Digital Summit: Minneapolis Conference Recap

conversations to have with your marketing teamAs marketers, we have so many ideas, strategies, deadlines, etc. cramming our schedules day in and day out, that sometimes we forget to stop, breathe, and reassess. Although forging ahead may be the popular pace in most agencies and companies, the idea of pausing to reflect has started to shift from being a luxury to being a necessity.

Digital Summit holds conferences across the U.S. every year. At this year’s Minneapolis stop, I got to hear from speakers Seth Godin, Ashley Zeckman, Ann Handley, and Mack Fogelson, among others.

The common theme at the conference was focused on connecting people rather than marketing to them. What does that mean? And how can that be applied when you’re responsible for showing results of your efforts? Here’s a recap to get you started. 

#1: Figure Out If You Are in the Business of Marketing or Announcing

Best-selling author Seth Godin prompted this question to the audience in the conference’s opening keynote. He wanted us to “think hard about what more means.” How many meetings have you been in where you’ve been asked to produce more deliverables, content, revenue, the list goes on and on. But how many times have you have had a fleshed out, start-to-finish strategy to execute?

A strategic plan, which includes measurements and testing, is the difference between marketing your product or service and announcing it’s available. For example, don’t write a blog post and then add a few images, an irrelevant CTA and think you can call it a day. There needs to be strategy behind every piece of content you put out. As Godin points out, ask yourself:

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s it for?
  • Is this something that matters to our customers/clients?
  • What is the goal?

He also mentioned you may have to build your audience slowly in order to really switch the mindset from announcing to marketing. You can send your company to an audience of 1,000 but if no one is responding or engaging with it, building it “2×2” means you’ll at least start to understand who’s interested in what you’re saying and who isn’t.

#2: Test, Test, Test – Even If It Fails

When teams aren’t strategic and consumers are overloaded, everyone gets burnt out and nothing is achieved.

We have to be unafraid to test new things. Innovation comes from failure, trying, and testing. Once you find a sweet spot of an innovation that’s working, capitalize on the moment. Ashley Zeckman mentioned in her session that when they repurposed a blog with 2K views as an ungated SlideShare, it led to 36K additional views.

You have to be willing to stretch yourself beyond what you’ve always done to get to the next level of results. Rather than banging your head against the wall exhausting an idea that doesn’t work anymore or doesn’t work as well as it could, allow your teams to innovate, test, and yes, sometimes fail.

#3: Make It Personal

Before you send your next email campaign, ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it another task to check off your list or are you providing something of value to the people who will appreciate it most? According to Campaign Monitor, segmented email campaigns led to 760% of increased revenue. That means the email was sent with a purpose to a specific target group who gained value from the message in some way.

Maybe you’re thinking you don’t have that kind of data yet to segment audiences. You have to start somewhere. One of the gems from this session was a quote from Ryan Phelan, which is “Do one new thing a week.” It’s called incremental innovation and is the only way you can move from what’s not working to something that does. It may not happen all at once. So give yourself and your strategies some time to work.

IMI also attended HustleCon this year. Check out the recap.


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