The conference was hosted by email marketing giant Emma, and here's what they had to say about their goals: "We believe great marketing happens where content, creative, and data unite, and we want to create a conference where smart marketers everywhere can explore that space—and the future of modern marketing—together."
I have to give Emma a round of applause (I am clapping at my desk right now) because their conference really was about making marketers better marketers, not creating fanboys/girls of Emma Inc. I'm sure it was a difficult balance to strike, but it was very well done.
So you're probably saying "just tell me the key takeaways already!" Alright, alright, cool your jets. Here are my 4 key takeaways from the Marketing United conference:
1. Tone of voice is the secret sauce for great marketing. (Ann Handley)
I know many of us couldn't be more thrilled that we never have to attend a math class again, but I'm going to give you one more equation. Ready?
Culture x Story x Empathy = Tone of Voice (the multiplication signs are important).
Ask yourself this: if people covered up your logo, would they still recognize you? Would they be able to recognize your voice? If not, that's where you should put your focus for the next month.
Tone of voice is what can make a regular "boring" healthcare company stand out from its competitors. We usually think of healthcare as sterile, clean, and prestigious. But what if the three words that best describe your voice are nerdy, clever, and helpful? That already sounds a whole lot more interesting!
Another thing I learned from Ann was the acronym "FIWTSBS", it stands for find interesting ways to say boring stuff. We can't all have naturally engaging Buzzfeed-worthy content, but that doesn't mean we can't make our own content much more interesting.
2. What the heck are Twitter Cards? (Moz)
You've probably heard this term thrown around a lot recently, and you may be wondering what they are. I can relate. I'll give you an example before I go all techy Tae Kwon Do on you (I'm only a white belt, so it won't be too bad!).
Have you ever been on Twitter and seen a sponsored tweet that allows you to click a CTA, for example to download an app? Well, that's a Twitter Card. Here's an example:
To create your own Twitter Card, you can add a few lines of HTML code to your website. Whenever your readers tweet out your content, a "card" will be attached to the tweet. For more information on adding the HTML code, check out Twitter's development site.
3. Embrace "Get To." (John Jacobs)
If you've never heard of Life Is Good, I'm sure you've at least seen their famous mascot, Jake.
John Jacobs, co-founder of Life Is Good, attributes 100% of the company's growth to word of mouth. Pretty amazing stuff for a company with products sold in more than 4,500 retailers nationwide and in 30 countries! But it wasn't what he said about how he grew his company that stuck with me, it was something about how they run their organization.
After receiving multiple letters from kids who loved Jake's simple message, Life Is Good embraced the phrase "Get To" to spread optimism, even when life isn't going your way. In his keynote, John used examples like we get to go to work, we get to go to the grocery store and are able to read the labels, we get to create products that spread optimism. What if you approached work with that mentality?
4. Marketing so useful, people would pay for it. (Jay Baer)
The final keynote speaker of the conference was Jay Baer, digital marketing expert and author of the New York Times best-seller Youtility. The book is all about how smart marketing is about help, not hype. In his words, "it's about creating content so useful, people would pay for it." Now that's a train I can jump on, especially nowadays, when even our grandparents are on Instagram. If that hasn't happened to you yet, just wait. It will, just like it did with Facebook and Twitter.
It's hard to believe this was the first time Emma has put on a marketing conference. Everything was extremely well run, and the lineup of speakers was fantastic. It's going to be exciting to see how they outdo themselves at the Marketing United Conference for 2016!