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5 Eye-Opening Takeaways from Digital Summit Philly 2016

This is Digital Summit Philadelphia, where the best and brightest digital marketers from around the country gather to share industry insights, analysis, and ideas. Think the Disney Land of digital marketing, and you’ll start to understand it.

Members of Quattro’s team had the pleasure of attending the digital marketing Summit this year. In our journals we furiously scribbled down notes from industry-leading players like Mitch Joel of Mirum and Scott Byrer of Adidas. These are the top minds in SEO, UX, Design, Development, and all other things digital marketing.

The best way to experience Digital Summit Philadelphia is to be there on the front lines, but if you couldn’t attend, we distilled our favorite takeaways right here (we couldn’t help but share). Check out our top 5 takeaways from DS Philly 2016:

1. Technology isn’t what it used to be. Neither are consumers.

This is not about computers becoming lighter and faster, or buyers growing smarter and more agile. The nature of technology is changing. Or, as Mitch Joel put it in his keynote address, “Technology is no longer ‘on you.’ It’s part of you.”

When you fired up your smartphone for the first time, did you use an instruction manual? Did your smartphone even come with an instruction manual? Technology is becoming so intuitive and integrated in our day-to-day lives that it will soon be inextricable from consumers’ reality.

Buying behaviors are already reflecting this shift. Buyers are increasingly paying for access, not things (think Netflix, Airbnb, Spotify, and Uber). They are becoming comfortable with the “impermanent” Internet (think Snapchat), and they want to share visual content with their friends, family, and the world (think Instagram and Facebook).



For marketers, the advice here is to consider the context. Content distribution, (specifically, where and how we distribute it), will become one of the most important considerations in the future. The classic mantra “be where your customer is” rings truer than ever. But rising to that challenge is becoming more complex as consumer habits shift.

2. No one has time for friction.

Users are busier and more distracted than ever. We can definitely relate. You probably can, too.

All these distractions create friction. Friction (in terms of UX) comes from the things that waste a user’s time, making them unhappy and less likely to transact with your brand. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at a slow-loading webpage or struggled to pinch and zoom on a site that’s not optimized for mobile, then you understand it.

As marketers, we need to fight back. In other words, we should design in ways that create a seamless user experience. According to Michael Barber, marketers can create less friction by using the “five C’s.”

  • Context – Be where customers are by adapting to the platforms and devices they use.
  • Compassion – Customer service and empathizing with your customers is huge.
  • Connectedness – Offline or online, strive to enable seamless customer experiences.
  • Convenience – Find ways to save customers’ time and simplify their experience.
  • Consistency – Always provide the same seamless user experience, with no surprises.

3. Design your personas for digital success.

Understanding your customers is key to creating a good experience for them. That’s where personas come in. But what should be included in a persona to best inform your digital efforts?

Whether you’re working on an app, a website, or another digital experience, here’s what to consider during your persona development:

  • What are your customers’ demographics?
  • Do they have any relevant past experiences?
  • What’s their technological ability?
  • What’s motivating them to visit?
  • What’s going on in their lives that might create a barrier to visiting?
  • Are there any other major factors influencing their decision?
  • Where are they in the buyer’s journey?
  • What would be their ideal digital experience?

To answer these questions, get creative! Conduct market research, or take a secondary approach through your Google Analytics data and frontline teams (sales reps, customer service, stakeholders, etc.) who can provide insights from their interactions with customers.

Persona development creates a guide for how to approach the content on your site, to whom it should address, where it should be placed, and more. Want to see how the final product might look? Check out the example persona Samantha Maltais shared during her presentation (and get a free persona template for your team to use).

4. What’s old (content) is new again.

Even the most well-written content can age quickly. Users’ search terms change, data becomes outdated, and pieces written around specific events (like holidays) become less relevant.

Here’s the thing – driving traffic to your site isn’t always about writing new content. There are ways to squeeze more ROI out of the content you’ve already created. Here are Quinn Whissen's steps to repurposing content:

  • Take inventory of your existing content – Use an SEO audit to identify which of your pages should take priority and to stay organized throughout the process.
  • Conduct a rankings audit – Use SEMRush or Moz to see what keywords you currently rank for.
  • Do keyword research – Which important keywords are you not yet ranking for, and which new keywords can you add to your existing content?
  • Target pages for updates – Decide which out-of-date or low-ranking pages to add new keywords to.
  • Update the content – Weave in your new keywords, add/update content wherever needed, and consider editing the title of the piece.
  • Amplify and measure – Promote your repurposed content on your channels, and measure against your KPIs to see what’s working or what needs additional improvement.

5. Digital Storytelling is both a science and art.

There are two parts to crafting a story people care about. First, find out who these people are (science). Second, provide them with content that enriches their lives (art).

After successfully identifying your audience through persona development, it’s time to build a story. Use these 4 rules to make sure they care about it:

  • Choose an archetype – Your story should accomplish at least one of the following things for your audience: make them laugh, make them cry, teach them a skill, or show them something they’ve never seen before.
  • Make it free and easy to access – This rule primarily applies to B2C marketers. But it is worth mentioning that the more walls you erect between your user and your content, the least likely they will be to consume it.
  • Properly invest in creation and promotion – Consumers expected something visually appealing and well written. Once you’ve generated quality content, disseminate it so that people can actually discover it.
  • Define success - What is the goal of this content? Is it an awareness play? A lead generator? Whatever the target, you need to have one so that you can measure its success and optimize it appropriately.

And there you have it! Was that enough to convince you to attend the Digital Marketing Summit Philly next year? We learned a ton. Just look how happy we were to be there:



*Takeaways and insight provided by Sarah Falchuk and Ryan Bonner.

Sarah Falchuk

Digital Marketing Manager

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