Last week, four giants attended Inbound 2016, a marketing conference focused on new methodologies and best practices. Held in Boston, the conference was chock full of interesting keynote speakers and breakout sessions designed to inspire and provide actionable items once attendees got back home to their respective inbound marketing agency or business. Over the course of the week, many different topics were touched upon and each giant wanted to share their biggest takeaway from Inbound 2016.
Phillip Oakley – CEO: It's no secret that the way consumers are interacting with brands is changing, but I'm constantly surprised at the lethargic attempts of some brands and agencies to accept this transition. Placing the same content on new channels isn't the answer. Agencies need to guide brands on producing valuable and entertaining content that earns trust and builds relationships. Period. Gorgeous photography, tasty design and brilliant copy isn't good enough on its own. Marketing without storytelling is forgettable. Inbound 2016 solidified that for me, and provided valuable lessons for helping our agency continue our transition in the coming year.
Maura Marziano – COO: According to recent studies, companies with women in leadership roles perform better financially than those that do not. However, women are severely lagging behind men in clenching executive jobs. The challenge remains in developing paths for women as leaders and changing perceptions of leadership itself. Successful leaders are often perceived as dominant, forceful and competitive; traits many people associate with masculinity. Females are often either seen as weak leaders when they do not exhibit those traits, or they're penalized for acting outside of the expected norms when they do. One way to enable female leadership and the rewards it brings is to incorporate a pipeline for female leaders as part of your business plan. Have an environment where women can practice leadership skills and receive real-time feedback. In order to affect cultural change, we must encourage women and young girls to take risks, fail and get back up again. Role models for women must evolve, and the current cultural mores that deter girls and women from leadership roles must be challenged. “You cannot be what you cannot see.”
Rajesh Bangdiwala – Account Director: Whether you have a product or service, the context in which you present it can make all the difference. All too often companies expect their products to speak for themselves without considering where their customers are finding their information. A great example of overlooking context is when companies are unintentionally offensive on social media. Knowing the origin of a specific hashtag can be the difference between a clever turn of phrase that delights your audience or damaging your reputation.
Thomas Donahue – Copywriter: In the world of social media and short attention spans, video is key. It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top production, it just has to show some character and while getting the message across. This can be accomplished with prerecorded content or even done through livestreaming. The concept of livestreaming through social media platforms is still in its infancy, however, companies are already having great success connecting with their customers through it. A great example is John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, who livestreams and answers questions every weekend while hosting a show called Slow Cooker Sundays. While blogging and other written content are still very important, give some attention to videography in your marketing efforts.
So there you have it. Storytelling is becoming essential in marketing efforts and it simply can’t be ignored any longer. Women in leadership roles are helping to expand and differentiate company culture. Context is everything for your product or service and is needed to establish and retain your company’s reputation. Finally, if you haven’t thought about video as a way to market your offerings, now is the time to get on board. Marketing is an ever-changing animal and those who adapt will see great results for themselves and their clients. Take advantage of these ideas before your competition and you’ll be on the fast track to success.