5 Takeaways From Philly’s First Digital Summit

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

The Trinity Insight Philadelphia team attended this year’s Digital Summit held in Philadelphia. Over the course of two days, industry leaders from across the nation came together to share thought provoking insight and practical tactics. Content strategy, user experience, SEO, data analytics and social media were a few subjects explored by experts at both the agency and enterprise levels.

While we left this conference with plenty of new actionable strategies and general inspiration in our toolkits, here are just five of our key takeaways from this year’s Digital Summit.

High-Quality Content is the Standard, Not the Exception

As keynote speaker Mitch Joel, President at Mirum, asserted, forget about future trends – make sure your business is focused on the here and now. Brands that are only now kicking off content marketing initiatives are years behind the curve. In 2016, unique and engaging copy is expected by consumers – in the form of header content, blog posts, product descriptions, user guides, and more.

Quinn Whissen, Director of Marketing at Vertical Measures,stressed the importance of making sure your entire copy-editing team understands SEO. What’s more, the whole office should be on board to help promote important content via their personal and professional social channels as it rolls out.

Successful brands are regularly delivering 10x content, or content that is at least ten times better than what their competitors offer. They do this by creating interactive landing pages, workbooks, infographics, and other solutions that engage and delight their customers.

Companies dedicate resources to building a strong, active social presence, and leverage the trend of impermanence through SnapChat, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories. It’s not enough to create great copy; your business requires a full-on strategy for the seamless creation and promotion of content that goes above and beyond anything offered by your competitors.

Go Fast. Now

Page Speed continues to be a focus in the battle for rankings as evidenced by the recent emphasis on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, as stressed by Mike King (Founder, iPullRank). Although re-coding pages to meet AMP specifications may not be realistic for most eCommerce retailers, there are some things they can do right now to improve performance, including:

  • Optimize images to reduce file size
  • Serve different image sizes based on browser size
  • Use Google Tag Manager to enable all tags and pixels to load asynchronously
  • Understand & Code for the Critical Rendering Page

It’s also recommended to use Resource Hints (prefetch, prerender, preconnect) where appropriate to reduce load time.

Don’t Ignore a Generation with One of the Largest Purchasing Powers

Anne Gherini (Director of Marketing, StumbleUpon) spoke about how companies need to use a different strategy if they want to effectively market to millennials online. Millennials often split their attention between two devices, such as a TV and their smartphone, at the same time, making it difficult for brands to reach them. However, just because this generation is harder to reach than others, companies cannot afford to ignore them. Millennials have a trillion dollar purchasing power, and their preferences influence the purchases of other generations as well.

Banner ads and old forms of advertising are ineffective because millennials are more likely than any other demographic to install ad blockers. To reach this lucrative target market, brands have to meet millennials on their own terms. One way to do this is through sponsored content. While millennials find pop-ups and banner ads annoying, they will engage with sponsored content, as long as it is authentic and high quality.

Meagan Cignoli started making her own Vine videos in 2013. The content she created was real, unique, and engaging. Now large brands pay her to create their content on Vine with budgets ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 to reach their customers.

Create original, engaging content for your brand to target this trillion dollar market. If you bring relevant content to the conversation, you’ll reach a wider audience of potential customers.

“Best in Class” Means More Than Your Best Competitor

Whether you’re looking at building a platform, a service, or selling products, Rose Cameron, Director of Innovation at Penn State, urges businesses not to limit themselves to only looking at what their direct competitors are doing. Your customers interact with hundreds of company websites — some in your industry, some outside of it — and they’ll compare their experience on your website to their overall experience.

You want every step of your site experience to be best in class for all companies because that’s how you make an impression. For example, if you’re a bank designing a customer portal, you’ll want to be better than Amazon, Netflix, and Google — not just another bank.

Continuously Evaluate Your Content Strategy

In today’s ultra-connected world, you are constantly receiving feedback from your audiences – especially when your user base can interact with you in a matter of seconds via a 140-character tweet, Facebook post or Instagram comment. Once you’ve got your content strategy nailed down and a content calendar mapped out, it may be tempting to frontload your efforts and produce batches of content all at once. Don’t.

Content should be dynamically developed and rolled out as you get a better understanding of who your audience is. This is exactly what Lauren Saks, Director of Programming at PBS Digital, did with PBS’s Youtube presence, which aimed to cater to a younger, more digitally savvy audience.

Instead of going the cost-effective route by producing content in batches, PBS created and rolled out content on an ongoing basis. They were able to monitor engagement and feedback for each series they produced, and based on this feedback, PBS was able to continually improve their content and cater to the expressed interests of their customer base.

See You Next Year

Our team learned a lot during the two days of the summit. It was hard trying to distil it down into just a handful of takeaways, but these five points stuck with us the most. The speakers gave insights that anyone, from digital marketers to established corporate directors would find informative and thought-provoking. We’re excited to use what we learned in the coming year, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event. Maybe next year we’ll see you there!

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