Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Baltimore (Details Here). It was great to be surrounded by hundreds of other people who share a passion for marketing.
The focus of the day was to bring in speakers and panels to discuss where marketing is now, and where it will be in the near future. The leaders were made up of ad agency creatives, CMOs, marketing consultants and the marketing employees of some well-known area companies. There were many great ideas and insights throughout the daylong summit. Here are four takeaways I had from the day:
1. “Marketing is risk”
The above was a quote from Johns Hopkins CMO, Christopher Cullen, and it was also a theme throughout the day. You have to take risks, and be willing try different tactics to see what works for your brand. The CMO from WeddingWire, Sonny Ganguly, offered this as well, “fail fast.” You will fail when trying some new things, just make sure that you can recognize it quickly (Sonny says he can recognize within the first few weeks). To stay ahead of the curve, and find what will work best, try as many different things as you can. Be able to quickly recognize the risk, know that everything will not work, and react accordingly.
2. Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important
As we all know, many people today stay glued to their smartphones and tablets. I am more than guilty of this myself. This of course means that there is a new place to buy ad space, and popular social apps are making this space more available. Also coming out of this, is an increased importance for making your content mobile ready. Mobile apps are more and more becoming a necessity for brands. One great case study on the implementation and use of a mobile app was presented by Ian Richards, the Director of Production for AKQA, about the development of the Delta app (which many of you probably have and use). The app can simplify the boarding pass process, track flights and offers a cool feature to remember where you parked your car at the airport. Consider creating an app for your brand that will simplify things for your customers and separate you from your competitors.
3. Visuals are key
Another recurring point was that people today have short attention spans, but can be engaged by powerful visuals. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is an understatement today. Pictures and videos may be the only opportunity you will have to be noticed by your audience. Steve Sommers, the VP of Global Brand Marketing at Under Armour, talked about their “What’s Beautiful” campaign, and how it engaged customers by allowing them to post their videos and pictures (See here: http://whatsbeautiful.ua.com/). Jake Lefebure, CEO of Design Army, went over some case studies of how their clients utilized their creative photography to instantly engage. With everyone carrying camera phones, you can easily and cost effectively humanize your brand and engage customers.
4. Create a crisis plan
Being equipped for the age of instant gratification can have its downfalls at times, too. An example that came up a couple of times of social media gone awry was KitchenAid’s recent twitter incident (Read here). Make sure that you have a crisis plan ready in case anyone makes a Facebook post or Tweet that could potentially cause some backlash. There was a debate on whether to delete the questionable post once noticed (it surprised me that most people seemed to lean towards not deleting). Just make sure you have a plan in place for any potential mishap.
It will be interesting to see how marketing evolves over the coming years. How big will the social media and mobile pieces of the pie become? Where will the resources have to be taken from for these pieces? What new technology will breakthrough? How will marketing and advertising be applied? As crazy as it will make us, I’m sure it will be fun along the way.
Author: Chase Howells
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