“Stay curious. Be passionate. That’s our job as marketers.” -David Shing

Interactive Day San Diego

Last week, my home town hosted one of the West Coast’s premier one-day digital marketing and ad technology events, Interactive Day San Diego, with more than 1,200 marketers in attendance.

What is Interactive Day? Imagine an entire day with thought leaders covering every aspect of digital marketing, including four keynote speakers, 20 breakout sessions, and an industry tradeshow where exhibitors offered chair massages, temporary tattoos, Yo-Yo’s, and even prizes for a few skilled tosses of Cornhole.

Energetic keynote speakers and industry experts packed the day’s agenda. Highlights of the day included a lively morning keynote about trends and the evolution of the online landscape by AOL’s Digital Prophet David Shing (and his unforgettable wild hair and zebra pants); insights into “Why Content Marketing Fails” by Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz; and a detailed look at “Winning the Moments That Matter” by Kelli Prakash, agency lead at Google.

Aside from the cake pops, the flavor of the day was all about utility, digital, big data, and how we need to simplify it all in our marketing efforts. David Shing, or “Shingy,” summarized this perfectly in the morning keynote:

“People are being treated like a one night stand with digital news.”

This sure woke everyone up! Shingy alluded to a very real problem of media overload, which he said happens to be the sixth largest contributor to stress!

Let’s face it:  The Internet has accelerated marketing at dizzying speeds. Marketers and their agencies face constant challenges to improve strategies and push out new ideas, which get quickly transformed by technology. As a result, marketers have to be digital storytellers – part artists and part scientists.

Several speakers pointed out that today’s kids are born connected. Interactions with devices have become natural. We download app after app when, in reality, according to Dennis Yu, Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics, we only regularly use five to six apps on average.

Keep calm

As a result, we have become a culture obsessed with time and a deep-rooted drive to continually engage; we have failed to notice that the convenience of staying connected has become a stress-inducing burden.

As Shingy pointed out, “The one thing that we fear is killing us.” He referred to the fear of missing out, also known as “FOMO.” And it only seems to get worse as technology forces us to realize that there’s more and more to miss out on.

In addition to FOMO and media overload, today’s consumers expect information immediately. Thad Kahlow from Business Online noted that we have become fixated on leads as opposed to the business outcome, and as digital marketers we have the keys to the castle.

Key Takeaways from Interactive Day

So what should we do about this media overload? Here’s a quick summary of key takeaways from the conference’s experts to avoid becoming and/or creating digital junkies.

  • Embed your brand authentically across platforms. –  David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet
  • Create an experience where it gives people a reason to share. – Melonie Gallegos, Founder and Chief Social Strategist of Fandom Marketing
  • Simple can still delight.Jeremy Duimstra Co-Founder and CEO of MJD Interactive
  • “Good enough” content performs well when a community is behind it. – Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz.

Kelli Prakash at Google detailed “Winning the Moments That Matter.” In these moments, she said we expect to receive the information that we need, when we need it and where we need it. Marketers should always be thinking about which moments matter most to your business, how will you be present at all of those moments, how will you deliver relevance to gain customers, and, finally, how will you measure and maximize those results? Prakash broke this into three pillars:

  1. 1. Be there.
    • Across devices
    • Key times of the day
    • Every state of the journey
    • Across the web
  2. 2. Be relevant.
    • Search intent and context
    • Content, behavior, demographics, and interests
  3. 3. Be optimized.
    • Formats and creative
    • Attribute throughout the purchase journey
    • Measure all types of conversions
    • Continuously Improve

OK, with all the expert guidance digested, here are my own takeaways from Interactive Day:

Measure and analyze!

The best performing brands don’t use crystal balls to decide the best course of action. They follow marketing savvy leaders, conduct extensive research, and consult digital analytics before making decisions and strategies. We all want to market our business and rise above the noise; it’s imperative that we measure the true influence behind the noise.

Be real and be human, but most of all be present with your marketing.

Slow down long enough to consider what is most important and useful to your audience. Slowly, steadily, and intentionally move in the direction of that purpose, and our marketing will rise above the noise.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci 

Author Bio:

Karisa Macias has extensive expertise in local search, digital marketing, and technology.