SLC|SEM hosted their second annual Digital Marketing Conference last week. Nearly every Big Leaper was able to attend at least one day of the conference and many attended both days. We learned, we laughed (thanks Annie and Amy), we connected with old friends, made some new friends, and we walked away with a few more tricks up our sleeve.

#1 – Step Up Your Paid Strategy & Fast!

Event organizers had lined up speakers in such a way that nearly the entire first day was devoted to paid media. The line up included big names of the likes of Brad Geddes, Susan Wenograd, Kirk Williams, Bjorn Espenes, and JD Prater, all who discussed paid search, display advertising, Google Shopping, or social advertising.

In some way or another each speaker discussed the need to add some sophistication to your paid advertising efforts. Long gone are the days where digital marketers are able to throw together a landing page, dump some money into AdWords, and drive results. Instead, digital marketers need to research, plan, and execute a paid media plan that matches their customer’s buyer’s journey.

Some fun PPC nuggets from each PPC speaker:

  • Brad Geddes – The longer the customer journey the more important it is to use remarketing to move your visitors towards conversion.
  • Susan Wenograd – Understanding who isn’t in your target audience is as important as understanding who is in your target audience.
  • Bjorn Espenes – “Not everything in an AdWords account can be automated or should be automated.”
  • JD Prater – Most people don’t believe in love at first site, but marketers do with how their campaigns are set up!
  • Kirk Williams – Use RSLA for Google Shopping, but don’t follow Google’s best practices.


#2 – Accurate
[& Useful] Data is Important

Two of the fourteen presenters were dedicated solely to the topic of data, Luciano Pesci of local data/research firm Emperitas and Annie Cushing of Annielytics fame. Luciano spoke early in day one and discussed the power and role of relevant data. To illustrate his point, Luciano talked about one of the greatest YouTube channels of all time, Epic Rap Battles of History (go ahead, watch a few videos) and how he and his team were able to use data to study correlations that led to video success.

Later in day one Annie laid it all out. She talked about common mistakes she’d seen marketers (even experienced ones) make that corrupt your website traffic data. Anything from poor filters and campaign tagging on to issues with advanced segments. She even gave DMC it’s very own page on her site with links to all of the resources she talked about!

Our three data-related takeaways:

  • Set up your Google Analytics properly and preserve assets like raw data
  • Don’t rely solely on data to make decision; use your gut
  • Sometimes you need to think outside of the box with your data by combining it in unique and useful ways for it to be helpful

#3 – Don’t just make content, it’s not 2012 anymore!

Discussion about content is nothing new to SLC|SEM events. A few of the day two speakers addressed the topic of content in their presentations and left us with some thoughts we just couldn’t ignore. First, Marcus Sheridan rocked the house with his presentation on the topic of embracing today’s buyer. Marcus dove deep into business/customer relationships and how all of us are really in the business of trust, both earning a customer’s trust and keeping it. To earn trust Marcus evangelizes the need to adopt a philosophical shift across your entire organization, especially sales and marketing. To do so you need to evaluate your website [and other customer facing properties] and evaluate their effectiveness in solving your customers’ problems. And you need to do it better than anyone else in the world. Not an easy task!

Key take away: Your content can build trust and help you build your business. Your content can also fail to inspire trust. In that case, why are you even spending your time creating content?

The other speaker that hit the topic of content hard was Justin Champion from HubSpot. Justin talked about reverse engineering a content marketing plan and even used an awesome example from a personal project he and his wife have taken on called From Truck to Mobile Camp. In Justin’s presentation he talked about how content marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. As part of this marathon it may make a lot of sense to repurpose your content. In the specific example of Justin’s pet-project Justin knew that he wanted a create a How-To guide to offer to fellow tiny-house enthusiasts and so he went through an eight-step process that broke the content in smaller, digestible pieces, and got to work. The end result is that Justin not only had a killer downloadable asset, but a number of other content pieces including blogs and videos that supported the larger piece. Here are Justin’s specific eight steps that will simplify your content marketing efforts:

  1. Have a content theme that supports your business goals.
  2. Create a list of supporting topics
  3. Decide which supporting topics are most relevant
  4. Create blog post for each supporting topic
  5. Integrate distribution channels by telling the same story through a different lens
  6. Download or create a template for your guide
  7. Recycle blog content and format into chapters: add an introduction and a conclusion
  8. Update the call-to-action on every blog post to promote the guide

In all, Big Leapers were thrilled to have participated in this year’s DMC as attendees and as a sponsor. We definitely walked away from DMC as better marketers! A huge thanks to the SLC|SEM’s board for putting the conference together. Utah has such a unique digital marketing community that we’re proud to be a part of and we’re grateful for the role SLC|SEM plays in helping the community learn and grow.

Chad Pearman