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Three Refreshing Ideas from the Marketing Nation Summit 2017

By Ed King, Founder and CEO at Openprise.

Ideas for Marketing National SummitThe overarching theme at last week’s Marketing Nation Summit was, without a doubt: the engagement economy. We found these three ideas from the Summit especially refreshing, and believe they will inspire and help you boost engagement and ultimately, drive revenue.

Less is More. Engage Customers with Scarcer, but Hyper-Targeted Experiences.

The average person receives 500 marketing messages a month. The average open rate? A mere 20-25%. “We’re running into a fundamental law of diminishing returns,” said Marketo CEO Steve Lucas. “The volume we send has the potential to turn negative. Therefore, our engagement overtime needs to be less frequent and more valuable.”

Volume, unchecked, can damage your brands. There are plenty of things you can do to create hyper-targeted, highly personalized experiences to keep your prospects engaged. Spend time to listen to them. Collect, analyze, and leverage their behavioral data. Send the right messages, to the right person, at the right time, with the right frequency. Make each engagement meaningful.

Easier said than done, right? Marketo’s CMO, Chandar Pattabhiram, proposed three guidelines to get you started:

  1. Art of Storytelling.Marketing isn’t just data-driven. It’s powered by emotions. Be authentic. Be interesting. Be human. Tell relevant stories. “The art connects the heart,” said Pattabhiram.
  2. Adaptive Engagement.Today’s buyers are more informed and empowered than ever. Marketers must actively listen, learn, and create more relevant engagement based on prospect behavioral data in order to win new business and retain customers in a crowded market.
  3. Advocacy. This is definitely a tough one. We understand all too well the challenges of identifying and cultivating customers who feel so good about you that they’d advocate for you willingly, and without hesitation. So take it slow, and in four phases: Acquisition Marketing, Adoption Marketing, Cross-Sell Marketing, and Advocacy Marketing. Customer advocates don’t miraculously materialize upon deal close. Be consistent, be patient, and cultivate the relationship.

Say No to Commodity Content.

Yet another white paper or a case study? Yawn. We’re all swimming in a sea of commodity content and suffering from information overload. Are you creating content your audience actually wants to consume?

Dare to trust your intuition, think for yourself, and do things differently.

You’ve got to create a “hook,” and give your audience a reason to sit up and take notice. The problem is, as the legendary copywriter John Carlton once stated, “A great hook will HIDE from you. It’s a cruel beast, happy when it escapes your notice.”

In his session on how to create addictive content that drives revenue, Drew Davis, Founder and CEO of Monumental Shift, discussed the importance of creating a hook, a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to engage your audience. One of his examples was the Book Video Club, started by a video production agency called Board Studios. It features 5-minute videos of books the C-Suite wants to but doesn’t have time to read. It summarizes books in a hand-crafted video format, so the business executives can get the key insights of the best books in just 5 minutes. The videos went viral and as a result, new business rolled in, as those who watched the book videos started asking for help with product explainer videos and more. Ka-ching!

Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes and create content that they want to consume, not sales content thinly veiled as “valuable.” Be authentic and helpful—that’s how you cultivate relationships, engage prospects, and foster customer advocates in the long run.

Learn, Understand, and Use What’s in Your Martech Stack.

Marketers are fickle. In a recent SiriusDecisions study, a whopping 50 percent of B2B organizations claimed they expect to migrate from their existing marketing automation platform in the next 12 months (but only 18 percent actually did migrate last year). The problem isn’t the technology, said Jay Famico, VP of Client-Facing Technologies at SiriusDecisions. Marketers need to do a better job of assessing capability needs beyond the immediate and plan for near-term use cases. This is especially important as marketing automation adoption and ROI are often driven by transformational initiatives that take time.

Along the same vein, Jenny Clegg and Jill Ragsdale from CA Technologies shared their story and best practices on building and optimizing the right MarTech stack:

  • Streamline and standardize. Know what’s in your existing MarTech stack and why.
  • Categorize and document your stack. Which team owns what? What are the tools for?
  • Define clear KPIs for both new and existing tools. Ideally, determine tool objectives right at the selection phase—before implementation—to set yourself up for success.
  • Be transparent with tool assessment metrics.
  • Re-evaluate your stack quarterly or yearly. Be ready to answer the questions: “What are we paying for?” and “Who’s using it?”

Feeling exhilarated from the Summit? What are the insights that inspired you the most? Note to self (and to all of you, our fellow marketers): set aside time to plan and implement what will elevate your marketing. Don’t let fire drills hijack your work week. After all, we’re marketers with creative ideas and analytical minds, so go ahead, put them to good use.

Personally, we can’t wait to put the learnings to practice. We’ll start with these two steps: 1. Normalize, segment, and enrich the leads we generated at the Summit (yes, we were a sponsor), and 2. Dig into existing leads’ behavioral data hidden in their Marketo Activity Log to find patterns and create an adaptive engagement program for better traction. Both of these are easy to do with the help of our own product, Openprise, a data automation solution built for marketing and sales. Check it out at

Photo Credit: twmurph Flickr via Compfight cc

Ed King