Tickets sold out in less than 14 days to over 1800 attendees for the 5th annual Marketing Festival in Prague Nov. 9-10th, 2017. I was lucky to snag a ticket to the conference to share marketing takeaways from the experience.
Former head of SEO and Content at Moz, Cyrus Shepard, emceed the 2017 event.
The Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, kicked off the conference presenting The Invisible Giant that Mucks Up Our Marketing, addressing biased misconceptions.
Marketing Misconception 1: Investments must be measurable
While PPC is one of the easiest channels to measure it’s also important to invest in harder to measure channels to amplify impact.
Marketing Misconception 2: Investments must be ROI positive
Over time the effectiveness of new channels improves. It’s important to focus on trajectory to identify potential even if you’re not ROI positive in the short-term. Assign consistent KPIs to track trajectory and judge the success of investments in harder to measure channels.
For example Moz's Whiteboard Friday was their “worst performing content” for the first 18 months and now it’s their best.
Misconception 3: Search investments are either SEO or PPC
These days the SERP is more than just ads and organic results. In fact, 49% of searches result in zero clicks because of the information available in alternative formats such as the knowledge panel, featured snippets, tweets, maps, and more so it's important to consider all relevant impression opportunities to spread your message.
Since Google's image search is the second largest search engine in the U.S., Rand suggests overlaying copy on images in your content to provide additional context within the image SERP to improve click-through rates and reduce the chance of theft.
His advice is also an effective way to use images that ad platforms like Facebook may reject or restrict impressions on due to containing “too much text”.
Marketing Misconception 4: Content marketing means only publishing to your own site
Content’s goal is about more than just getting links, it’s about spreading your message across the platforms your audience visits.
Solvid.co.uk is an inexpensive resource for discovering additional publishing opportunities with a directory of over 1400 guest blogging websites to expand your reach.
Rand's Top Six Guest Publishing Site Recommendations:
How do we convince stakeholders to invest in hard to measure channels?
Show them what the competition is doing.
What’s Moz’s biggest investment mistake with hard to measure channels?
Purchasing booths at conferences. Moz’s average purchase is less than $100 so it requires a LOT of sign ups from the booths to justify investment. Rand suggests only investing in conference booths if 1-2 sign ups generate enough revenue to make sponsorship worthwhile.
Kim Goodwin, VP of Product & UX at PatientsLikeMe, recommends interviews over surveys for setting strategy.
She explains that the role of the marketer is to set customers' value expectations and designers are in charge of fulfilling those expectations.
As marketers we love data and analytics but it's not always the best place to start when trying to identify and serve the needs of customers.
Surveys can “feel like science” but are often poorly designed and bad at predicting behavior since people don’t always do what they say.
Optimism produces inaccurate self-reflections and people are often unaware and under-report “invisible habits” and daily patterns.
Survey design requires a deep understanding of the customer to ask the right questions that produce useful answers.
Rather than starting with surveys, Kim recommends direct observation and real conversations with prospects to determine why they do what they do via in-person interviews.
To improve outcomes, do not outsource research as stakeholders must be exposed to and part of the customer interview process. If hiring a consultant, ensure they do research with, not for, clients.
Generally only 6-20 user interviews of 60-90 min each are needed to identify patterns in behaviors and goals.
To discover goals and motivations during the interviews ask for specific stories (good and bad) about what they did, when, with whom, how, where and most importantly why.
Marketing value from customer interviews:
- Identifying potential value propositions often hidden in their goals when they mention their needs and current gaps in the market.
- Identifying opportunities to reduce pain in the customer experience often an unintentional result created by company silos.
- Helping to influence decisions such targeting users based on goals, intent and values rather than demographics and psychographics
- Providing evaluation criteria for design style based on the desired emotions customers want to feel when seeking to solve their problem or improve their situation.
- Identifying a rich source of language and word-of-mouth snippets to improve copy's relevance to audience.
We Must Scare Our Clients says Joe Wade, co-founder of Don't Panic agency.
The Don’t Panic advertising agency was started by a team of viral YouTube video creators who progressed to become an award winning British television series and currently use similar strategies to create bold advertisements for their clients.
Their goal is to create ads people want to watch by ensuring their marketing has a strong emotional appeal to overcome ad blindness and blockers. Joe advises thinking like script writers and comedians to write ads with strong emotional stories that grip the attention of the targeted audience. His agency's team includes creatives, copywriters, designers and writers from TV comedy and drama.
It's also important to measure the success of bold campaigns by the segment that matters most.
Mountain Dew’s Puppymonkeybaby Superbowl commercial was hated by many, but it wasn't meant to be loved by everyone.
The campaign was considered a success because 50% of the audience, millennials, responded positively to the ad.
Investment in quality creative for more effective content, can result in more shares and ultimately help you to spend less marketing budget on acquiring traffic.
Google's Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik, shared business implications of AI and Machine Learning.
Avinash is an enthusiastic fast-talking presenter. The following are my quickly scribbled notes but he has even more wisdom to share in his newsletter The Marketing & Analysts Intersect.
Marketing Takeways from Avinash:
Targeting by demographics/psychographics is a "stupid way to think".
Instead, we should target by intent via expressed user behaviors.
Facebook organic content is a “complete waste of time” (average organic audience reach = .7%).
Facebook ads are a better way to reach your audience. Although, you can’t just copy your traditional media such as billboards and magazine ads and expect it to work on Facebook.
Marketing channels should be prioritized based on where you can target by strongest intent.
Since Facebook has more data than any other company in the world, you should tap into its potential and behavior-based targeting.
It’s never been easier or more affordable to increase the velocity of your marketing by joining the machine learning revolution. The platform (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc) doesn’t matter as long as you employ a cloud-based strategy.
Connect Google Attribution to AdWords to identify a more appropriate model for your campaigns since “last-click attribution is stupid”.
The founders of ad-fraud fighting consultancy, Method Media Intelligence, explained the Monetization of the Internet.
Ad fraud manipulates bid floors inflating ad prices via false competition so it’s wise to vett your data for accuracy.
Phil Pearce built and shared a free Excel tool to help report click fraud:
Nielsen's Dr. Bradley Vines, is Enhancing Creative Content with Neuroscience.
Neuroscience helps explain how we can create more effective ads by appealing to both the emotional and rational parts of the brain.
Dr. Vines' research team uses advanced (and expensive) techniques to monitor brain signals to help brands with large budgets gain deep preference understandings prior to launching a campaign.
The PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial reared it’s ugly head again as an example of effective advertising despite negative response from a large portion of the public.
In fact, it was the most tweeted-about ad of the 2016 Super Bowl and attributed a 34% lift in Q1 sales year-over-year.
Dr. Vines’ research also reports no significant difference in the success of purely rational or purely emotional ads. Test it for yourself!
Filip Podstavec reveals gems to be mined when we Get Inside the Head of a Crawler.
The only local speaker of the day explained how analyzing log files can reveal a wealth of information to keep the Googlebot happy by optimizing your crawl budget allocation.
Speed matters. Actionable insight derived from log files can help optimize landing page quality scores by improving load times resulting in reduced cost per clicks.
Recommended speed test tool: Google Lighthouse
Unbounce Co-Founder, Oli Gardner's Data-Driven Design process offers a solution to the marketer-designer conflict.
Oli recommends a collaborative data-informed 4-step process that uses "micro metrics" to improve team communication and results:
- Make a copy of The Data-Driven Design (3D) Playbook - an interactive Google Sheets lookup table for taking an overwhelming amount of data and narrowing it down to the types, sources and formats most relevant to your project.
- Observe frustration and pain points then assign micro metrics to measure the impact of every design decision made.
- After forming hypotheses about why users act as they do, collaborate with your team to sketch design solutions that aim to influence user behavior using these printable 3D Worksheets.
- Incorporate design solutions into a new page variant to A/B test then remeasure behavior change impact to micro metrics.
Get access to Unbounce’s Landing Page Grader on Product Hunt - a free tool that leverages AI to grade the performance of your landing pages and tells you how to improve them, in seconds.
Cheers to the speakers, event staff and marketers who made Marketing Festival a success.
On a more personal (and admittedly biased) note, I'm also grateful to Shape for reducing the stress of managing PPC while traveling to the Czech Republic.
Anxiety doesn't take time off and jet-lag never enhances a travel experience - especially not in a place where the beer is cheaper than water.
Shape's PPC bid management platform allowed me to enjoy the best parts of the conference (and after parties) without concern of campaign overspend or upset clients.