I spent the day yesterday in a room at the convention centre with a thousand or so of my fellow marketers, at The Art of Marketing Conference. Now, I went last year, as well, and so I was totally stoked to go this year.
I was less familiar with the speakers this year than I was last year, but they were all still really great speakers, and I found it to be a very inspiring and engaging day.
Here are some of my takeaways:
Social media is intimacy. If you were in a room with someone, and you said hi to them, and tried to strike up a conversation, and they just ignored you, how would that make you feel? Twitter is the same. Scooter Braun, who “discovered” that kid from Stratford with the funny hair known as “The Beibs” says the reason Justin Beiber will always have rabid, adoring superfans, no matter how much he does stupid teenage boy stuff is because he actually engages with his fans on Twitter. He talks back to them. Braun and Beiber have a team to manage their social media, but yes, that really is the Beibs on the other side of those tweets. The moral: never, ever, ever ignore your fans or clients. If someone tweets you and asks a question, answer it. Respond to your blog and Facebook comments. Let the world know there’s a real person on the line.
7% of word of mouth marketing is happening online. This statistic shocked me. I thought it would be much, much higher! Apparently old-fashioned, face-t0-face word of mouth still rules. No matter how it’s done, word-of-mouth has always been, and still is, your number one form of marketing. We need to think less about how to sell products, and more about how to create social ambassadors.
Empathy rules. If any of you out there have ever taken an improv class, you’ll know this. The key to good improv is to not shut the other guy down. You do that by saying “yes, and…” You agree to whatever they are offering you, and then take it one step further. As businesses, our job is not to create a product or service and then try to sell it. Our job is to figure out how we can alleviate pain. People have problems. How can we solve those problems? Empathy is the new black.
Valuing of the individual, and the concept that we are a team, that the hierarchy is dead. This point came up over and over during the day. The new way to run your business is to first of all, allow people to be themselves, as whacky or nutty as they may be. The second? Let everyone have a say. Your next great idea may come from a leader, or it may come from an intern. Social media has broken down hierarchies.
Storytelling. As marketers, we aren’t doing a good job of telling stories. And those of us who are, are successful. Stories are powerful marketing devices. They allow us to connect on another, more personal level.
Striking a balance. As much as we all love to play in the social arena, we also need to unplug from it and take care of ourselves. Scooter Braun underscored this when he talked about the reasons why he does what he does. He talked over and over again about how he wants to have fun doing what he’s doing, and if he isn’t having fun, he wants to do something else. He talked about the importance of family. Eric Ryan talked about his values around creating beautiful, green products, and how much he loves knitting together his values. Arianna Huffington talked about the advantages of not taking your phone to bed with you, and of changing our language around how we define success.
Here are some of my favourite tweets from the day:
Eric Ryan @methodguy
“We don’t sell products, we sell a philosophy.”
“I encourage people to steal our ideas, because I guarantee you I’ve stolen mine from someone.”
“People do their best work when they come to work as themselves.”
Jonah Berger @j1berger
“Today, more than ever, consumers have unprecedented power.”
“Good marketing stories are like trojan horses: the benefit is hidden in the story.”
“What do we want to share the most?? Secrets. It’s our way of increasing our social currency. Make people feel like insiders.”
“We don’t trust ads. We trust our friends–that’s why word of mouth marketing works.”
“What is the endgame for you? When will you be happy? We have to slow down and remember why we’re doing it. Have fun. Don’t tattoo the word ‘family’ on the inside of your wrist and then forget about them.”
“The only way for an artist to last is to make great records.”
“If you don’t have a charitable component to your business, shame on you.”
“I don’t believe in not mixing business with pleasure. ‘It’s just business’ is a coward’s excuse.”
“Don’t be realistic.”
“Continuity trumps viral.”
“Advertising is a tax you pay for unremarkable thinking.”
“If it’s worth sharing, it doesn’t feel like marketing.”
“Don Draper is no longer in charge. We’ve shifted from “ad men” to “social ambassadors.”
Arianna Huffington: @ariannahuff
“The heart of marketing? Trust, trust, trust.”
“We need to change our language around business. Working 24/7 should not be rewarded.”
“Self-expression is the new entertainment.”
“There are no hierarchies any more.”
You can follow The Art of Marketing on Twitter at @theartof, and I look forward to next year’s conference!