Key Insights from Modern Marketing Summit 2018

This year’s Modern Marketing Summit centered around one question: how can brands best harness the connective power of content? Three key insights emerged:

Magnetic Content

In an age of distraction, how can companies keep the attention of and engage consumers? Several speakers suggested the answer was magnetic content. Instead of invasive, distracting ads that consumers either ignore or block, companies should seek to naturally attract attention on the strength of their messaging. Geoff Ramsey from eMarketer used the metaphor of needles in a haystack – rather than attempting to tear through the haystack for needles with brute ad volume, magnetic content will draw the needles – the qualified consumers – out of the haystack to your brand.

What does magnetic content look like? Different speakers had different answers. Andy Goldberg from GE spoke of the importance of creating content that tells an overarching story – even if that story doesn’t always directly connect to sales. He gave the example of GE’s “Unseen Stars” campaign, where GE projected a 3D mapping of female scientists across the constellations on the ceiling of Grand Central Station. While the campaign didn’t try to directly sell projects, it attracted significant engagement and attention that helped GE accomplish a major goal – hire more female engineers create a more gender-balanced workforce.

Personalized content and advertising, both in messaging choice and in consumer experience, can also make ads more engaging and relevant. According to an eMarketer survey, 78% of respondents said that personally relevant content from brands increased their intent to purchase. Using sequential messaging and hyper-targeting can give consumers a reason to pay attention to your ads.

Turn your advocates into influencers

The importance of influencers in brand storytelling is on the rise. According to a 2017 ANA study quoted by Geoff Ramsey, “three quarters of brand marketers are actively using influencer marketing… and 43% expect to boost their spending over the next 12 months.” Companies that skip influencer marketing altogether will be left behind.

Not all influencer campaigns are created equal, though, and brands searching for authentic stories around their brand identity can go even further. Dave Karraker from Campari, for example, argues for taking people who already truly love and are advocates for your product, and making them into minor influencer celebrities with your resources. He cites a campaign Campari ran with bartenders, showcasing content that took advantage of their authority and deep knowledge of the product.

Improve content with location

As one panel put it, “where you go is who you are.” More and more brands are jumping on the location-targeting bandwagon – according to a cited 2018 BIA/Kelsey study, location-targeted advertising spend is projected to double from 2017’s spend to $36B by 2021. While speakers recognized that challenges still exist, especially in ensuring the accuracy of location data, speakers were bullish on the future of location targeting.

In particular, speakers highlighted how the contextual components of location-based marketing have yet to be fully delved. Time of day, mindset, or place in the funnel, for example, when combined with a user’s location, could all help brands deliver hyper-relevant content to users. And the data emerging from location-based marketing campaigns can help inform business strategy. One panelist gave the example of a campaign done for a lower-end beer. When the business team reviewed the location data, they were shocked by what they found– one of the top locations people consumed the product at was luxury hotels. Whereas the team may not have normally focused attention there, the location data helped their sales teams better focus on the locations where their product was most enjoyed.