Phew. Part 1 and Part 2: done. More work than I thought they would be. Demand Success withdrawals are here in full force and today’s Vocus webinar didn’t help as much as I needed it to.
So this post will hopefully knock out two things: finish my series on my time at Vocus’s Demand Success PR and marketing conference (you got me, it will definitely do that), and fulfill some of my “I miss Vocus” sadness. Ready, set, go!
Introducing Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist
AKA the best speaker at Demand Success. First off, his energy and enthusiasm for digital marketing was exactly what we all needed to wake up first thing in the morning (especially for the hung over folks, who he definitely called out as he took the stage). It was contagious, my friends! Secondly, he said some really, really smart stuff about analytics and “precision decisions.”
Sure, as marketers, we constantly hear and talk about the need for content. But sometimes, a blunt slap in the face is necessary. That’s what Avinash gave us. After that moment of shouting, he actually said something you wouldn’t expect from a Google employee: analytics aren’t everything. (That’s one of the things I loved the most about Avinash’s keynote. He spoke the truth and said what he thought was true, even if it wasn’t in his or his company’s favor. He even admitted that for certain goals, Bing Ads may be your best choice!) Companies focus too much on the sale. But, as Avinash put it, the sales department tends to focus on one-off closes, one night stands if you will. But, just like with romantic relationships, long-term connections are better in the long run. That’s why marketing needs to swoop in and draw more attention to the customer journey.
Marketers are a customer’s tour guide through the buying journey. (Tweet this) And because of how the buyer’s journey has changed, we need a new marketing model to accommodate it. Here is how Avinash sees it:
See how customer-centric that is? It doesn’t just consider emotion, like AIDA does. It one-ups that. It looks at what actions are driven by those emotions.
- When they’re in the awareness stage, they see your company. But that’s about it.
- When they’re considering your company, they’re thinking about their problems, if you can solve them, and if so, how effectively. They may desire your services at this point.
- Then they take action. They become a customer, or they don’t.
- But the journey doesn’t end there, unless it’s a one night stand. You have to satisfy them. Don’t let them regret their action. Make them care.
I love that this model takes customer loyalty into account, because it’s something that I feel like a lot of sales reps may not consider enough.
He didn’t just lay out a customer-centric marketing model. He also talked bout which marketing channels were best for different stages of the journey, and how to measure them. I doubt anyone walked away from this session unsatisfied.
A Marketer’s Guide to Being Too Big for Your Niches
The first regular session I attended was by the wonderful Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. She’s also pocket-sized and adorable, even though I’m pretty sure she’s still taller than me. But, I digress…
As I touched on in my Day 1 recap, there is a lot wrong with content marketing. We’re all creating content, or at least trying. One of my favorite quotes came from this session: “Content marketing is like sex in high school. Everyone says they’re doing it, but few are doing it well.”
And on top of poor content marketing, actual content strategies are as hard to find as a missing unicorn (don’t you love it?).
So, as you’ve heard before, we want to think like publishers…
- Publishers have a mission. They know what content needs to accomplish.
- Have pathological empathy for your audience.
- Build a subscriber model, where readers come to depend on you.
But thinking like a publisher isn’t enough:
- Don’t build one-off content campaigns. Build a content ecosystem within your organization.
- Don’t just tell stories. Tell them well.
- Place lots of small wagers on experiments. It’s the only way to reach your goal of innovation.
Next up was a session that brought out the space geek in me, which I didn’t realize was so geeky. Do you know why and how the flag waves in the footage of the moon landing? I do now!
So, NASA 360 talked about taking news and stuff from NASA and turning it into captivating social content for a new audience: millenials. NASA 360 produces an award-winning broadcast 30-minute television show, vodcast, and related online resources.
They take space stuff and “fun” it up through short video, content bites, and interesting visuals. What makes this content so successful? It creates engagement.
NASA 360 knows what their audience likes, gives it to them, and acknowledges audience members that react. Remember, social is about creating relationships and being…social. Their biggest takeaways:
- However you measure success at your organization, realize it’s your fans that got you there.
- Use visuals whenever possible – and I’m not talking about clip art.
- Celebrate milestones.
- Ask open-ended questions – they create more meaningful conversation than something that can be answered with just “yes” or “no.”
- Don’t be afraid to use humor. If you’re having fun with the content, there’s a good chance your audience is, as well.
- Don’t be afraid to fail (and don’t anger the cat lovers)
I just had to find a way to include that. Moving on…
Olivia Pope Really Exists (Kind Of)
As other sessions appealed to my space geek, numbers nerd, and more, the closing keynote brought out my inner Gladiator. The speaker was Judy Smith, the inspiration for the (amazing) TV show Scandal and the character Olivia Pope. Yay!
Time for a crash course in crisis communications from one of the biggest experts out there. The majority of the keynote was a Q&A, so there is way too much info for this post, but here are a few crisis management and public relations tips:
- Create a pre-crisis plan in addition to a crisis plan. Companies that do this have a 90% success rate.
- Don’t try to spin things. The truth will always come out eventually and if you try to hide it, it just makes you look worse in the end.
- “No comment” sucks. There are at least 20 ways to say you’re not going to comment without using the words “no comment.” Before communicating with press, make a list of possible responses.
So, finally, I’m done recapping Demand Success and can finally start catching up on the sleep I lost during it! Thank you to Vocus for putting on such a great conference!