October 30, 2017

3 Key Takeaways from the Digital Marketing Summit in Chicago

If you missed the 2017 Digital Marketing Summit in the windy city, or just want to compare notes, here are my 3 key take-aways from the speaker sessions.

1. The old marketing and technology dichotomy has a twist which cannot be ignored – cognitive computing.

Whether it is through chat bots to deliver immediate and consistent customer service, or retrieving deep and quick insights from your wealth of data, organizations that do not use cognitive computing to enhance their marketing capabilities will fall behind. Customers now expect you to respond quickly, know their purchase behavior, and only communicate relevant information. Trying to deliver on these expectations with scale is grotesquely ineffective and inefficient without the use of cognitive computing. In short, don’t fall behind – utilize cognitive computing capabilities within your marketing organization.

2. Content is still king and he’s accepting checks.

Several speakers focused on content creation at the Digital Summit in Chicago. One of my favorite sessions, not just on this topic but overall, was from Joe Fullman, VP of Marketing at The Onion. Fullman reassured the audience that sponsored content is not only acceptable, but nearing a necessity in the current marketing landscape. Trends show that the days of organic traffic to content are dying at best (sorry), so it’s time to move on and shamelessly plug your sponsors.

3. Your social platform is not a soapbox, it’s a kissing booth.

When customers have a complaint, they don’t mind sharing the intimate details in front of the social media world, and when people catch sight of the very public fight, others take notice. You need a plan for handling the bad and ugly public lashes at your brand. Similarly, people will stop and stare when there’s love being shared with your brand if not to participate themselves. Have a plan for sharing the affection so as not to showboat but let people know that your brand is worth the loyalty even if/when things go sideways. Not having a plan is simply not an option.

Overall, the Digital Summit was centered around addressing the age-old marketing imperative of how to deliver winning customer engagement, but in a rapidly changing digital world. Machines are as important now for accuracy, efficacy and efficiency as ever, content is no longer pure, and everyone, everywhere is watching.