takeaways from the 2019 minneapolis digital summit

Digital Summit Minneapolis 2019: Tech Innovation, Customer Experience and the Spirit of Evolution

This year’s Minneapolis Digital Summit was a great opportunity to meet up with marketers from around the area and to learn about upcoming trends, tactics and philosophies in the industry. With keynotes from Randi Zuckerberg of Zuckerberg Media and Damien Slattery of Fast Company, the themes of the conference centered on creating customer-first marketing strategies and always looking ahead to new innovations that will keep your company relevant and helpful.

Brandpoint was so excited to have a booth at this year’s event — it was our second year attending the conference at the sponsor level, and it was a great opportunity to get to know digital marketers from a variety of industries. While part of our team was manning the booth, we also had the chance to hop into a handful of sessions to hear from the different speakers that had traveled to Minnesota with the Digital Summit Series. Here are our takeaways!

How to Leverage Digital & Strategic Partnerships to Reach New Audiences

Mike Epstein of Cinematic Music Group has some well-known clients to promote. While we might not ALL have T-Pain in our product arsenal, the tactics that were shown in this session can apply to marketers in any industry, B2B and B2C alike. There are so many social media influencers, online partnerships and product campaigns out there, so you have to get creative to break through the noise and go directly to where your audience is hanging out online.

Finding specific channels that will get the most impact for your target market is key. Epstein gave examples of using a social media platform’s native demographic tools to identify audience, as well as searching on the platforms themselves for interests, fan accounts and geotargeted locations to track down effective influencers.

11 Pro Tips for Measuring User Behavior

The sessions at the Minneapolis Digital Summit were all only 30 minutes long, which was nice in the way that it allowed you to hear from as many people as possible in the few days of the event, but it was a bummer when you got into a session where you really wanted to learn more. Fitting 11 tips into half an hour felt a little rushed, but Thom Craver of CBS Interactive did the best he could to be as educational as possible in the short time allowed.

Some tips Craver outlined:

  • Track your inbound traffic: Create specific UTM codes for every link you use in every campaign, including email communication, social media posts and PPC ads.
  • Analyze form data: Are your forms on your page too much work? Is there a certain field in these forms that people drop off on? What about the communication you sent out after form completion? Be sure to measure that effectiveness, too.
  • Use a tag manager: You want to measure traffic and user behavior from every channel related to your site, but so many tags and pixels can slow everything down. Using a tag manager keeps them all in a centrally located place to make your life (and your users’ lives) easier.

tips for measuring user behavior online

The Feng Shui of Modern Email

In possibly my favorite session I attended at this year’s event, Jen Capstraw of Iterable spent time showing us how to apply four principals of feng shui to your email marketing strategies.

  1. Clear the clutter: Capstraw showed us some before and after examples of promo emails sent in the mid-00s vs ones sent today. The difference was crazy! Emails back in 2006 were full of copy, no clear CTAs, and one from 1-800-Flowers even included a photo of a paper gift certificate. Today, it’s best to simplify the design, cut the word count, and only speak in an active voice.
  2. Introduce light and air: Streamline your design. Make sure that there is plenty of white space with responsive design, so it’s just as beautiful on mobile as it is on desktop.
  3. Enhance your wealth area: This section focused fully on the CTAs. Make sure they’re bold, clear and encourage clicks. Two tips:
      1. Make your CTA bulletproof, meaning create the button via code, not an image. That way if an email is blocking pictures, the CTA will still appear.
      2. Try multiple-choice CTA buttons. Ask questions, offer up live polls, give your reader options — people love to interact, so you can make this email fun!
  4. Identify your kua number: Your kua number is your personality indicator — this relates to email marketing in the way that messages aren’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Personalize EVERYTHING. Leverage browse history, utilize remarketing data, compile “year in review” emails for your user. This can extend beyond the click, as well. Drive your users from a personalized email to a personalized landing page.

[Related: How to Market Your Business While Attending an Event or Trade Show with Free Printable Checklist]

Modernize Your Marketing Work: 4 Simple Ways to Get More Done

Hearing Workfront’s Mike Riding give a session on marketing workloads felt like a nice, warm hug. Feeling stressed at work? Your to-do list is a million items long? You keep getting more and more projects dumped on you from other departments? This session is for everyone answering yes.

Riding gave out a stat: Only 40% of our time at work goes to our core job. That means the majority of our work week is focused on processes, learning new things, figuring out new ways to work, emails, etc. We need to reclaim our time, he said. Here’s how:

  • Provide structure that SUPPORTS creativity and innovation but doesn’t kill it. Examine your workflow. Are all the steps in your process necessary or is it taking up too much time?
  • Make collaboration easier. This was a crowd pleaser: make your meetings count. Schedule them as half an hour, not an hour. Decline meetings that have no agenda. Block out time for yourself. If you’re the meeting leader, come in with a clear agenda and leave your meeting with actionable to-dos.
  • Streamline your review and approval process. Enough said.
  • Lastly, measure what matters. A lot of marketers become “accidental project managers.” (The sigh of recognition from the audience was a total “it’s funny because it’s true” reaction.) Along with technical KPIs, measure your WPIs (work performance indicators), such as capacity, quality of work, velocity of projects completed and engagement of your team. Are you proud of what you create?

how to modernize your marketing work


Optimizing for Position Zero: Increasing Brand Visibility

Featured snippets, voice search and the elusive “position zero” seemed to be a very hot topic at this year’s event. Brenda Arndt from U.S. Bank led this straight-to-the-point session with some useful tips on getting your site placed at the tippy top of Google’s SERP.

Conduct your keyword research, pay attention to the HTML markup you’re using, give direct answers in your copy and be strategic in which pages you want to rank for position zero.

Two tips I found especially helpful:

  • Analyze the format of the current pages you see ranking for your target keyword and optimize your page to match. Are they using a numbered list? Is the data in a table? Do that!
  • Take a look at pages you have published that already rank in the top five for your targets. Can you add in H1s or H2s to steer the copy to be more inline with featured snippet fodder?


9 Powerful Trends Shaping Marketing

David Miller of Acoustic gave an enlightening session with nine clear-cut trends that marketers shouldn’t avoid if they want their programs to stay relevant and successful.

So many of these trends focused on technology and how it’s always changing. Miller shared a title his team has coined: the MarTecheter. This means that at the very least, marketers need to know a little bit about tech and programming to be best equipped for the role, and at the very most, ready to fulfill a new position that’s rising in popularity, the Director of Marketing Data.

The rise of AI, machine learning and agile marketing are all related trends to keep an eye on.

Miller also gave us another new word, Consulgencies, when he explained that agencies are trending more and more toward being a type of consulting support for companies.

Last, he touched on trust, loyalty and an emphasis on customer centricity. Is what you’re doing done with the customer first in mind? Are you purpose-driven? As marketers, we have the opportunity to build quality, trust-filled relationships with the human beings on the other end of the messaging.

2019 marketing trends


A Successful Digital Summit

All in all, even with sore feet and a heavy tote bag full of branded swag, I had an amazing experience at the 2019 Minneapolis Digital Summit. I had a wonderful time representing Brandpoint at the event, learning a lot from the wide array of speakers and, first and foremost, learning from attendees what they wanted to get out of the event and how they wanted to improve their marketing programs.

minneapolis content marketing agency brandpoint


What did you think? Were you there or are you planning on attending in other cities? We’ll be at the Chicago Digital Summit this month as well, so if you’ll be there, let us know!

To see our takeaways from other top marketing conventions around the country, check out this curated post featuring links to all of our recap blog posts.

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