6 Marketing Lessons Learned at the 2013 New Media Expo


By Dan Gorgone, {grow} Community Member

As marketers, content creators, and experts gathered in Las Vegas this week at the New Media Expo, it was an opportunity for all to take the pulse of the industry. Understanding how the latest trends have evolved and gaining a vision of the future for blogs, podcasts, and content production is something all companies need – that is, if they want to understand how to market themselves, their products, and convert users into revenue.

So, as the stage lights lit up the keynote stage, and the Keynotes burned into the screens in the breakout rooms, what did these high profile leaders from across the industry have to say about the state of marketing in 2013?

1) To get something, give something. Something good. For free.

People will connect with companies they trust, and nothing spurs the growth of a relationship quite like the act of giving. In this case, creating social media accounts, blogs, podcasts, and delivering content of real value – i.e. stuff users actually want and need – helps establish you as the place to go for solutions. Your well-written post might fix a problem now, and your positive reputation can easily lead to a business opportunity in the future. As Content Rules author Ann Handley pointed out, providing content your customers might actually thank you for will generate many positives, such as improved user relations and industry reputation.

2) Marketing strategies resemble a marathon, not a race. Start training now.

With the value placed on relationships today, it’s important to avoid the hard sell, hammering users with calls to action, obnoxious social content, or any other tactic one might compare to the practice of coming on too strong. You’ve got to trust that your strategies will bear fruit given time, because, as Jay Baer noted in his session on “Youtility,” “inbound marketing does not create demand; it fulfills it.” Create and build your presence online, maintain and monitor it, and the demand will find you.

3) Marketing requires constant attention, but more work means more opportunity.

Ford’s Scott Monty shared many lessons learned from the car company’s past marketing campaigns. Without careful consideration of qualitative and quantitative data, it would be impossible to gauge their success. By that same token, you wouldn’t drive around in your car and only check the gas tank once a month. So, why would you check your analytics data just as infrequently? Likewise, you don’t set aside one hour each week to listen to your significant other, so don’t think that level of attention will work for your followers on Twitter and Facebook either. Establishing an effective process to monitor people and data takes practice and refinement, but it will lead to earlier and more frequent opportunities to meet your goals and help your customers.

4) Social good is inspiring more companies daily, and you should get involved.

More and more companies are finding creative ways to give back to their users, communities, charities, and more. Each company is different, but you must find a way to give back that aligns with your personal ideals and pursue it. Digital Royalty’s Amy Jo Martin cited the TOMS “One for One” initiative as  inspiration to donate education resources. We must recognize that the smallest of gestures can mean the biggest difference for others in need. Real people are the heart of our companies and our customers, so look beyond the numbers and see the value that doing good can have on people both outside and within your company.

5) Podcasting is not dead; it’s an opportunity.

In fact, as I heard from many a podcaster this week, podcasting has never left – but, it would seem, many listeners – and media attention – have vanished in the past few years. So it’s not the game changer some believed it to be … so what. The Podcast Awards held during the NMX proved that many well-produced, entertaining, informative, and well-supported podcasts still exist, and the community ranges from one-person passion projects to productions from media titans like ESPN. The truth? Minus the hype from years past, podcasting has emerged as a medium similar to audio books: it appeals to a certain user base, but can work for almost any kind of content. In business terms, there is a real opportunity there for the taking, if you have the vision to follow through.

6) Marketers must be teachers.

The role of marketing, as always, continues to evolve, but it goes beyond analytics or strategies. Marketers already embrace many roles on behalf of their companies: the help desk, the promoter, the mechanic, the ambassador, the diplomat. But in order to gain long-term support, we must become someone that supports others through the work we do, and must do so knowing the work may not yield direct or immediate results, but may enrich the lives of others and lead to real benefits down the road.

Students don’t learn when teachers reveal an answer; it happens when teachers create an environment where students can discover the answer on their own. Students not only gain an understanding of the desired concept, but also trust the source. Marketers must follow this example, creating environments where customers, clients, and followers can discover the answers on their own through the content and features – that is, the value – we provide.

If we marketers can help teach today’s users rather than market to them, our users will view us in a new light: not just as a location of available content, but a trusted source for the future.

dan gorgoneDan Gorgone is a marketing teacher at Treehouse. Usability preacher. Red Sox fan. Born and raised in Boston. Follow him on Twitter at @dangorgone

Top illustration courtesy of Dan Gorgone

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  • Mark Olivito

    All solid! Love #6…..technology is changing so fast and Marketing needs to lead, and one of the best ways is to become proficient and then teach, to spread the word.

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  • Dan Gorgone

    Thanks @markolivito:disqus , #6 was an idea heard in a few places, especially Jay Baer’s session. He noted the difference between “selling” and “helping” is only 2 letters, but in marketing terms could mean huge advantages for earning trust and business.

  • Well done Dan. Absolutely agree with number 6. Over the past year have sat with numerous prospects that have a distrust of all things “web/marketing”. The feedback has been one of feeling taken advantage of, not trusting that they are getting value for the price they are paying. It’s really a shame as they is so much great work being done.

  • Dan Gorgone

    Great point @twitter-234885856:disqus – Distrust of marketers isn’t a new thing by any means, but it’s something I know we have to overcome one company at a time. As I customer (which we all are at some point), we will hear or read about the great proactive efforts some companies are taking and it will mean a lot to us… and as marketers, it should mean more since these would be strategies to learn from and adopt.

  • Great post! Your last words, “If we marketers can help teach today’s users rather than market to them, our users will view us in a new light: not just as a location of
    available content, but a trusted source for the future” really describes my mindset in 2013.

  • tb

    Great article.

  • Great overview! I appreciate the marathon comparison. Too often we set the wrong expectations and don’t realize the continued and sustained effort required.

  • Dan Gorgone

    Thanks @skipprichard:disqus – yes, patience is a must, and this is a value especially needed to build relationships. They do not happen overnight, and take numerous interactions to grow. Trust is SO difficult to gain, even when you’re doing everything right, so it’s important to keep doing what you’re supposed to do; if so, you will reap the benefits.

  • Dan Gorgone

    Thanks @SheerSocial:disqus – it will be interesting to see if more marketers make this kind of effort!

  • @Scott, It’s all binary.

    1. Marketing Starts with Identifying Your Target:

    a. where they go (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, Blog Comment, Reddit, Google)

    b. when they are there

    We all know how hard it is to get what we want when our “target market” just isn’t “in the mood”

    If you’ve nailed the above two criteria…

    2. You’ve Got to Persuade, Convert, Win-Over, Score.

    And there are only two prerequisites to do so (but they are both difficult)

    a. establish credibility

    prove that you’re reliable, trustworthy, qualified, and credible. plenty of flashy ads make you like the advertiser but you’re still not going to trust them with your cash.

    b. establish rapport

    make them want to give you money because they like you so much. plenty of brilliant assholes make software that works well (Larry Ellison) but you’d rather pay someone else.

    Finally, ultimately, if you can’t take her home after one drink, then lower the bar to collecting your email or Twitter follow until you’ve got the game to go for the Gold.

    This stuff is partially from : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuajT8uCyks

  • #6 on the list is the one that grabbed me at this moment in time Dan because for the past couple of months I’ve been dissecting a 25 session Advanced Teaching and Learning seminar hosted by the ninjas Eben Pagan and Wyatt Woodsmall.

    After having gone through this event and taken strictly detailed notes on it, I can now have intelligent conversations about the topic of laying out lessons/content with my mother and father and brother who are professional teachers and have wowed them with what I learned being that I didn’t go to college to learn how to do so.

    This seminar is invaluable to anyone who has any trepidation at the thought of “teaching” people and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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  • Hi guys,I am new person to the blog.Valuable and excellent information that you got here.Keep good work in the blog and update more things regularly.

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