This past week, the Digital Summit came to the Philadelphia Convention Center for a two-day conference focused on all things digital marketing. The lineup of speakers spanned industries and companies, from Pfizer to Facebook and from the Eagles to the Onion. Over the course of the conference, we networked with other digital professionals from around the world and watched presentations about what’s going on in digital marketing. The conference was full of great information and tons of action items we can’t wait to incorporate into our strategies. For now, here are three key takeaways:

Content Kept Coming Up

While a few speakers focused directly on content and content marketing, almost all of the speakers found a way to at least mention content and how it should be used in your marketing mix. What might have been an afterthought or an emerging trend a couple of years ago, content strategy has cemented itself as a core component of marketing and your business in general. You need to consider your content strategy in relation to SEO, your website, blogs, paid search, etc. And that’s just a start.

The first step in creating a content strategy is to define who your audience is by building out buyer/user personas. Talk to some of your customers, maybe conduct a focus group or a survey, do some secondary research too, and build your buyer personas in as much detail as possible. That will help you make sure you use the right message to the right customer.

Once you have an idea of the customer, think about what you are trying to achieve with this content. Are you looking for leads? Prospects? Just more traffic to your website? Answer these questions and then plan and create content accordingly Content marketing is a long-term process, so don’t be distraught if you’re still on square one – but definitely get started.

Make Sure You’re on top of Social Media

Many of the social media talks this year went past just making sure you have a strategy in place. Having a strategy in place has become the standard, now we’re tasked to fine-tune that strategy, analyze your results and adjust accordingly.

In order to analyze your results and ROI, you need to first think about what your goals are. If your goal is awareness, focus on impressions and engagement. If you want more website visits, you should look at stats like link clicks, page views and bounce rate. If you’re focusing further down the funnel and making sales, think about leads, conversions and revenue increase over time.

Then, of course, there is the issue of the new Facebook algorithm. This has been a hot button topic in digital marketing and media this year, and the impact is still being discovered. Before thinking about how to react to the changes, think about why the changes happened. One of the reasons Facebook made the changes they did is to maximize the amount of time you spend on their platform versus leaving for a different website. Basically, Facebook penalizes content that drives people off their platform. Avoid clickbait and create content and posts that encourage conversation and collaboration to avoid being penalized.

Innovation is More Than a Buzzword

Innovation is not a new concept, but nowadays you can’t go to a company’s website or read an article about startups without being bombarded by innovation, innovative practices and other buzzwords. Regardless of what you call it, creating a novel or unique way of adding value to your customer and differentiating yourself from your competition is integral to a successful business. You don’t need to think of innovation as a huge overhauls of the old way of doing things. Innovation is not something that only Google, Facebook and the like can do, anyone can innovate.

Innovative marketing starts with thinking about doing things differently, being creative and unique and considering ways to get people talking about, using, and buying your product. Stephanie Miller from Econsultancy spoke about everyday innovation and how even considering more consistent brainstorming tactics or refining a survey for customers can be innovative. The most important part of innovation is making sure that you want to be innovative. Once you’ve made that decision, the possibilities are endless.

These are only three of the major takeaways, and only a start to reconsidering your marketing strategy. Throughout most of the sessions, one consistent theme was making sure the marketing and advertising you do is always taking into consideration the funnel and where your customer is on their buying journey. The first step to a solid strategy is knowing who that customer is and where that customer is.

Not sure where to start? Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Christian Larsen

Christian Larsen is a Penn State Grad, pugilist, musician, and all-around renaissance man who makes his living from the written word.  When he is not engaged in content marketing strategy and search engine optimization he is plotting his next bocce ball move.