(Photo by Lindsay Podraza)
Imagine you’re at the mall, Zach Phillips said as he kicked off Tuesday’s Future of Digital Marketing Conference.
You stop at a window and look at a pair of socks for a few seconds and move on, but then a man appears from nowhere and begins screaming at you about the socks you were just looking at. For that matter, he’s yelling to anyone who will listen.
“‘If you pay the premium price, I’ll tell you what color socks!’” Phillips imagined the man yelling to other people in the mall. “This happens to us every single day.”
He’s not talking about screaming men in malls, of course, but about cookie-powered digital advertising on Google, other websites and social media.
“People say, ‘This is creepy,’ but it’s not,” Phillips said. “It’s much worse than creepy. It’s hostile.”
Phillips went on to explain why he believes that a better business model, which will create a loyal customer base, is to offer the best possible product for a fair price. True to the old adage, he said, you generally get what you pay for. Using that philosophy, he’s had success with his Wilmington film business, the Kitchen.
Often a human touch and sincerity is what’s missing in an ad campaign, Phillips said. “Consider what customers are interested in instead of just promoting yourself,” he said, saying, for example, that handing out a warm cookie instead of a crummy flyer would be much more effective marketing.
Phillips was just one of many who gave mini-presentations a la TED at the Delaware Innovation Week event, held at Theatre N at Nemours in Wilmington.
Here’s a look at the others:
Anthony Biondo, Biondo Creative founder and CEO, spoke about how to use the analytics of Google Tag Manager to help learn what’s working and what’s not on your website. “It helps you make changes to the site and get customers to convert,” he said. Check out Search Engine Land and Analytics Demystified.
Pauline Rubin, First Ascent Design cofounder, talked about the power of color on your website. “It takes 90 seconds to form an opinion on a brand, and a lot of that has to do with color,” she said. Understanding your audience — gender, age, culture — is key, as is research and split testing the success of conversion rates with different color buttons.
Emma Cowdery, marketing director of Global Delaware, and Carroll Ivy Laurence, co-owner and founder of Social Stylate, spoke about building your brand on social media. Pinpointing your business’ purpose is paramount, Cowdery said, as is flexibility in marketing strategy. They recommended considering your audience and what social media platforms they use, whether it’s Facebook, Periscope, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn or blogs. Pro tips: Use #netDE for anything Delaware-related (here’s the backstory of how that came to be), and don’t underestimate the power of hashtags.
Nick Matarese, owner and founder of The Barn Creative, wowed the crowd by saying tangible pieces of marketing are more powerful than simply relying on digital marketing.
“In a sea of digital marketing, non-digital and printed materials have two times the impact than before,” he said. “We’re bombarded with digital every day. We all get email, read it and throw it away.” Sending personalized, branded items to specific customers sends a strong message, as does having a business card that stands out. Matarese’s is wooden, and the card has won him business with big names like Disney. “I’m a micro-agency on Market Street in Delaware,” he said. “But it all comes down to being different.”
David Clunes, CEO and founder of the Encima Group, and his colleague, Richard Rood, told attendees how to stop wasting their advertising budget on unseen ads by using viewability metrics. Viewability tracks if an impression is in-view on a user’s screen. “It’s not impactful if a user never sees it,” Rood said. The best ads for viewability, they said, are inserted within the content of the page (not a header) and also those that are longer and vertical.
Justin Silva, the social marketing director of the Archer Group, presented on eight social media trends to watch for in 2016:
- Mobile and social will be synonymous. The number of mobile users has surpassed desktop users, he said.
- Social networks will fight for native videos. Particularly Facebook vs. YouTube, but Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter have gotten in on the video craze.
- Paid social media is no longer optional. Even Pinterest has buyable ads now.
- Social media will try to get you to buy items using the platforms as a purchasing medium. Silva doesn’t have high hopes for this one: “I think they’re ultimately going to fall flat.”
- It’s the year of the influencer. Marketers are pouncing on everyday folks who have become Internet sensations (think Vine stars, for example) to advertise their wares. Just Google “influencer marketing.”
- UGC (user-generated content) is more influential and trusted than ever before.
- Politics will overwhelm social media users’ feeds. In October, Facebook saw 1 billion presidential election-related interactions, Silva said.
- Social customer service is easier. Companies are increasingly using direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter to solve issues, he said.
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