When I walked through the entrance of DX3 2019, I was welcomed by Promobot, an autonomous robot designed for business and marketing purposes.
Its eyes moved and its head lit up as it engaged in conversation. It was weird; I knew I had enough when it asked for a picture.
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This guy is going to steal all the #marketing jobs, including mine. Just kidding, I have no idea what this does. #dx32019 #digitalmarketing #marketing #toronto #smallbusiness #entrepreneurs #innovation #strategy #seo #branding #business #advertising #advertisingagency #searchengineoptimization
It was a fitting introduction to Canada’s largest marketing, retail, and technology conference, featuring over 50 discussions with North American thought leaders.
I gleaned a lot from each keynote, panel, and fireside chat, and noticed some themes rang consistently from discussion to discussion:
- Creative is the single most important part of advertising.
- You must never fear change in a dynamic industry. There are two options: adapt or die.
- Commuting around downtown Toronto during rush hour is an experience I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through.
Here’s what else we learned…
…on boring ads:
- Engagement is the most important metric with ads today; interactivity in ads emerges through the hundreds of ads people see daily; our lives are saturated with desiccated ads that we’ve become desensitized to
- Today’s most successful ads provide some action – 360 video ads, shoppable video, mini games, etc.
- Along with engagement, ads must gain attention and trust
- There are four main ad principles that people remember:
- Elevation – raises the stakes; add intensity to make an emotional connection; do something unexpected
- Pride – challenge people; build towards a common identity
- Insight – help people gain an understanding of the things around them
- Connection – strengthen bond with the brand, deepen ties with people
- Good place for businesses without brand recognition to get their name out there – 97% of searches on Pinterest are unbranded
- Aids in a consumer’s early research, or the consideration phase of the buyer’s journey
- Pinterest can create inspiration in people’s lives (I want to try this recipe, I want to visit this destination)
- These experiences and inspirations lead to transactions
…on the importance of reviews:
- Hand-in-hand with the rise of voice search, Google will only recommend businesses with 4.0+ review scores on a search
- Reviews are a form of important consumer engagement; you need to ‘hug the haters’
- Reviews are seen as a spectator sport – everyone’s watching, so you need to respond with tact
- Some tips:
- Get back to customers fast (40% of people expect a response in an hour or less)
- Put thought into your responses; avoid cookie-cutter, impersonal answers
- Respond to all reviews 3 stars and below
- Ask for feedback
- Remember that reviews are a form of marketing
- Businesses that respond to reviews increase their star rating by an average of ¼ star; retail businesses jump ½ star on average
…on starting and scaling a business:
- Discussed by Endy’s co-founders, it’s not just about the product, but the consumer experience with the product
- Endy’s built their product experience around embedded virality, or an experience that could go viral (unboxing a large mattress from a box)
- Need to be different with branding; don’t be afraid to tell people why you’re great
- Have consumers do the talking for you
- Online is important, but don’t ignore offline marketing, too
- Know the Canadian consumer if Canada is your market – they’re smart and practical, and simply want a good product
…on brands using marketplaces to expand:
- eBay and Amazon helps people find like-minded communities, and builds relevancy for brands
- Marketplaces provide common value for brands; different than a typical 1:1 relationship
- Brands should accept marketplaces as a unified space, not a competitive one; building a cohesive experience for the consumer will lead to success
…on keeping brands relevant during disruptive times:
- To break through all the distractions we have now (social media, iPhones, tablets, etc.), brands need to create value; show you can change consumers’ lives
- Time is valuable and limited, so your brand must show it’s worth attention
- Use that short span of consideration to start a longer conversation; you can’t sell them in the moment, so try to build a rapport
- Recognize that it’s a long journey to build a relationship
- One example is to understand what customers are looking for when they’re on a device, and how to be relevant in that picture. Non-marketing content like education or ‘selfless acts’ are leaps of faith worth taking to build brand awareness
- This won’t pay immediate dividends, but is worth it in the long run for customer acquisition and relationships.
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