If anyone tells you continuous learning isn’t important, send them to a digital thought leadership conference. They’ll pipe down quickly.
I recently took in Digital Summit Minneapolis– one stop in a 12-city national tour. (Not gonna brag, but I was a VIP.)
The experience can best be described as mental cheesecake. Think two solid days packed with trends, best practices, case studies and networking related to:
(insert deep breath here)
Content Marketing - Analytics - Big Data - SEO/SEM - UX - Digital Strategy - Email Marketing - Social Media - User Acquisition/Retention - Mobile Marketing - Engagement Strategies - Visual Marketing – Mobile Millennials – Customer Journey Mapping - Brand Strategy - Customer Insights.
Whew. That’s a lot. And like all forward-thinking conferences it can trigger a healthy dose of self-reflection upon everything you’re doing, or not doing, right now.
One industry veteran even leaned over during a breakout session and articulated it perfectly, “I don’t know whether to be inspired or terrified.”
A joke, to be sure. But it made me think of this quote from photojournalist Dan Eldon, and how it relates to the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape:
Basically, we’re never going to get there. We’re never going to achieve digital marketing/brand nirvana, because it will never exist. Technology is changing too fast for that. All we can do is evolve.
So rather than recap the entire conference experience– which was amazing, you really should book a ticket to one near you – here are my key takeaways:
- “We should be doing that.” I heard this phrase over and over, in the halls and walking out of breakout sessions. There’s tremendous value in stepping away from daily routines to focus on what’s next. Not that you should – or can – vet every emerging tool, social media channel or best practice. But discovering one catalyst idea can be exciting and energizing for your entire team.
- It’s still all about people. This insight also transcended every breakout session: No matter what technology we use to interact with customers and grow market share, it’s still all about people. How they think, how they feel, what they’re looking for, how they search for information. Technology should enhance that, not get in the way.
- UX is the new MVP. User experience, user experience, user experience, user experience. Tattoo it on your brain. If it’s online, it better be mobile – and it better be useful, easy and intuitive. We make copy too complicated, put out irrelevant content, add unnecessary steps to our checkout processes, and generally create friction where seamless transitions should exist. Put users first and watch the magic happen.
- Don’t spill coffee on your client. In truth, this is an embarrassing analog lesson I learned in a hotel lobby. Hey, a digital summit offers educational experiences on all ends of the spectrum. Thankfully my client escaped relatively unscathed, as did my employment status. Learn from my mistakes, people!
Check out the Digital Summit upcoming schedule to find an event near you. Your future self will thank you for it.