Weekly Reads – Digital Summit Denver takeaways: Slow down & optimize

Digital marketing conferences tend to be all about the latest and greatest. But this year’s Digital Summit Denver, a burgeoning marcom event here in the Mile High City that wrapped up late last week, had some presenters who were advocates of slowing down, getting better at storytelling and optimizing how you’re utilizing existing platforms with significant audiences. Below are some of our favorite takeaways from presenters.

Email

ClickZ: 73% of Millennials Prefer to Contact Brands via Email
Email marketing isn’t dying the slow painful death that many expected. Why? Because Millennials. While they may be moving away from email in favor of messaging apps when it comes to personal communication, Millennials actually prefer to interact with brands via email, according to Ryan Phelan. In fact, Phelan’s company Adestra found 73% of Millennials told them “when it comes to businesses, there’s not the same immediacy (as there is with friends), so email is the appropriate medium.”

Print

Columbia Journalism Review: Print is the New ‘New Media’
While this Columbia Journalism Review story isn’t a perfect depiction of the topics discussed at the Digital Summit Denver roundtable on the future of content marketing, it gets at the idea that beautifully-designed, eloquently-written print media is making a resurgence. In fact, when presenter Cliff Seal of Salesforce mentioned Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer, the audience cheered. Why? In Seal’s estimation, it’s because the flyer is the perfect fusion of storytelling, branding and product promotion.

Apps

eMarketer: Walgreens App is a Great Example of Journey Mapping Done Right
Are you thinking about designing an app? Well, if you’re targeting Millennials, you might want to reconsider. According to StumbleUpon’s Annie Gherini, Millennials have, on average, installed 33 apps, use 12 of them daily and spend 80% of their time in just three. But if you’re still dead-set on one, the journey mapping process that led to Walgreens’ app is one to emulate. According to Togetherly’s Rebekah Cancio, Walgreens not only determined the majority of their customers were using the app in-store, they found that by expediting the shopping experience — rather than prolonging it like other in-store apps aim to do — they were able to reduce the friction on their customers’ path to purchase, leading to more conversions.

Storytelling

Content Marketing Institute: Tim Washer Laughs on the Way to Cisco
Comedy was front and center at Digital Summit Denver in the form of three comedians who served as presenters. One of them was Tim Washer, who parlayed a career as a comedy writer, including a stop as the executive producer of the The Colbert Report, into a position as the senior marketing manager at Cisco. Not only is he now producing videos about the only gift you should be considering for your significant other this Valentine’s Day — the ASR 9000 — he’s imparting his improv skills on content marketers. To sum it up: In an industry focused on storytelling, audience engagement and community, comedy can get to the heart of it all in an authentic way.

More Storytelling

AdAge: How Chubbies is Finding Ways to Make Videos About Shorts Go Viral
You’d think all marketing and communications professionals were slowly turning into robots given the proliferation of presentations at digital conferences that insist marketing content is lacking elements of humanity. To be fair, this is good advice. And we thought keynote speaker Ann Handley may have provided the best iteration on the theme through her FIWTSBS acronym: Find Interesting Ways to Say Boring Stuff. Who’s doing that well? Chubbies Shorts, a small company who have managed to turn the otherwise lackluster debate between shorts and pants into a battle between freedom and “leg prisons.”

On the GFM Blog this Week:

Does Your Website Play Well With Others?
Designing the Logo for GFM’s Sister Agency, CenterTable
Communications and the News Cycle After a National Tragedy