Digital Summit Minneapolis 2016: The Three Keys to Marketing Success and a Golden Rule to Not Forget

From July 25 through July 27, marketers from all over the nation gathered at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a two day, deep dive into all things digital marketing. I had the pleasure of attending both the conference and the pre-conference, allowing me to gain the most from the experience.

Minneapolis skyline, Digital Summit 2016

The variety of topics discussed pointed to industry trends and helped to inform marketers as they apply digital tools and strategies to grow their brands. Email is back and there was more discussion around it than I’ve ever experienced before. From recommendations on sending an ineluctable email from Christopher Lester, the Vice President of Sales at Emma, to BlueHornet’s Senior Manager of Customer Success, Pilar Bower, speaking on the power of an amazing welcome email. The consensus being, email is still a dynamic and dominating digital tool that should not be ignored.

Content, as always, is king and should be treated as such. Quinn Whissen, Director of Marketing at Vertical Measures gave an awesome presentation on using existing content to get 77% more traffic on your website; and Melanie Deziel, founder of the native ad newsletter, The Overlap League, shared a useful, 10-step checklist for creating effective and compelling content marketing ideas.

The marketing technology stack is more robust and more manageable than ever. Software, ad technology, marketing automation, analytics – we have so many resources for implementing and tracking marketing through these advances in technology. RBA Consulting’s Measurement Strategist, Andrew Block, inspired us to create our own real-time web analytics dashboard, and Worldwide Program Lead of Customer Analytics at IBM, Jeremy Roberts, demonstrated how to manage digital marketing efforts while taking advantage of new technologies.


Matt Wallaert a behavioral scientist at MicrosoftWhile each presentation on these essential digital topics resonated with me in relation to our practices at Nelson Schmidt, there was one speaker whose presentation really stuck out. Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist at Microsoft, discussed the fundamentals of really knowing your customer. All of the content you create, emails you send and technology you use could potentially hold no value if you don’t know who your customer is, what they think and what motivates them to act. What rang most true to me was when Matt said, “if you want to better connect, create content that honors [that] people are different.” Recognizing that your audience is not one entity, but a collection of “special little snowflakes in a blizzard” will help guide you in the right direction of what to communicate, how to deliver your message, what behavior you might expect to measure and how to apply the best technology in doing so.

Email is better than ever, content is still king, and the marketing technology stack has reached a robust and manageable level that only continues to advance. All of these subjects are essential and necessary to every marketer but the Digital Summit also reminds us of the importance of customer intimacy, which can help us best apply the digital tools, channels and platforms that will amplify our success.


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