Highlights from NAED’s AdVenture Marketing Conference and Technology Bootcamp
Earlier this month, marketing and IT professionals from NAED-member companies gathered in Chicago, IL to learn the latest in their fields. IDEA attended both events and found the discussions to be indicative of a changing tide in the industry. We’ve rounded up our takes on some of the largest trends and topics at the events, and encourage attendees to incorporate the lessons learned at the events into their workplaces.
- The most powerful story about your company is that which is told in collaboration with others.
This topic came up multiple times for attendees. Whether internal or external, collaboration is the most effective way to reach the end user. Studies shared at the events indicated that marketing departments are spending more on technology than ever before. Because of this trend, marketing and IT need to work together to set up eCommerce sites, marketing analytics software, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, among other things. Clear communication and collaborative efforts from both departments will assist in making the best technology choices, and will ensure easy implementation, better adoption, and effective use.
Additionally, attendees were encouraged to involve leaders when developing a digital strategy. Linda Taddonio, who spoke at both AdVenture and Tech Bootcamp, proposed that each company host their own internal digital boot camp with executives to gain leadership’s support and insight.
Manufacturers and distributors in attendance both cited communication between trading partners to be invaluable, as well. Calls were made for manufacturers to be in regular communication with their distributors to expand their relationship to the fullest. For example, if product-marketing campaigns are better coordinated between trading partners, a manufacturer’s products will be positioned stronger going into the marketplace.
- We are in a consumer-centric sales environment.
Customers, who now have access to more information than at any other time in history, are also presented with more choices than ever. Creating engaging and relevant content for current and potential customers is essential to sales. According to David Meerman Scott, who spoke at AdVenture, marketing strategies need to be more agile for customers behaving in “real time” – those customers who make decisions quickly based on the perceived value of a service and digital presence.
A contractors’ panel at AdVenture also touched on this when the contractor panelists indicated that the communications they receive need to be relevant and of real-time value to them in order to be considered. Too many newsletters clogging their inbox makes it hard for any individual communication to get noticed, highlighting the importance of making your discussion with your customers count.
- Marketing departments are struggling to prove return on investment (ROI).
Another common concern among attendees was the ability to prove the ROI of their department’s work. When marketing professionals have a hard time quantifying what they do, funds usually go to other departments that have a more obvious impact on the bottom line. A solution discussed at the conference? Make sure that you are tying your marketing and IT digital strategies to your company’s goals and initiatives. For example, if your company’s goal is to increase revenue by five percent, analyze the metrics to prove that your campaigns are directly contributing to that goal.
Many attendees participated in breakout sessions that provided an overview of different digital channels that could be used to share and analyze content. Particularly, Google Analytics was mentioned as a helpful tool in evaluating the success of corporate websites or eCommerce stores.
- Enriched data is a big deal.
At both AdVenture and Tech Bootcamp, attendees discussed high quality product data as being a valuable asset to their companies. More and more professionals are seeing enriched data as essential to running their internal systems, as well as to populating eCommerce stores.
Product data that is complete and fully attributed is the best way to provide quick, efficient, and quality customer service to those browsing your website. In addition, accurate data helps manufacturers and distributors communicate issues when they arise, or adjust inventory, among other business needs.
Manufacturers also saw providing their own data through the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) to distributors as a way to maintain their brand integrity. In fact, many have dedicated staff to centralizing and cleaning data, and distributors appreciate the effort.