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My Many Takeaways from the DX3 Digital Marketing Conference

  • March 11th, 2014 at 6:34 pm
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  • Sebastian Agosta
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Working at Douglas Marketing Group definitely has its perks. The Tim Horton’s fairy makes regular visits to the office, we get to dress casually and celebrate Canada’s Olympians and we get to take part in cool events like the Thomas’ Utopia Brand press conference. While all of that is pretty great, I have to say the coolest “perk” of working at DMG so far was being sent to Toronto last week to attend the DX3 Canada Digital Marketing conference.

The show took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, March 5th and 6th, and featured a tradeshow floor packed with the latest technology, cool after hours events, and best of all, educational speaking series’ with knowledgeable speakers, such as; Eric Harris, EVP of the website Buzzfeed and Duncan Fulton, SVP of Communications & Corporate Affairs of Canadian Tire.

If you happen to follow DMG on Twitter, you probably noticed that I was live tweeting the event both days, offering up great stats, information, and more from each and every one of the sessions I attended. The show centred around five pillars of digital marketing, including; Retail & Commerce, Social, Mobile, Advertising & Media and Content. Director of Web Development, Andrew Siracki and I attended as many speaking sessions as we could, and gained a wealth of knowledge for each and every session.

Below are a few takeaways from each of the sessions I attended. As hard as it is with everything I learned, I’ll try to keep these as short as I can.

Keynote Day 1 – The Case for Innovation: Eric Harris, Buzzfeed

Eric focused much of his talk on how Buzzfeed’s model is entirely based on content generation for specific people. Buzzfeed is constantly tweaking their CMS and evolving it into something that can reach more and more people on a 1 to 1 level.

Takeaway: “Content is king, but distribution is queen and wears the pants.”

The Case for Social: Gregg Tilston, Social Media Leader, Flight Centre Travel Group

Gregg is the Global Social Media Leader who helped bring Flight Centre Travel from a brick and mortar company to an online social media one. He too mentioned reaching people on a 1 to 1 level, and how much social media can help in customer service.

Takeaway: “Be transparent when answering customer service request online.”

5 Things to Know About B2B Social Platforms: Matt Sweezey, Manager of Marketing, Exact Target

@msweezey brought up a ton of great facts on social media marketing. He made a great point about the fact that your social media campaign cannot standalone and needs to be part of your integrated marketing campaign.

Takeaway: “Better not to be somewhere than to be crappy somewhere.”

5 Things to Know About Social Media Contests: Julie Sheldon, Director of Digital Media, Mosaic

Ms. Sheldon had a really fun presentation titled “Dating Tips for Successful Social Contesting”. She related social media contests to dating and used multiple examples of how to make your contests memorable, unique and engaging.

Takeaway: “Set targets on what you want to gain out of your contests (sales, email submits, fans etc.) and review your success when the contest is done.”

5 Things to Know About Storytelling: Tony Chapman, CEO, Capital C

Tony was hilarious and a delight to listen to. She engaged the audience and really helped us understand the power of storytelling. She told us, “If you’re here to learn about writing for social media, go home. You’re here to learn about writing for people.”

Takeaway: She showed us this clip from an excellent Mad Men episode, and said “Nobody cares how much you know unless they know how much you care.”

Keynote Day 2 – The Case for Integration: Duncan Fulton, Canadian Tire

When a guy with the title of SVP Communications of Canadian Tire and CMO of FGL Sports & Mark’s Warehouse takes the stage, you listen. Duncan spoke candidly about Canadian Tire’s struggles in moving into the digital age and how they overcame those challenges with an amazing team that wasn’t afraid to take chances.

Takeaway: “Without top down vision & commitment, new tech ideas will turn to digital ghettos.”

5 Ways to Use Data + Technology to Enhance Digital Messaging Strategy: Bob Miller, VP Sales & Marketing, Inbox Marketer

Bob did a great job getting his point across, about taking small bites out of digital messaging, rather than opening wide for the whole sandwich. He discussed at length the importance of 1 to 1 messaging, segmentation of lists and automation.

Takeaway: “It’s an evolution, not a revolution… take bite sized chunks, not one large bite.”

5 Ideas for SEO in 2014: Val Zamullin, Managing Director, ICM Consulting

When it comes to SEO, I generally like to think I’m fairly up to date, but Val brought up a few interesting points. His most interesting, was the amount of importance he puts on Facebook posts. He thinks going forward they will have a huge impact on your website’s SEO.

Takeaway: “Google+ reviews are becoming increasingly important, but only if those reviews are from active G+ users.”

5 Things to Know About Amplifying Your Message Through Twitter: Ryan Ginsberg, Twitter

It’s always great to get information, straight from the horses’ mouth. Ryan gave us some great stats on Twitter’s engagement numbers and usage. He also offered up some insider tips for capitalizing on the unplanned moments such as the Oscar selfie and the Superbowl blackout.

Takeaway: “Twitter has 230 million active users globally and sends out over 1 billion tweets every 2 days.”

5 Things to Know About Using Social In a Crises: Deanne Carson, Vice President, Calgary Stampede

Deanne showed how the Calgary Stampede dealt with the terrible floods of 2013 and how they were able to raise money for victims through the “Hell or High Water” campaign.

Takeaway: “Be prepared for anything. As silly as it sounds, make sure you have hard copies of all your contacts and important information off-site.”

5 Things to Know About Mobile Couponing: Krisite Painting, VP Sales, Checkout 51

While most of the conversation focused on the cool ways Checkout 51 is evolving couponing, there were some great stats on mobile usage. There were also several great examples of great mobile couponing campaigns.

Takeaway: “More than half of digital coupon claimers used mobile coupons.”

Biggest Takeaway Overall?

You’re probably saying to yourself, “He just gave us a thousand words on his takeaways! What more could there be?” Lots actually! But I’ll keep it short and sweet. There were a few key points that almost every presenter repeated over and over and over again.

  1. Reach your audience on a 1 to 1 basis. Talk to them and create your campaign around what they want to see in their feed.
  2. Content, content, content. Yep, it was a recurring theme throughout the show. Create great content which targets your audience, keeps things light and “share-worthy”.
  3. Tweak your content and delivery, and when you’ve done that, tweak it again, and when you’ve done that, tweak it AGAIN!

Overall DX3 Canada was an extremely fun, exciting and invigorating experience. Listening to leaders in the industry speak on the importance of digital marketing across multiple platforms and business types, really gave me great insight and knowledge on how to move DMG’s digital offerings forward.

More from Sebastian on his Google+ profile.

Sebastian Agosta

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