12 Best Quotes & Lessons from DSD15 (Part 3)

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We were fortunate enough to send several staff members to Digital Summit Denver 2015 and they kindly shared some of the most notable takeaways from the event. Read on to discover 12 of these gems.
  • The face I make when someone asks me how content affects SEO. – Michael King | @iPullRank


Yes, Michael King threw it back – way back to the era of Diff’rent Strokes – to make his point. The face says it all: content has become an inseparable part of SEO. What’s the bottom line? You can’t have a comprehensive organic search strategy without a proper content plan (and vice versa). And the beauty of building your own audience via optimized content, King says, is that your ROI goes up because you no longer have to pay rent to the media. Now that’s worth talking about, right, Willis?
  • Brands are no longer in control of their email conversations with people. Let people take control, or risk destruction of a valuable channel. – Michael Barber of barber&hewitt

I’ve been a fan and follower of Michael Barber since last year’s Digital Summit. He’s a great speaker, nice guy, and really gets email. So when Barber says, “email sucks,” I listen. Sure, there are the stats:
  • 78% of email sent is spam
  • 94 billion spam messages are sent PER DAY
  • $20 billion: cost of all spam to the global economy
But it’s what he said about the lack of caring about this channel that really hit home. Email sucks because we, as marketers, have ignored it. For the last five years, we’ve been fixated on the new and shiny object (think Buzz Lightyear, and in this case, we’re talking about social media and content marketing). And all while overlooking the tried-and-true Woody that is email. (Bonus points for Toy Story reference?)

In those five years, a TON has changed with email, including the mobile-first movement, simplified spam filtering and the emergence of layered reputation data, just to name a few shifts. So please note that email is NOT dead. It is still grossly relevant. But only if we make it suck less, says Barber. He offers three “P’s” to help:   These “P’s” are powerful and humbling. They remind email marketers that we actually have to care about caring. Because if we care, everyone wins. But if we’re careless, adios email as we know it!  

Slide deck: Customers trump analytics: Why your email marketing is about people not metrics
  • Why is it that some urinals know I’m in front of them, but your marketing doesn’t know I’m there? Chris Brogan

I have asked myself the exact same thing. Okay, no I haven’t. But I have noticed that although we seemingly have a world of data analytics accessible to us, so many marketers fail to put it to use. Chris Brogan, one of the excellent keynote speakers at Digital Summit Denver, stressed how important it is for companies to find their value-add opportunity.

People want to do business with brands that talk to them directly, he said. Brands that smile at them, and are friendly and helpful. Like Sullivan Tire in the New England area, who has repeatedly gone above and beyond to deliver top-notch service to Brogan (and countless other satisfied clients). I mean, just take a couple minutes and read these two go back and forth on Twitter over the years… it’s a perfect testament to the true value of genuine relationship over salesy self-promotion.   
  • Nobody reads a recipe on a cake box and thinks, ‘There is no way I can trust Betty Crocker on this one.’ – Melanie Deziel of Time

If content is king, well, then content in context must be a California King. To tee this gem up, Melanie Deziel, Creative Strategist at Time Inc., shared a statistic from Kentico: 74% of people trust educational content from businesses in their area of expertise. People trust a recipe on a Betty Crocker cake box because it’s relevant and authoritative. So how do you ensure your content is awesome and actually adds value? Deziel urged content creators to identify their power by asking these four questions:
  1. What do I have the authority to speak on?
  2. What is already being said about that topic?
  3. Can I add a unique perspective?
  4. Can I present it in a new way?
Ben Aaker is a project manager at Burns Marketing. 
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