The Art of Marketing is a one-day conference that took place in Vancouver on September 17th. An annual event held across Canada, it brings some of the world's greatest thinkers and authors to talk about marketing trends, research, discoveries and best case practices. In the past, they've brought on speakers such as Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Robert Cialdini and more. Held this year in the Vancouver Convention Centre, the conference brought together over 1,200 marketers from across the country.
Here's how I describe the conference in a short two-word summary: freakin' awesome.
I left the conference feeling confidence. Confidence that marketing is headed in a positive direction. it's not about impersonal marketing anymore. It's about connecting with people, building relationships, and giving true value. It's a role that I see myself being in and enjoy doing.
At the end of day, I had over 20 pages of notes from 6 speakers. As my way of helping to spread the word about the event, I've typed up a recap of The Art of Marketing. Below, I'm giving my 5 most important takeaways from each speaker, and 1 single action as a business owner and marketer.
Eric, along with co-founder Adam Lowry, are the minds behind Method, a brand of environmentally friendly cleaning products.
- People do their best work as themselves. People want to be themselves at work. Eric says his company is a little weird, but that's exactly how they like it.
- Don't sell products. Sell a philosophy. To inspire brand advocates, sell a method of living. Inspire a form of lifestyle. Don't just sell them your plain old dish soap. (Replace dish soap for software, cupcakes, and so on.)
- Everything is a beta test. Don't be afraid to try new things. Be constantly improving.
- The bigger you get, the smaller you act. Remove hierarchy in your company. At Method, the company doesn't employ a receptionist. Everyone takes turns being a receptionist. Stay level-headed.
- Write, speak, and make products for just ONE person. This person looks right back at you in the mirror. Ask yourself two questions: "What would you use for yourself? Would you use your own product?"
Action: Write down the philosophy that your company embraces. What values do you stand for, and how are you communicating these values to your customer?
Jonah is the New York Times bestselling author of Contagious, a book that explores why some things are more popular than others. He's also an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Wharton.
- Craft contagious content. Technologies come and go. Rather than thinking about how people share, focus on why they share.
- Make people feel like insiders. Everyone loves the exclusivity of knowing a juicy secret. Make your consumers look good, and they'll talk about you along the way.
- Find the inner remarkability. What's surprising, novel or interesting about your product? Anything can be remarkable if you show it to your customers. Jonah shared clips of 'Will It Blend?", a video series that made Blendtec's blenders interesting.
- Create triggers that make you tip-of-tongue. What reminds people of you, even when you're not around? Jonah gave the perfect example. Hint: What comes to your mind when you heard the word 'Friday'?
- Create a story that people want to share. No one wants to be a walking advertisement for your company. They are more likely to share your stories. Consider this with your content marketing strategy.
Action: Write down a list of things that make your company remarkable. What's unique about you, your products or services?
Scooter is the talent manager of Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and PSY. He has also been named in the 2013 TIME Most Influential Person in the World.
- Develop 1-1 relationships with your fans. Cut through the noise, reach out, and build connections with them.
- People want to help a nice person. People want to support people who helps others. Be that person.
- Learn to trust your gut instincts. Don't be realistic. Be unrealistic. Everything that is realistic is what is expected.
- Be authentic. As much as you can, do things yourself or keep a small team who aligns with your values.
- Take the time to enjoy your moment. We're in a society where we're always looking for what's next. Breathe in, and savour your moment.
Action: Think for a second: How are you helping people through your business? Are you supporting any charities that are important to you? Are you giving them valuable knowledge?
Tom is the Founder and CEO of Marketoon Studios, a content marketing studio that has worked with some of the world's biggest brands. He also has a weekly cartoon series which reaches over 100,000 readers.
- Command and control marketing has ceased to exist. You cannot control every node of your company's marketing activities. Consumers are now in control of defining your brand. Don't control what they have to say.
- Learn how to bootstrap. Think like a startup and come up with ways to advertise without having a big budget
- One size does not fit everyone. Stop trying to appeal to every single living being, and get more focused.
- Everyone works in marketing. From the accountant to the CEO, everyone is a brand ambassador. Empower your team.
- Don't be a one-hit wonder. Continuity trumps going viral. Create a steady stream of content.
- BONUS: You do NOT need to be on everything. Don't burn yourself out by being on every single social media platform. Go where your customers are, and focus.
Action: Think about your current marketing strategies. How effective are they? Is it a necessity to spend big bucks, or are you able to 'think like a startup'?
John is the New York Times bestselling author of The Athena Doctrine. He is also a pioneer in using data to identify social change and helps companies anticipate new trends.
- People are looking for intrinsic values. Fewer people trust corporations. There is an emerging trend of placing importance on intrinsic values such as kindness and collaboration.
- Your customers can be your best ambassadors. People who buy your products aren't just customers. They can easily be your best customer service rep.
- New business models are emerging. Think of unique ways to monetize. John gives the example of dynamic pricing, such as 'pay what you want'
- Embrace the emergence of disruptive technology. Look for ways to integrate mobile and social technology into your business.
- Creating a sustainable business is about engagement. Break down barriers and show your customers that you can be empathetic, collaborative and kind. These traits, traditionally considered as feminine, are important. Make people feel heard.
Action: Write down all your company's customer engagement points. How do you make your customers feel important and heard?
Arianna is the Chair, President, and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. She is also named in Forbes 2013 Most Powerful Women list.
- Self-expression is the new entertainment. Social media is about capturing this moment.
- Create intimacy in your relationships with consumers. Are you meeting their need and giving value? How do you communicate with them to establish a relationship?
- Stop interfering, start integrating. Don't be an annoyance in your customers' lives. Rather than interrupting them, start integrating into their lives instead.
- Remember to recharge. Why do we congratulate people who work 24/7? This is not a badge of success.
- The most dangerous thing you can do is multitask. You're not actually doing two things at once. Multitasking is task-switching.
Action: Consider your marketing strategies, such as social media, blogging and email marketing. Are you more of an annoyance that pops up in their lives? How can you give value to them and integrate, rather than interfere?
I hope you've enjoyed this recap of The Art of Marketing.
Before you go, I have three simple requests for you:
- Email this article to one person who missed the conference, but would benefit from reading these lessons.
- Leave a comment and tell me which of the marketing lessons are most relevant to you and your business.
- Follow me on Twitter (I'm @buizachristina!) and say hello! I'd love to hear more about you and your story.
If you attended the event, and feel like I missed an important lesson, let me know in the comments. I'd be happy to add it to the list.
Thanks for reading. Now go apply these marketing lessons to your business!