Five Takeaways from the Digital Summit Denver

July 13, 2015
June 16-17, 2015, Denver Center for the Performing Arts

By: Christin Jeffers, Digital Marketing Specialist, PSA Security Network

Sometimes in the haste of life and work I forget how much I love to learn.  The 2015 Digital Summit in Denver included two jam packed days of education sessions that reminded me how fun it can be to spend serious time soaking up new information while taking a breather from the daily hustle. It fired up my creative cylinders and I left energized and excited about being a marketing professional.

I attended a variety of sessions focused on topics from analytics and content marketing, email and social media, to technology and video. As a marketer who focuses primarily on digital, these insightful sessions got my wheels turning in terms of how we can ramp up our own digital strategy here at PSA.

These are some of my favorite takeaways from the event:

1.    EMAIL is NOT dead. You may have heard that email died with the emergence of other digital media – like social – but it’s still very much alive. According to presenter Christopher Lester, 94 percent of people check email. Speaker Michael Barber said our inbox is the number one used product on the planet. He added that email interactions are up, ROI is strong and email data complements other channels such as social.

Takeaway: Don’t rule out email marketing out as an effective tool, but be aware that it has changed and you need to evolve with these changes if you want email opens and engagement. Considering  that 78 percent of email is considered spam (Michael Barber), make sure you are using effective subject lines and pre-headers to avoid being dumped into the spam box.DS2

2.    Mobile is everywhere. According to Forrester predictions, smartphones and tablet commerce will reach $293 billion in sales by 2018. Perhaps the most entertaining of all stats from the Digital Summit came from Michael Barber’s presentation – 65 percent of baby boomers, 80 percent of Gen X and 91 percent of Gen Y are using their mobile phones in the bathroom! What does that mean? Email needs to be portable and accessible from just about anywhere. People are on the move and are increasingly checking email on mobile devices.

Takeaway: If your emails are not mobile responsive then forget about effectiveness. Every component of an email, from subject line to font size to layout and content, must be carefully considered in order to create a mobile friendly email.

3.    Videos and images are a delicious addition to the digital marketing pie. There are so many things you can accomplish with videos. Take your audience on a customer journey or show the human side of your business. Images are often the single piece that stands out in an overloaded inbox. Michael Lester provided a statistic from the Nielsen Norman Group that said 80 percent of people are only scanning emails. We need to remember this as marketers. In order to grab our audience’s attention we need a solid headline and images that capture the essence of the message.

Takeaway: Let images do the talking and use video across marketing channels. People quickly process your images. A good image can be the reason they decide to engage with your content. Videos can help you make this connection in a more personal way.

4.    Content marketing is BIG in 2015. Consider these statistics presented by Melissa Joy Kong:

•    86 percent of B2B marketers engage in content marketing efforts

•     77 percent of marketers will increase content production in the next three months

Content marketing was a significant topic at the Digital Summit. It ties into every digital marketing channel and a solid content strategy will lead to success down the road.

Takeaway: If you haven’t already, you need to implement a content marketing strategy. Storytelling and customer experiences are important ways that brands engage with their audience through digital media – and this is true for both B2B and B2C businesses.

5.    Automate your data collection.  Matt Hertig from Alight Analytics discussed how fragmented the marketing data ecosystem has become. In just a few years, the number of marketing services, platforms and tools has grown from just a couple hundred to thousands. This causes a lot of disparate data pulled from a multitude of sources. When data pull is done manually marketers are making big decisions based on a small amount of information.

Takeaway: Providing data and marketing analytics is still a huge challenge for marketers, but aggregating and funneling information leads to better marketing decisions whenever possible.

By making education a priority for a couple of days, I got a first-hand look at these digital marketing trends and strategies from top digital marketers. I left the conference with some big takeaways and new ideas for PSA’s digital strategy. It also was a good reminder that I will forever be a student of my craft and I need to take time to learn in order to grow as a professional.