s time doesn’t scale.
Instead, manage the priorities and gauge the importance of your tasks against them. When something doesn’t fit in your team’s priorities, don’t do it. Managing your priorities gives your team permission to say no.
The ability to focus is a major factor in what separates successful endeavors from unsuccessful ones, and nothing focuses people better than clear cut priorities.
If your organization is looking to reach more customers and needs an experienced team to implement these insights reach out to us.