5 more takeaways from conferences in 2013

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  • December 10, 2013

Back in August, Stephen Kenwright wrote a round up of our 9 best takeaways from conferences in 2013. Well surprise, surprise, collectively we’ve attended a few more conferences since then and so here’s part two of our 2013 conferences write-up.

1. Econsultancy’s Funnel (part of the Festival of Marketing), London

The best piece of advice I took away from Econsultancy’s ‘Funnel’ conference during the Festival of Marketing, would be a tip from Catherine Toole, the Founder & CEO of Sticky Content. Catherine told us frankly that rather than ask for feedback from senior/upper management every time she and her team produced a piece of content; which would spark rounds and rounds of amends and hugely delay the progression of a project; she learned to simply say “This is what we’ve produced, this is why we think it works, we’d like you to agree and please sign this off”. By asking “What are your thoughts?” or “What do you think?” – you’re diminishing your faith and confidence in the project and opening it up to criticism. You need to trust in your own judgement and thought-process and encourage management to see this too by presenting projects with conviction. Of course, Catherine recognised that there are times when amends are needed – but she advised to set out the process from the very beginning to include for example, just two rounds of amends, and don’t be afraid to say no if amend requests are made after this time.

Felicity Crouch,  Marketing Manager

2. Content Marketing Show, London

Back to the Content Marketing Show for the second time, and it’s apparent how much the field has changed, even in the space of six months. Google makes content necessary in order to succeed online so SEOs are flooding in, but the content creators are definitely jumping on the opportunity too.

The Content Marketing Matrix - First 10 and Smart Insights

This content matrix from Smart Insights shows the function of different kinds of content. It doesn’t all get shared, but it all serves a purpose.

There were some fantastic presentations – it was great to hear Linkdex’s Matt Roberts talking about ZMOT, for one – but Hannah Smith was a definite highlight, and in particular the idea that permission may no longer be enough. Facebook protects its users from content they don’t like (just like Google does), and Hannah really drove home the point that you have to keep going in order to get users to engage with you. It’s not a case of finding one thing that works and replicating it, but finding more and more things that work. More importantly too, the kind of content that will get shared might not be the kind of content that drives sales, so it’s important that you’re producing both.

Stephen Kenwright, Content Strategist

3. Searchlove, London

 My top talk from Searchlove was Winning with Data – A/B testing on the Obama Campaign 2012 by Amelia Showalter. It was great to get insight into how A/B testing and data was used on such a huge campaign. – “Don’t trust your gut, foster a culture of testing and invest in your team.”

The Obama campaign conducted extensive testing on all email marketing elements from message, personal subject line such as “Hey” to images with different pictures, fonts and quotes. The data allowed them to improve on future testing, of course, there were many things that didn’t work too. Understanding that as marketers they themselves are not the target audience, the team did not allow ego to influence decision making.

Jenhao Chan, Search Strategist

4. Econsultancy’s Funnel (part of the Festival of Marketing), London

For me the stand out talk of the day at Funnel was from Maria Burpee, Marketing Director at Dell. It was so different to other talks and didn’t seem to ride the wave of buzz phrases that some speakers have done at other conferences I’ve attended. The topic was the slow marketing movement that points out speed as the enemy:

Maria Burpee - Festival of Marketing Funnel

“Programs kicked-out at such a pace that nothing is absorbed, relevant or meaningful.”. I felt it was particularly relevant to search and content – if the aim is to deliver meaningful, clever marketing. the slow marketing movement puts the emphasis on planning marketing activity to be smarter and finding your ‘inner tortoise.’ You can view the Festival of Marketing video here and below are the best quotes I picked out from the entire day.

Mike Jeffs, Account Director

5. Searchlove, London

My top talk at Searchlove was the first talk of day two by Danny Scheinmann – ‘Telling Stories’. Danny’s angle was interesting, in that despite the requirement for marketing to be smart and be based on data, the way that you deliver the data makes it memorable and that ultimately storytelling be it for a brand or an individual adds value. Everyone is chasing a story and when we hear a story we are inclined to spend money. Danny used the example of selling possessions on Ebay with a standard product description and then with a story about the history of the product. When you add a story about the product the value increases – 14x.

He also offered a framework for a good story – S.U.C.C.E.S(s) from Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.

Mike Jeffs, Account Director

Header Image via pittaya on Flickr


Mike Jeffs

About Mike Jeffs

Mike's background is in Business and Marketing Management, with experience both client and agency side in demanding industries such as tourism, entertainment, finance, B2B and FMCG. His particular areas of interest are sustainability and consumer behaviour. Mike joined the search marketing team in January 2011, and now works from Branded3's London office as our Client Services Director.

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