The expression ‘digital first’ is nothing new. But how many marketers put people first – and create real value and keep a genuine dialogue with ...

Digital first – or people first? Marketing insights from Spark Conference

The expression ‘digital first’ is nothing new. But how many marketers put people first – and create real value and keep a genuine dialogue with their audience? Here are a few insights and tips from the social media conference Spark in Copenhagen on how you can increase engagement and gain more loyal customers.

Sure, it might sound fluffy, but it is becoming increasingly clear that engagement builds on real relationships between people. This is happening despite our world becoming more digital. Or maybe because of it, according to Allan Askov Christoffersen, Brand Activation Director at Momondo.

In this article, we share three marketing insights that will inform your marketing efforts in 2019.

Marketing insight #1: Purpose marketing makes a difference

For the travel company Momondo, purpose marketing is a big part of their new marketing strategy.

“By communicating messages that share a greater purpose than just selling trips, we’ve received a return of investment as high as 213 USD per every dollar spent for some of our campaigns. This proves that communication that touches people creates value for both the recipient and the brand”, he said at the social media conference Spark in Copenhagen.

He referred in particular to ‘The DNA Journey’, a video series that has garnered a record number of views and shares. It’s also at the core of Momondo’s ongoing purpose marketing efforts.

“The objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of how trips can contribute to a more positive attitude to people’s cultural differences. Besides serving this greater purpose, our global profits increased and gave a new dimension to our brand,” he said.

6 steps towards purpose marketing

Here are Momondo’s tips for using purpose marketing as part of your own marketing strategy.

1. Take a stand: Choose one issue and be clear about your message.
2. Create value for the recipient: There has to be a clear answer to the question “As a recipient, what do I get out of this?”
3. Be clear about your brand: Show the world what your brand stands for and how you do good.
4. Go out strong: Stir curiosity from the outset, in all your communication. The recipient should want to know more.
5. Use emotions: People build relationships through emotional ties. Let your communication efforts be driven by emotion.
6. Create movements and networks: Don’t let campaigns be a one-off event. Build on them instead, so you can deepen the relationship and get more engagement.

Marketing insight #2: Communicate with people – not with products and services

Another clear marketing trend is marketing strategies that rely on companies communicating more with people rather than at people.

Creating tailored content for various target groups is nothing new. But many businesses have a lot of work to do when it comes to communicating with customers on their own terms. Especially in digital channels, marketing expert Neal Schaffer pointed out, from the stage at the Spark Conference in Copenhagen.

“Remember – social media were created for people, not businesses,” he concluded.

How to create marketing strategies with people at the core – Neal Schaffer’s 5 tips

1. People tell stories that brands can’t: See the benefits of using influencers – today everyone is a publisher. And re-think the meaning of the concept – influencer marketing is more about networks than campaigns.

2. Let real people communicate your brand: Employees, fans, followers and partners are more engaging and know more about your brand than bought influencers. Maybe there is a ‘rock star’ sitting next to you at work, someone who knows everything about the product or service that you want to talk about?

3. Think small not big: According to the influencer company Markerly, it’s not the influencer with more than a million followers who reaches the most people and creates the most engagement, but rather the influencer with 10,000 to 100,000 followers. But also so-called nano-influencers, with 500 to 1000 followers, can have major impact on your communication efforts.

4. Get inspired by new players: Smaller businesses and startups are often innovative. Some only use Instagram and have no website. Others develop products and services based on their audiences’ feedback and, as such, create a communications strategy based on customer dialogue.

5. ROI, ROI, ROI: How much are you willing to spend for what you get in return? Look over your budget for paid advertising, put 10 percent on influencers and see if it makes any difference to your ROI.

Marketing insight #3. Convert more with video

Video continues to be one of the most popular content formats. But to blindly follow old best practices for video is not always the best idea, warns Todd Patton, Head of Comms & Story, from the video marketing platform TwentyThree.

Instead, he urged the conference participants to acknowledge the risks of hanging on to old best practice advice.

4 risks with old best practices for video

  1. Short videos always give more engagement. Wrong. The opposite is true according to research conducted by TwentyThree, which shows that longer videos create more engagement. Furthermore, people who watch a 30-minute video are more ready to buy. Longer videos, however, are often more expensive investments than shorter videos.
  2. Avoid heavy emails and websites with embedded videos.Wrong. By sending visitors through to other platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo, you miss the opportunity to measure data and conversions on your own platforms. GiFs also do well in emails without making them unnecessarily heavy to download.
  3. It’s not worth having CTAs for videos. Wrong. On the contrary, video forms help you collect more information about your prospects and customers. As long as the video provides more value for the viewer than the action of filling out the form. Done well, forms are rarely seen as a negative experience.
  4. Videos don’t have to be measured. Wrong. Since video is a popular format, it contains plenty of important data, which will help you optimise all of your communication channels.

Summary: Marketing trends for 2019

So, let’s sum up the insights from the Spark Conference. During 2019, these are some of the marketing trends you should keep in mind:

  • Speak with your recipients instead of at them
  • Let emotions drive your communication efforts
  • Use your employees and fans as nano-influencers
  • And be critical towards outdated best practice.