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Capitalizing on in-person opportunities as well as digital opportunities brings us Back to the Future.
Last week we hosted our sixth South by Southwest Interactive “Denver Download” – a chance for our clients and partners who attended the SXSWi conference in March to share the knowledge they gained with other clients, partners and colleagues back here in Denver. This year’s panel consisted of Comcast’s Cindy Parsons (who hosted one of the festival’s on-site social media lounges), Sukle’s Dan Schultz, Children Hospital Colorado’s Elizabeth Whitehead and yours truly. Below is a recap of common themes that were discussed during the event – all relevant concepts to look to as evolving trends in digital marketing in 2017.

Knowing your audience (and segmenting your messaging and marketing plan accordingly) is more important than ever.

Gone are the days of distributing one message to as many people as possible through digital channels. With so many social media and digital marketing platforms, combined with the fact that it’s not “solely Millennials” using Instagram or “only older people” using Facebook, it’s more important than ever to create specific audience personas and speak directly to each one of them with tailored content and messaging.

The first step to marketing to Millennials: Don’t assume all Millennials are the same.

Building off the audience segmenting outlined above, each panelist agreed that the fundamental flaw in how brands have previously been marketing to Millennials is grouping all of them together in one over-simplified persona: A Millennial. Brand managers need to understand that there are dozens of various personas underneath the Millennial umbrella – and many who don’t show any of the over-generalized Millennial characteristics… from those who have children and have made purchasing a house a priority, to those who thrive working within the same business for multiple years.

Panelists trade stories and insights at the 2017 GFM Denver Download.
Panelists trade stories and insights at the 2017 GFM Denver Download.

A lot of marketers are still working to create relevant Augmented Reality experiences, while Live Video continues to be the “new” tool featured/discussed at sessions most frequently.

Each panelist agreed that there is still a lot of SXSW Interactive buzz about Augmented Reality technologies, but that mass adoption from a marketing standpoint is still a while off. The one thing that has evolved and taken center stage is live video and “stories” of all shapes – from Facebook to Instagram and Snapchat. An interesting theme within the live video realm is the debate between “creative” and “quality” with live video. As one panelist put it, “You can have creative without quality, but quality on its own without a creative element won’t be engaging for anyone.”

Storytelling continues to be crucial for your digital marketing efforts.

Each of the panelists fell in love (once again) with National Geographic at SXSWi – the media organization hosted several panels and a “Base Camp” brand activation in Austin that highlighted not only the quality of content put out by the company but also the painstaking effort they put into telling compelling stories that accompany their great visual content. The concept of segmentation came up while discussing storytelling as well – making sure we’re telling the right story, to the right audience, in the right way, at the right time of day on each individual social media platform rather than just repurposing the same content platform-by-platform. The topic of storytelling also brought up a somewhat confusing, but an on-point comment from a SXSWi panelist, “What you don’t know about the things you know is infinitely more interesting than just things you don’t know anything about.”

You can catch the full video of our SXSWi Denver Download via our Facebook Live feed – special thanks to Cindy, Dan and Elizabeth for joining the conversation and lending their expertise!

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