ExactTarget Connections Conference Reflections: Part 2

By Jana Ferguson in Direct Marketing on September 20th, 2013

We have just completed the final day of ExactTarget’s Connections Conference!  Day 3 consisted of insight into the specialized tracks across mobile, social, B2B, design, automation and more. Here are our highlights and major takeaways.

Condolezza Rice

Our favorite speakers included Condoleezza Rice (seen above), who shared her personal stories and beliefs on how to lead within. In addition, we were inspired by Shar Van Boskirk, Principal Analyst at Forrester.  Boskirk did a great job outlining how companies need to change their marketing approach due to the Mobile Mind Shift – customers now expect to get what they want, when they want it, on any device.  Boskirk's three guidelines in preparing for the Mobile Mind Shift were: 1. Use email as a gateway to cross channel experience
  • There is a consumer shift from a historically negative attitude to more positive towards email
  • Forrester expects 10% YOY growth in email over the next several years
  • Email remains the most cost-effective channel
  • It’s an incredible collector of data
  2. Shift to a customer-centric experience
  • Move from channel-specific optimization to longitudinal optimization (measuring customer interactions across channels)
  • Take a more adaptive approach to data (audit existing data sources, identify key inputs and develop a marketing technology officer)
  • Guide customers through specific goals based on lifecycle management (interest, intent, purchase, loyalty, engagement, repurchase)
  3. Create a unified, not uniformed, experience
  • Match brand, message, content and features to the device the customer is utilizing at that time (web = learning and selling, social  = connecting customers with peers, mobile = geo/offer info)
  Another great session was given by Jeff Rohrs, VP of Marketing at Exact Target and author of Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers.  Jeff talked at length about content marketing, and the other side of the coin, which is the audience of said content.  After all, content without audience isn’t worth anything.  He discussed the importance of determining the value of your proprietary audience (fans, followers, subscribers) and then allocating marketing dollars to driving a bigger audience.  Interesting note: only two of the ads in the Super Bowl this year asked for people to subscribe, follow or fan.  Everyone else just paid for an impression that may or may not have sold in the moment.  No one else except for Oreo Cookies and Axe (men’s hair product) did anything to drive audience growth and ongoing engagement. Then, when it comes to content, consider moving to an asset-based mentality.  Don’t just push performance on marketing campaigns, but think also about measuring performance by content.  After all, Content serves a great value to your audience: it’s the loyalty driver, the warm-up act, continues the visibility of your brand and “primes the pump” for purchasing and repurchasing.  One of our favorite sayings from Rohrs, “A Like is a Gateway Click.”  It’s an introduction to your brand, but it’s the brand’s responsibility to move that like to greater fandom. We also enjoyed hearing some of the best thought leaders in digital strategy including Uber, Pinterest, BazaarVoice, Haute, Gap, Deloitte, OpenText and Return Path, just to name a few.  We look forward to the convention next year and the opportunity to witness all the digital innovation between now and then!