Our Favorite Digital Summit At Home: SMB 2021 Sessions

As part of Digital Summit’s 2021 At Home conference series, the Small and Medium Business event focused exclusively on strategies, tactics, and best practices for small- to medium-sized businesses to take their digital marketing to the next level. Alec Maes and Max Trotter attended two days of tactical sessions for SMB marketers. Here are their favorite takeaways.

3 Ways to Readjust Your Digital Marketing Plans for 2022

Presented by: Juntae Delane, Founder and Chief Strategist at Digital Delane

Juntae Delane’s presentation about readjusting your marketing plans was far and away the most interesting talk to listen to because it was so relevant to the situation we’re all in being a year into the pandemic.

Delane’s talk was all about how the world has changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. He discussed a ton of different ways that life has adapted since the pandemic hit and gave us three tips to help your business adjust to this “new normal.”

1. Review Customer Personas

Your target customer might’ve changed due to the pandemic, so you should evaluate if that is the case and determine how to reach your new audience. Finding out where online your customer lives (FB, LinkedIn, etc.) and engaging them where they spend their time is incredibly important.

2. Review Your Buyer’s Journey

There are more touches in a buyer’s journey now that people have more time to research options and review your competition. You should include additional touchpoints in the consideration phase of the journey to help people see how your brand stands out.

3. Embrace the Pivot

90% of B2B decision-makers expect the remote and digital model to stick around, so it makes sense to lean into this change and become great at it. Now is the time to double down on digital, because it’s not going anywhere.

3 Agile Practices That Time-Strapped Marketers Need in Their Lives

Presented by: Andrea Fryrear, Co-Founder of AgileSherpas

This talk was all about time management, something that I (and I’m sure many other people) struggle with, and that has only gotten worse with the pandemic. Speaker Andrea Fryrear gave some actionable tips to help improve your time management and organization skills.

The biggest tip I learned was the benefits of documenting your workflow. According to Fryrear, marketers see 4-7x more success when they document their workflow compared to those who don’t. Just being able to quickly recognize where you are in your to-do list (whether it’s in the backlog, in progress, due this week, etc.) can help you organize your workdays and increase your productivity.

There are a ton of different ways to implement this process—whether it be through hand-written notes or post-it note columns—but what she used (and what I plan to use) is Trello, a project management platform that makes it super easy to split work up into the previously mentioned categories.

Standout Brand Storytelling: Using the Science of Story to Captivate Customers and Build Brand Loyalty

Presented by: Nick Westergaard, Chief Strategist at Brand Driven Digital

“A story brand is a mentor brand” – Nick Westergaard.

Nick gave a compelling talk about the importance of storytelling for brands, and the science behind it. For instance, when brands tell stories, users are more likely to connect with the characters, which causes the body to release the hormone oxytocin. The “sweet release,” as he calls it, can make users more likely to donate to a cause or initiative.

Westergaard also states that stories often affirm who we are, reducing anxiety. Through a story’s phases (context, contrast, and conclusion), your brand mustn’t be the hero of the said story but the mentor. In Star Wars terms, be the Obi-wan Kenobi to the consumer rather than the Luke. Luke wouldn’t have had the chance to take out the death star without Obi-Wan guiding him along the way.

This journey leads us to brand loyalty. Stories can provide a game-plan for life. When you give your consumers stories, they empathize with or want for themselves, and you will build loyalty over time. Nick’s presentation was incredibly insightful to how stories can play an important role in building brand loyalty with new or existing consumers. It helps that his voice was melted butter for my ears too.

The Connected Human and the Future of Marketing

Presented by: David “Shingy” Shing

For the uninitiated, David Shing, a self-proclaimed “digital prophet,” was one of the most insightful and energetic speakers at the event. Right from the start, we’re brought into the consumer behavior we’ve all experienced during 2020. From people wanting to disconnect from the internet more, to consumers’ desire to support more local businesses, David Shing’s take on the digital landscape was eye-opening.

Products and services are coming offline. Users are taking TVs out of their living rooms and impacting the environment by removing their carbon footprint. About 40% of people under 30 felt guilty taking time off during the pandemic.

On the subject of fatigue, brand fatigue is real. Brace yourself, controversial take here: David Shing says most marketing is content marketing. Most kids grow up installing ad-blockers to avoid these kinds of things. Brands need to be memorable, provide a benefit, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. This all sounds pretty standard for us marketers, but for an SMB, getting ahead of the curve and providing empathy and value can put your brand forward. In a society that is caring for one another, consumers want to see brands taking a stance and sharing their opinion on the subject matter.

That’s a Wrap

There you have it! Those were our top takeaways from Digital Summit At Home: SMB sessions. We are excited to start applying all of the strategies and best practices we learned to help our SMB clients keep their brands ahead of the curve.

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