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Tallwave’s Top 10 Digital Marketing Takeaways from Digital Summit Phoenix 2019

By: Mckenna Bailey

Learning is at the core of Tallwave’s success. Without our drive to understand more, we wouldn’t be the best strategic partner for our clients. Conferences are a huge part of our learning process. We love meeting other industry professionals to hear what they’re excited about, how they’ve been successful, and what we can do to optimize our workflows to help our clients reach their goals faster.

Last month, we sent a few members of our team to Digital Summit Phoenix to see what they could learn about digital marketing. Here are the top 10 things learned (and why you should be excited about them too!).

1. Consumers are Losing Faith in Facebook Ads and It’s Our Job to Change Their Experience

On Facebook and Instagram alone, paid media efforts can reach more than a billion people. That allows for amazing opportunities for your company, in terms of growth and conversions. There’s just one problem: people still aren’t over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

71% of customers are worried about how brands use their data, and it’s up to your paid media teams to make sure you are transparent, valuable and engaging.

 Unforgettable Insight

“55% of consumers put off purchasing if they are served more than 5 retargeting ads and 22% of those end up going to a competitor.” - Phil Herbert

Tallwave’s Take

We believe in producing content (whether that’s ads, blogs, social posts, etc) that adds value to users experience, rather than take away from their enjoyment of an important social platform.

2. If You Haven’t Bridged the Gap Internally Between SEO, Content, and UX - Do It Now

Customers do not experience your company in departments. Whether you have great content and bad SEO or bad content but great technical SEO, your customer is still going to have a bad experience. It all needs to be a single effort that everyone understands and is enthusiastic about.

Like all things, communication is a huge part of getting a flawless customer experience.

Unforgettable Insight

“Broken user experiences are a result of broken internal culture.” - Rebekah Baggs

Tallwave’s Take

We believe that effective collaboration between departments isn’t only helpful, it is necessary in order to produce high-quality work. That is one of the benefits of having all of our departments under one roof, we are constantly collaborating in meetings, syncs, and brainstorming sessions. We might be able to cut back on just stopping by each other’s desks for “a sec” though.

3. Think of Your Brand as A Human, Not a Faceless Robot

More and more, consumers choose to purchase from companies that align with their core values. As such, companies are forced to reveal their core values. While that’s a great thing, it does invite some scandal even if you’re a tame, family-friendly brand (we’re looking at you, Pepsi).

Successful companies don’t shy away from any potential fallout. They listen to the feedback, apologize when necessary and correct their behavior. You know, they behave like humans would. Not a heartless robot. And consumers are rewarding them for that evolution (just look at Airbnb).

Unforgettable Insight

“Narrative story-telling outperforms facts and statistics.” - Liza Dunning

Tallwave’s Take

Tallwave knows that our best relationships with our clients happen when we put our people at the forefront. We hire smart people and let them shine. In that way, we like to lead by example for our clients, showing them how important it is to highlight your human element as often as possible. So far, so good.

4. Forget Influencers, Use Advocates

We’ve all seen influencer marketing make a big impact for companies in almost every vertical. But what innovative brands are paying attention to now is the next iteration of that: advocate marketing.

By leveraging advocates of your brand — ones that already exist and are already talking about how great you are — you can save money and add a layer of authenticity to your marketing efforts, something consumers desperately want.

Unforgettable Insight

Huge influencers (Kim Kardashian, for example) tend to be followed by a wide range of demographics and interests, whereas smaller, more niche influencers have a better-defined following, leading to higher engagement metrics and more valuable impressions. - Pete Stringer

Tallwave’s Take

We try to encourage our clients to do this as often as possible. Instead of trying to introduce yourself to huge, brand new audiences, promote advocates with smaller audiences who are already talking about you to make more meaningful connections.

5. Voice Search Is Not the Future, It’s Now

Voice search is not a passing trend. It is here to stay. In fact, the data shows that 40% of adults are using voice search more than 1 billion times a month. It’s something that your entire marketing team should be focused on as soon as possible.

Unforgettable Insight

Brands that don’t adapt to voice search will not survive. - Noelle Lacharite

Tallwave’s Take

Companies are often intimidated by adopting a new feature or technology, but our philosophy is to just start, and learn as you go. Our strategists do all the necessary research and make the best suggestions for our clients, but ultimately, the only way to learn what will work for your specific brand is to start today. Then, iterate and optimize.

6. Bet on Your Audience

We can all agree that the Fyre Festival was a disaster from the beginning. But some of the best learning opportunities can come from disasters. One thing they did right was understand exactly who their audience was. They knew how to get them engaged, excited and activated — something that brands strive to do every single day.

Unforgettable Insight

Don’t be afraid to put more eggs in a basket that you KNOW your audience is in. - Brian Fanzo

Tallwave’s Take

Tallwave believes that putting your customer. at the center of everything you do. Really knowing who they are, what they want and where they are is the key to any successful business.

7. Do More with Your Testing and Optimizing

Take a look at all the ways you’re testing and optimizing in your organization. Most efforts are probably focused on increasing conversion rate or traffic — all growth goals. But what if you focused your efforts to goals related to savings? How much more money would you have at the end of the month?

In 2019, use the synergy of growth and savings efforts to reach your goals more efficiently.

Unforgettable Insight

UX and design are not necessarily revenue driven, they are cost-saving driven. But, how can we empower these savings and treat them like growth? - McLean Donnely

Tallwave’s Take

We encourage all of our clients to create a service blueprint as a way to understand the details of every part of the business. With a bird’s eye view, our clients understand how resources are used and which steps in the process can be optimized. It’s part of our strategic consulting our clients have come to value.

8. Video, Video, Video

It’s simple: you can no longer avoid video. Short videos (6-15 seconds is now the standard length). Behind-the-scenes videos. Live streams. Your company needs to find a way to authentically bring video into your content strategy in order to be compelling for new audiences and engaging for your existing audience.

Unforgettable Insight

“Video grows brand 49% faster than non-video campaigns.” - Kenzie Dahnert

Tallwave’s Take

We’re constantly working to improve how we reach users and using video as a part of a larger strategy to engage users through the entire funnel to provide them with highly relevant ads that add value to their day, not take away from their content.

9. Don’t Worry About the Competition

As brands become more human and audiences build a deeper, more personal connection to them, competition is less relevant. Keep your competitors in mind, keep an eye on them, but focus your energy on your brand, your audience and your voice. Know who you are, what you stand for, what you do, what problems you solve and who you serve.

Unforgettable Insight

Know your why, know your tribe, walk the talk, own a moment by adding to the conversation and amplify the champions. - Liza Dunning

Tallwave’s Take

Using inspiration brands to drive innovation and disruption rather than focusing on what you’re competitors are doing. If you do what you’re competitors are already doing, you’re too late.

10. Foster Curiosity Above All Else

Success, ultimately, comes down to the people in your organization and the partners you work with. No matter what their experience level or job title, as long as a person has a curious mind, they can be innovative leaders for your company. Foster those people, seek out those people, and always encourage those people to take calculated risks. That is how your business will succeed and stand out above the rest.

Unforgettable Insight

Focus on creating leaders that people want to learn with - if this isn’t done properly, it ruins the opportunity for curiosity to prosper naturally. - Scott Dikkers, The Onion

Tallwave’s Take

“My initial, high-level take on this has three elements. The first is about people. We must be purposeful in seeking out inherently curious people. There are signs of this during the interview process, especially when we purposefully attempt to learn about candidates' hobbies, self-taught skills, things they've built, adventures, and variety of experience (we should value these things).  The second is about environment. We, as leaders, must continue to promote a safe, empowering environment that allows people to tinker, explore new things, and take risks with room for failure. But not a lackadaisical environment – instead, an environment with reasonable stressors and challenges, because it sharpens the mind and catalyzes curiosity. Finally, we must continue to care...about each other, about our precious clients, and our enterprise. With authentic and genuine care from the top, down – born from our common purpose and greater cause – we will go the distance to innovate with curiosity the many ways to strive and thrive together.” Ed Borromeo, COO of Tallwave


Contributors: Anna Fiorenza, Rachel Macadam, & Louis Barrales 

Written by Mckenna Bailey

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