Digital Summit Los Angeles: Conference Recap – Making a Connection

Nik Scott, Social Media Strategist, University of Denver - Digital Summit: Los Angeles 2018Digital Summit is a nationwide marketing conference held in multiple cities every year. Marketers, vendors, business owners, and industry experts all come together for a digital summit to share their knowledge about the latest in digital marketing and predictions for what’s to come.

Digital Summit Los Angeles, held on April 10th and 11th, included two full days of presentations and workshops covering everything from video marketing to the future of social media to email tips. However, each session available at the marketing conference echoed one common theme: the importance of human connectivity.

Using Tech to Aid in Connection

Technology has greatly aided how we are able to connect to each other. With a touch of a button, you can see your loved one rather than just hearing a voice over the phone. That’s great. But is it helping us connect with each other? You still can’t feel a hug or make up for a poor internet connection that drops part of the conversation.

Although technology helps us make the connection, once you have a customer “on the line,” how do you engage? How do you get someone to care about what you’re saying? How do you create loyalty? In short, it comes down to how a person feels.

During Stefan Mumaw’s “Storybuilding: Crafting Brand Stories Worth Sharing” presentation, he focused on how marketers can use content to make a deeper connection with their audience. He speaks to the idea of getting someone to buy from your company is almost a residual effect from how you make them feel.

To illustrate his point, Mumaw shared a video (:90 and worth the watch) with a clear call-to-action, but it connected with our audience because of the story, which played out like a short film.

His point: a CTA may not be what’s actually compelling your audience to take action.

Who’s Listening to Your Digital Communication?

Ryan Phelan, VP, Marketing Insights, Adestra presented on day two of the marketing conference on what not to do in email marketing. The focus was on knowing your audience. For example, he says, one of the biggest mistakes email marketers make is sending data or information to people that they do not find valuable.

The idea is to automate our marketing message to the masses, which in theory, works wonderfully. However, for every scheduled email that goes unread or social post that goes unseen, how is technology helping us to connect? It will never achieve the goal of creating a meaningful connection unless we do some research first.

When launching an email campaign, ask yourself:

  • Who reads your emails?
  • Who do you want to read your emails?
  • When does your audience want to read your emails?
  • How often do they want to read your emails?

These questions will help you to identify how to create an email that builds the kind of community and community insights you want. By finding the right formula, you’ll achieve:

  • An increased open rate
  • An increased click-to-open rate
  • An increased interest in your content, in general

Then, most importantly, you’ll achieve a consistent value delivered to your audience on a consistent basis. This last goal is one that many fail to achieve.

Some brands provide consistent value but do a poor job of communicating this value to their audiences. Or, they deliver consistent communication without ever showing true value. You have to do both to make the connection meaningful.

Treat Video As More Than a Trend

University of Denver’s Social Media Strategist, Nik Scott, spoke about the “power of video.” There are several stats she highlighted to support her position. It’s clear that video is playing a bigger role in most marketing strategies. It might feel natural to want to jump on the bandwagon, but as with any content, the most important questions are: who is your audience and what is the story you want to tell?

One of the stats Scott presented was: over 65% of people are visual learners. What matters most is, what percentage of your audience are visual learners? While you may not be able to achieve a true number, you can start to segment into groups where people are consuming your content the most.

Is most of your audience on Instagram? Or, do people find most value by reading your blogs? Review your data to understand where people are connecting with you most. In today’s digital world and the short attention span of users, video is valuable because of how people retain information. Find out how to use this method of storytelling for your specific demographic.

Stats Are Just Stats

Stats are important, as is data, but if you don’t know what to do with these numbers, it makes it difficult to tell people why your brand will prove valuable to them. Data is an effective place to start, but it’s also about identifying at which point along the journey someone is connecting with you.

This connection doesn’t always directly lead to a sale. A connection is made when someone engages with your content on social media. It happens when someone is an active part of your community. You can see the value of connection from positive reviews and a strong brand.

When you are reporting on KPIs (and every business does), think about the ones that can be attributed to making the sale. In most cases, there are going to be several touchpoints along the customer journey before a sale is ever made.

How Do Your Digital Marketing Efforts Measure Up?

There are several contributing factors that will determine if a marketing campaign will be successful or not. All of the Digital Summit speakers either directly or indirectly said, it’s our job to create a sense of community or connection with our audience. Everything else – technology, automation, data, medium – are simply tools used to achieve that goal and community insights.

It’s easy to get caught up in the next big trend, content platform, or case study, but if you are not effectively communicating, then you’re not making a connection and your message (and efforts) will be lost.

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