Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend the 2017 Social Media Masters Summit hosted by Digital Megaphone. Morningstar hosted the event, which was described as “Chicago’s premier digital marketing conference, featuring cutting edge sessions from top brand marketers.” I had a lot of fun learning from the accomplished speakers, networking with fellow professionals and admiring the awesome views from the 7th floor space (they had such a beautiful office – and an outdoor patio to boot!). Here are my top takeaways from my three favorite speakers at the summit.
- Engagement is key
Jon Harris, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer at Conagra, gave a great talk about the importance of modernizing the ways we market longstanding brands. Whereas in the old days the primary form of communication was a single audience in a front of a TV, now marketers spend 70 percent of their effort on platforms like social media and digital marketing. Getting lots of eyes on one epic commercial won’t cut it anymore – advertisers want consumer engagement and advocacy.
- Amazon is taking over the world… kind of
RJ Hottovy, a Consumer Equity Strategist from Morningstar, spoke to us about how Amazon is changing the retail industry with their recent acquisition of Whole Foods and launch of Amazon Wardrobe. Online retailers like Amazon are booming while lots of traditional store fronts are closing their doors. Soon Amazon could monopolize clothing (with Wardrobe) and food (with Whole Foods). While we live in Amazon’s world, the talk wasn’t all doom and gloom – to compete with Amazon, Hottovy gave brands three tips. First, specialize. It’s important to become a trusted voice for consumers. Second, give customers the utmost convenience; if you make buying/returning your product too hard, they’ll just order it off Amazon. And finally, give consumers an experience – they need a reason to leave the house and visit your store (instead of going online).
- Your product must be good
Lastly, I really enjoyed the presentation by Ash ElDifrawi, CMO of Redbox. He talked about the importance of good customer experiences and he gave us this quote which I really enjoyed: “Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is,” Marty Neumeier. You can have the best marketing in the world, but if you have a bad product, it doesn’t matter. Quality is key and reputation matters. To build a good product, you should solve a customer problem in a simple way and remember that your product is your brand.