Ponder This: Ideas From Digital Summit

If you were at Denver Digital Summit 2016, you know what a flurry of ideas it was – some of the best marketing minds in the country came together to share today's best practices and forecast what tomorrow's will be.
Here are some ideas that have lingered in our minds since.


Content marketers (still) struggle endlessly with measuring quick ROI, and so do the social media folks. 

Is the problem our inability to measure ROI, or the premise that we should be able to?

Some folks are providing ways to measure hard ROI with these soft marketing tactics, but it can still be difficult to get a holistic assessment of social and content marketing initiatives. It can be more difficult to convince your boss that it's all going to pay off.


We work with healthcare and technology clients and topics a lot, so this one made us wonder: In a situation where there are masses of data available (such as bioanalytics), where’s the sweet spot between the barrage of information and blissful ignorance?

Do I really need to know how my blood pressure fluctuates every five minutes?

In tech, analytics are already addressing this by acting as the filter between Big Data and the human beings on the outside. Companies we work with are clamoring for "single-pane" reporting solutions so managers can make sense of all the data coming in.

Are we headed toward something like that when it comes to our health? Are our smartphones about to become bioanalytics tools?

Do we want them to?

Here's one of the great truths of marketing today: If you wait to see what's winning in the marketplace, you're a step behind. The followers among us might remain solvent as companies (or not), but are they really ever going to get ahead? Over the last 40 years at Burns, we've seen plenty of upstarts come and go because the marketing world simply moved on without them.

And at no point has this happened as quickly, or as ruthlessly, as it does today.

Tell the truth, tech companies. Are you making your customers laugh? Is that really such a radical thought?
We know your style guide attempts to sanitize everything, but we bet you've got a little wiggle room in there somewhere. Make it count. Show your end user a bit of humanity and you might be surprised by the affiliation that comes from it.

Seriously, they are. PR is about making connections, sharing ideas, and connecting the dots.
So let’s do a thought experiment:
What can we learn from PR shops of 20 years ago, before all the digital complication? What did they do every day that can help us with our current challenges? Some ideas:

    They built personal relationships with the media and thought leaders
    They crafted their stories and publications meticulously
    They gave writing the time required to it right

One of the most important skills for a marketer today is being able to lean into innovations and new tools while remembering time-tested truths and techniques. We can learn a lot from the men and women who came before us.
Get Matt's whole presentation here