What We Learned at Digital Summit Portland 2017

Last Wednesday and Thursday, Digital Summit took over the Oregon Convention Center for two days of learning, innovation, and the exchange of ideas from around the country. Mad Fish sent members of each of our teams to report back and bring new ideas and strategies for our clients. Check out more of what we learned below!

Derek Davis, Client Strategist

I really enjoyed the “Real world SEO examples every digital marketer can learn from” by SEMrush. It was the one session where listening the light bulb went off in my head. The strategies they provided about site architecture & category setups and how Google ranks and displays was so valuable. I am working with a new client who has these issues and hearing that session was so great. I got so many actionable takeaways from it and can’t wait to implement what I learned.

Lauren Downey, PPC Specialist

Michael Salamon’s talk, “5 UX Techniques for Marketers,” was certainly a memorable one. One technique that stood out was the importance and necessity of buyer personas. A buyer persona is a representation of a company’s target customer that includes information such as lifestyle, needs, wants, and goals. These details help marketers better market a product or service at the right place, at the right time, and with the right message. At Mad Fish, we use tools to gather buyer persona insights from Facebook Analytics, a/b testing, and IBM Watson which all dive deeper into the world of customers.

Kylie Foster, PPC Strategist

Don’t get hung up on ONLY optimizing your paid search campaigns for Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). By doing that, you’re missing the entire picture. Evaluate each decision you make against the customer journey to avoid making ‘optimizations’ that ultimately lead to a dry funnel and long-term downturn in revenue.

Kellie Heath, Junior Designer

One of the best sessions I attended at Digital Summit was What We Talk About When We Talk About Storytelling. Shawn Pfunder explains in his talk how influential of a role stories have had on humanity and how those stories become a key part of us. That we are made of stories. As a Graphic Designer, I visually explain stories every day. The new perspective that Pfunder brought to the table was helpful. If everyone is made up of their own stories, we should be putting more effort into understanding not just our audience but also our audience’s narrative.

Jasmine Paul, Content Specialist

It’s time to tell a bigger story. Keep your customer-centered POV, but offer more value, insight, and useful information. What does your audience care about? Start there and lead the conversation. If the “label” falls off your company, will your clients or customers know who you are? This is where tone of voice becomes paramount. You want your audience to know who you are, why you do what you do, and what you are like to work with simply by being familiar with your content’s tone of voice. Yes, you can change the narrative. What does that mean? Flip the script. Is your marketing expressing a unique point of view, or do you sound like everyone else? What’s the big picture? Start leading the conversation! You can stay true to your business’s mission, vision, and values and still push your content strategy to the next level.

Brian Penner, PPC Specialist

Digital Summit 2017 sparked a myriad of ideas for me. Many of the talks which I attended weren’t specifically focused on paid search, but instead were about the surrounding fields. I found inspiration and novel approaches to the mindset to which we can be approach paid search strategy. While this field will always be driven by metrics, it’s critical to also step back at times and view campaigns and your objectives as a content marketer or user-experience specialist. Michael Salamon of Lousy Agency gave an incredible presentation that illustrated Five UX Techniques for Marketers. This potent, 30-minute session not only challenged me to rethink the impact of paid search campaigns but also provided actionable steps on how to apply these methods in the work we provide for our clients.

Molly Smith, Client Strategist

My favorite session from this year’s Digital Summit PDX was called “Use Humor to Increase Your Conversion Rate by 28%”, by Halley Gray @ Evolve and Succeed. Halley explained that people will remember the good feeling that humor gives them and they will associate that good feeling with your brand. I learned that humor is effective because it spreads fast (aka goes viral)! This session included great actionable items such as:

  • Determine what your audience expects you to say
  • Find out what they think is funny (ex. what shows they watch)
  • Identify ‘dead spots in the cognitive zone’ (words that the audience is numb to
  • Brain dump all possible outcomes 5) Use metaphor, analogies, and smilies
  • Now that we have their attention, sell them. I’m excited to find creative ways to incorporate humor in my current marketing efforts!

Andree Valentine, Client Strategist

My favorite session was called “Real World SEO Examples Every Digital Marketer Can Learn From” presented by Jacob Hagberg, representing SEMrush. The title explains itself — the speaker included real examples and strategies we can use with our clients. He spoke with such confidence and “matter-of-fact” that I couldn’t help but stay engaged and take a ton of notes. Examples included testing PPC first before waiting for Google’s algorithm to catch up with content, having a clear category structure and the importance of creating internal links within those categories, data driven SEO content (write for your audience first, then plug in the important keywords as you see fit) and useful tools we should be using for all our clients.

Giselle Waters, Content Strategist

I enjoyed hearing different perspectives on storytelling, audiences, and branding at this year’s digital summit. As a content marketer, hearing how others create stories about their brands and discussing common archetypes reminded me how important it is to focus on the story behind all a brand’s marketing. Instead of focusing on sales, having a united purpose and value prop reminds us to promote a more authentic and holistic marketing strategy.