Key Takeaways From Digital Summit 2017

At the end of July, our team had the opportunity to attend the Digital Marketing Summit at the Overland Park Convention Center. The traveling conference brings in digital executives, senior marketers, entrepreneurs, strategists, and more to talk about the latest opportunities and trends in the digital landscape. Since our team members who attended have different areas of expertise, I asked each of them to share their key takeaways from the conference.


Steven Burnett, Vice President of Consumer Engagement:

“A common undercurrent was one of storytelling – but more focus on the story, less on the telling. Our audiences don’t want to be told, rather they want to feel like peers and part of the conversation.

“There were a few speakers who made me think about an old problem in a new light. They provided perspective on how they tackled the situation and provided insights I can use to try a new approach the next time. These sort of ‘work hacks’ are really insightful and are things I can bring back to the clients we partner with to give them an upper hand.”


Emily Choate, Search Strategist:

“I attended numerous sessions that discussed a very personalized approach to marketing. With social media and personalized search, people have come to expect online experiences that are tailored to them, especially when someone’s trying to sell them something. A one-size-fits-all marketing approach will not work in today’s digital world.

“As a search strategist, I’m often asked ‘Why isn’t my website ranking for (insert specific keyword here)?’ Mathew Sweezey of Salesforce put it well: ‘Great Marketing can’t make up for bad experiences.’ Though this rings true for all types of marketing, it really resonated with me in regards to SEO. There are many different factors that determine a website’s ranking, but ultimately, if a competitor provides a better experience for users, they’ll be the ones to succeed in search.

“Similarly, I really enjoyed Mike King’s session on Future Proofing Your SEO. He said, ‘SEO is just good user experience – users on your website have to perceive that it’s valuable to them.’ It’s easy to get caught up in the more technical aspects of helping a website rank, but truly knowing your audience and meeting their needs is the key to success.”


Liana Colvin, Earned Media Coordinator:

“I attended Tom Demetriou’s session on planning and creating video content. He talked about not letting things like video length and budget be restricting but rather inspiring. With assets you likely already have, some basic editing, and just a handful of seconds, you can actually say a lot.

“I also really enjoyed Laura Wilson’s session on micro-story telling. She encouraged marketers to think outside the box when it comes to integrating top-of-the-funnel tactics like Snapchat and Instagram stories. Telling long-form stories is even possible with the right images and use of text! It inspired me to think creatively when posting this type of content on our clients’ social channels.”


Abby Hill, Content Strategist:

“I think the big takeaway from a creative perspective was in video from Tom Demetriou’s session. Video for video’s sake won’t bring success. There’s a point of diminishing returns with video – when production value exceeds the reward for having produced the video. And similarly, it’s possible to under-invest in video to the point where you don’t have a high enough production value to see a true reward.

“The content has to be good and so does the production value. A lot of people will make the mistake of over-investing in the production and under-investing in the content/concept, or vice-versa. People need to ask, ‘How much style does my concept need in order to capture the audience’s attention?’ And, ‘Can I afford that level of production?’ The attention economy requires that we produce videos that are engaging and worthwhile to watch, otherwise our users will abandon them after a couple of seconds.”

Lindsay Martin, Account Manager

“My favorite was John Stauffer’s session on developing better consumer insights.

“He said, ‘If you are the most empathetic person in the room and understand the customer the best, you are the most valuable person in the room.’ It was interesting to hear the ways they went about gathering information and research for that client. It inspired me to continue to think of ways to be innovative for our clients.

“He also said for every hour we look at line graphs, we should be out surveying and talking with customers – a very interesting thought that seems so simple but so true.”


While the Digital Summit was a great experience for each of us for different reasons, the conference reminded all of us why we love to do what we do. We’re so excited to take these new, actionable ideas and solutions to help our clients!

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