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DIGITAL IS HUMAN / A Dallas Digital Summit 2014 Recap

by Grant Chambers
4 min read

We just returned from an invigorating Dallas Digital Summit where approximately 1,500 digital marketing experts from around the world convened to discuss trends and the future of how we, as marketers, can be more effective. Hat’s off to the organizers of this event for packing an incredible amount of information coming from knowledgeable, prepared speakers into a 2-day event, complete with great accommodations and hospitality. We’re already looking forward to next year.

Above all the buzzwords, a common theme seemed to resonate loudly.

Digital Marketing must simplify, clear the clutter and focus on providing value to the end user (ie – the Human).

It’s not about IoT, Big Data, Omnichannel or other buzzwords and it’s not about the latest software. It’s not about how to trick Google or how to get a bazillion social followers. It’s about the humans we’re trying to connect with and help. It’s about delivering the right message at the right time, and in a way that helps the end user (ie – customer) understand how you can help them. It’s about creating a website, mobile app or other product that’s built based on an understanding of how the end user is going to gain value from it.

This was music to our ears and validation that we’ve been doing things the correct way (ok – mostly correct) for some time. At the beginning of any project, you’ll usually find us saying “Who is your audience/customer, what value are we trying to provide them, how are we trying to communicate with them, and what action(s) do we want them to take.” We’ve always felt this should drive any and all projects. If we all understand this up front, then we’ll produce something that has the best chance of helping our client succeed.

Now don’t get me wrong – we need technology, software and all of the tools that are flying around out there. But at the end of the day, those are just tools we must corral, and use them to impact and serve humans.

Highlights From DDS

Marketing Automation

In the past few years, software like InfusionSoft and Hatchbuck has become available, affording small businesses the opportunity to have marketing automation sophistication, similar to what enterprises have experienced for years using systems like Eloqua or Marketo. While these systems are excellent, and we are “all-in” for marketing automation, the real work and results come from the inputs into the system. And those inputs must come from devising a marketing automation strategy based on a thorough understanding of the end user and how we are trying to serve them.

Email Marketing Is Not Dead

We’ve said this for years, and were excited to see two sessions devoted to email marketing. In our marketing efforts, we continue to see outstanding results for our clients through email marketing. So what were our take-aways from DDS? You guessed it – treat your subscribers as individuals, not as one big list. Personalize and deliver more relevant and useful content by using their name, understanding their location, their birthday, their purchase history and more. Further, keep your emails simple, brief and make sure your CTA’s (Call To Action’s) are finger-ready because more than 50% of all emails, on average, are opened on mobile devices.

Mobile Usage

Mobile usage continues to go up and up, and will probably reach 50% of all traffic at some point in the next year or two. Any marketing campaign or digital property must absolutely consider the mobile experience.

The new SEO… It’s Real and Local

The most recent change by Google, “Penguin 3.0” and “Pigeon”, have continued their trend toward rewarding websites that are genuinely trying to provide a good user experience and relevant content to its users. True to it’s origins, Penguin continues to push SEO marketers to focus on expanding websites with content that is relative to the brand/company, and useful toward helping their customers (or potential customers) do things better.

The Pigeon update, which went live earlier this year, has changed the local search game drastically. An outstanding presentation by renowned SEO expert Greg Gifford taught us a lot about how to prepare a website for optimal local search results.

Rapid Prototyping

We loved this one. There are so many software’s and processes out there to help with the first “D”, Discovery. What did the top digital marketers in the world suggest? Use whatever is simple and convenient for you, and what is going to help you get ideas to paper/screen in the quickest way so the roadmap can enter review and feedback sooner rather than later. This helps form a real roadmap, early on. So when the project hits design and then development, it has a smaller chance of needing drastic revisions, thus, saving us all great time and money.

What should you use? Sketch it on a whiteboard or paper, use keynote, use PowerPoint…it really does not matter as long as its simple, quick and helps advance early stage critical thinking.

In summary, we left the conference feeling enthusiastic and energized to get back to the ranch, and to continue figuring out better ways to help small businesses achieve great marketing results through simple, affordable programs. If you are one of those small businesses, give us a shout and let’s see how Workhorse Marketing can help you grow.

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