2016 Marketing & Advertising Conferences You Should Attend

2016 marketing & advertising conferences

2016 marketing & advertising conferencesBefore we know it, 2016 will be here. Besides planning marketing budgets, communicating goals/strategies for the year and brainstorming innovative campaigns to achieve those objectives; it is important to plan for training and networking opportunities that will keep you up-to-date on the latest trends in the marketing and advertising industry. Here’s a list of the 2016 marketing & advertising conferences that you should consider attending if they fit in your schedule:

SocialMedia.org’s Brands-Only Summit: January 25-27, 2016

This conference is designed for social media leaders of the world’s greatest brands. 16 intense peer-to-peer discussions, 12 classes, 12 case studies, 3 brilliant authors, and 3 amazing keynotes will all happen over the three days of the conference. There’s also a fascinating pre-conference on social media measurement, incredible networking opportunities, and lots of delicious food.

Social Media Strategies Summit: Feb., April, June, August, Sept., Nov.

This conference holds sessions in many different marketing hubs throughout the United States and Mexico. Starting in Las Vegas in February and ending in November in Boston, these seminars will fuel social media strategy through compelling content, customer experience, brand storytelling, advocacy and technology. 

Digital Marketing Innovation Summit: March 10-11, 2016

This conference is for the most dynamic and senior executives operating in the areas of digital marketing. Attendees will learn from industry leaders and exchange ideas. There will be over 25 keynote presentations, interactive sessions and hours of networking opportunities during the two-day conference. 

Hero Conf: April 25-27, 2016

With 65 speakers, 40 breakout panels, 4 keynotes and 700 attendees, it’s the platform for innovative ideas and creative discussions about PPC. Hero Conf is the world’s largest all PPC conference, and each year it brings the biggest names and brightest minds to discuss the tactics, strategies, present and future of pay-per-click advertising.

MozCon: September 12-14, 2016

Take part in three days of forward-thinking, actionable sessions in SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics and more.

Dreamforce: October 4-7, 2016

At Dreamforce, you’ll see the latest in email, mobile, social, Web, ads, and journey management in the Marketing Cloud. Plus, you’ll learn about all the solutions Salesforce has for marketers — lead scoring and nurturing, building websites and mobile apps, social customer service, and much more.

INBOUND 2016: November 8-11, 2016

INBOUND’s purpose is to provide inspiration, education and connections to transform businesses. Thousands of marketing and sales professionals from almost every industry imaginable attend inspiring keynotes, innovative talks, educational breakouts, hands-on lessons, and tons of networking.

What Ad-Blocking Means for Advertisers

With the recent upgrade to the iOS 9, a new feature, Content Blockers, was introduced. Content Blockers allow users to install ad-blocking applications from the Apple Store. This software has been created for users to increase page load time, improve battery life and protect the user’s privacy. Advertising, trackers, and other third-party scripts are blocked in the Safari mobile browser while this app is installed. What does this mean for the digital media and advertising industry? Although online advertising will become more difficult, could this new technology actually be a good thing for these companies and organizations?

Although ad blockers have been available for desktop computer and Android users for a few years, the introduction of the new Apple software has caused panic in the marketing and advertising industry. This panic is due to the significant number of iPhone users, which is around 97 million in the U.S. alone. According to Adobe, the number of ad-blocking software users has grown 41% in the past 12 months and there is currently 198 million users.

The key to successful marketing and advertising in spite of ad-blocking applications is advertising in apps. According to Flurry, 86% of the US mobile consumers’ time is spent in apps. Brands will have to rely on native advertising.

But this is not the only reason why ad blocking may not be a bad thing for the digital media and advertising industry. With the release of new ad-blocking applications, companies aren’t spending money on mobile users who don’t view advertisements. By eliminating the ads on their browser, the user is eliminating something they don’t want to see in the first place. Advertisers will be forced to evolve their business model to fit the consumer’s ever-changing wants and needs. Brands will now have to focus on creating advertising that the consumer actually wants to view.

All of this was in jeopardy when “Been Choice” was available to mobile users. The app blocked ads in several apps, including Apple News. Although Apple did ban this app due to user security issues, they also did themselves a favor. The app developers are in progress to resubmit the app after they remove ad blocking for Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Pinterest. Stay tuned to see how all this plays out.

Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise

Good news brand marketers! Instagram has launched ads with “Shop Instagram social media strategy tipsNow,” “Sign Up” and “Install Now” buttons that link outside the app.

It has always been clear that Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise. Users are already sharing product photos with friends, making comments, liking and getting opinions from their network.

Unlike Facebook users, whose primary concern is connecting with family and friends, Instagram has more of a shopping drive. In Iconosquare’s 2015 study, 70% of respondents reported that they have already looked for a brand on Instagram.

To garner engagement and increase awareness, marketers have traditionally used contests and giveaways on social channels. When it comes to Instagram, 62% of users follow the brand simply because they “love” it. Only 41% follow or would follow to take advantage of perks and giveaways.

If you are worried about intruding on a user’s social experience or garnering engagement, don’t! Sixty-five percent of Instagram users report that they feel flattered when a brand likes their post.

So how does it work? Users can easily take action and come back to Instagram after they’ve finished their transaction. Before, brands were forced to use third-party services to take users outside the app to buy the products in the pictures.

In addition to the new buttons, the ad platform has enhanced its abilities and will allow marketers to reach people based on demographics and interests and customer information. On the consumer end, Instagram is improving the feedback mechanisms within Instagram to give people control over the ads they see.

Check out this article on Adweek for examples of what brands are doing on Instagram with this new shopping feature.

3 Tips to Make Your Influencer Outreach Awesome

Social Media Influencer Outreach

Influencers: “Individuals who have the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of their (real or perceived) authorityknowledgeposition, or relationship. “

Social Media Influencer Outreach

Influencers are everywhere. They can be in the form of a 14 year old girl with a Youtube channel about makeup application, or a stay at home mom who blogs about raising her children. Influencers are not necessarily high powered folks with a lot of money, they are just people who have an audience, and something to say.

Influencers sound like the kind of people you want on your team right? Of course. We all know that word of mouth and referral are extremely successful methods in attaining new customers. In conjunction with your marketing plan, Influencer Outreach can be a very effective, and inexpensive way to reach your potential consumers. When we are creating an Influencer Outreach campaign, we go through the following steps to build our plan of attack.

  1. Know your Audience: This is critical to any aspect of marketing, but it is especially important here. If you are going to be doing outreach, you want to make sure that your product is going to end up in the hands of someone you know will love it, and later recommend it. It is important to assess the type of blogger you want to reach out to based on your existing demographics. For instance, if you are a food brand, try compiling a list of Mommy Bloggers and At Home Chef bloggers.
  2. Develop the right Collateral: Influencer Outreach is as much about you as it is about the blogger. It is important to find a way to entice the influencer to want to try, and recommend your product. Are you sending them free samples? Are you allowing them to do a giveaway on their blog? Are you offering free media in return? This is an incredibly important aspect of your plan and the collateral can make or break the entire campaign.
  3. Share the Love: Bloggers are just like us, they want to increase their reach. One of the most important elements to an any outreach campaign is offering some love in return. Ask your bloggers to write a review, or share a recipe, or pictures (depending on the time of product you have). Use their content on your own social media platforms. Not only does this give varying content to your audience, but if gives the bloggers a lot more exposure. Influencer Outreach really needs to be a two way street, so don’t forget to share the love!

These 3 steps are just the beginning of a good Influencer Outreach plan and when you focus on creating the right plan, you might be surprised by how much you get back.  We have had a lot of success with building customer bases using Influencer Outreach for our clients and we continue to broaden our horizons with this type of marketing.



Our Top 3 Favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns

Surprise and Delight with Social Media

In the age of social media, the consumer really is king. Social media has opened up brands to a boat load of scrutiny and praise alike. So what can we do to make consumers love our brands? We can make them overwhelmingly happy.

surprise and delight marketing campaigns

Photo Via: Matchistic

One of the greatest things you can do for your social media strategy is to take a step back and look at your constituents. What do they need? What do they like? Surprise and Delight Campaigns give you the opportunity to think outside of the box and make people happy in ways that don’t have to be brand focused.

We have a lot of campaigns that we love, but here are our favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns.

#3. Coca-Cola: Coke makes everyone happy right? Well they wanted to take that happiness to a new level by surprising unsuspecting people with ice cold coca-cola. The Happiness Project has quenched the thirst of people all over the world. Here is one of their delightful trips to Rio de Janeiro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVap-ZxSDeE

#2. WestJet: Last Christmas, airline WestJest decided to take their social reach up a notch by planning the best Christmas campaign we have every seen. If you haven’t seen this video yet, take a moment to watch it. Even though we aren’t in the holiday season it will warm your heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk


#1. And of course our #1 favorite campaign is our client, Better Than Bouillon! We love working with our clients to make their consumers happy. This past Valentine’s Day we were able to brighten the day of one couple giving them the ultimate Valentine’s Date Night in, complete with a risotto kit, candles, chocolates and champagne glasses. Come to find out it was their 29th anniversary.

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Word of mouth marketing is an incredibly powerful tool. Surprise and Delight campaigns allow your brand to capitalize on word of mouth. You’re focusing on very few people at a time but often these efforts can make more of an impact than even a larger, more traditional social media marketing campaign. By creating  personal connection and making someone feel special, they will invariably promote your brand without you ever having to ask again.

Make It Worth Watching

It always amazes me when I hear people talk about leveraging the power of YouTube to “go viral.” But a lot of brands don’t want to step up and create content that will actually work on YouTube. Instead of the short, funny video with a subtle underlying ad message, so many companies end up creating an 8.5 minute history of their brand. (And they wonder why it only gets 12 views).

If you’re a brand and you want to make YouTube work for you, you have to be prepared to create content that works on the platform. The shorter the better. The more shareable the better. And that ad message of yours, you’re going to have to find a way to work it in without smearing it across the screen in the most boring way ever.

A local law firm was bold enough to do it the right way. Their recent series of YouTube videos are, short, to the point and most importantly, they’re shareable.

Little Digital Things: 3 Facebook tips that everyone can and should implement now.

Black Friday is now Thanksgiving

If you are looking for some simple tips to help clean up your Facebook strategy- look no further! Keeping up with social media best practices can be a headache, but we’re here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your Facebook content. Here are 3 super easy tips that everyone should start doing- right now!

1. Delete URLs: If you only take away one thing from this blog post, please let it be this: you can delete URLs from Facebook!  Once you delete the physical URL, Facebook will automatically generate a link to the website you are trying to get to. This leaves your post looking polished and far more professional.


Don’t Do This:

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Do This:

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2.  Pay Attention to Pictures: Now that you are deleting your URLs like a pro, it is time to think about the photos Facebook generates for you. Although this tool works pretty well most of the time, sometimes they don’t pick the right photo to represent your post. But fear not people, you can upload your own photos! Choosing the right photo for your post will help to engage your user.

Select a file to upload:

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A different photo can completely change the post:

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3. Shorten Links: If you are posting an image with a url(thisisdifferentfrompostingalinkwithanimage), you aren’t able to delete the URL. For this instance, you should always shorten your URL using a program like bitly.com. Shortening your link results in a clean look while still having a physical link in your post.

Shortened links are clean!

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If you start implementing these 3 tips today, you will start to notice a more polished and professional look. As always, make sure that your content is engaging, insightful, and aligns with your brand.

Google Analytics: More Than Site Traffic

Google Analytics ROI

Google-Analytics1Google Analytics is such a powerful tool but you don’t really hear folks talk about how much you can actually do through the GA dashboard. As an agency, we’re going to highlight some popular features as well as some of our favorites.

Two areas of Google Analytics that I use most to maximize ROI are Funnel Visualization and Goal Flow (Standard Reports > Conversions > Goals).

These tools are perfect for tracking consumers through your online purchase path. They are particularly helpful for e-commerce sites.

When faced with the challenge of a struggling third party e-commerce site both of these tools were extremely helpful in highlighting the drop-off point for consumers through the purchase. By tracking users through the sales process, we were able to streamline the purchase path, eliminating several drop-off points and increasing sales by 35%.

Whenever I have a project where website visitors are required to follow a specific path, I always make sure these tools are in place. We use them to pinpoint inefficiencies which allow us to get more strategic with our highlighted path, increasing the traffic flow and ultimately the overall return.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Real Time Marketing

Real Time Marketing Denny's

Real Time Marketing is all about listening to what people are talking about, and joining the conversation while simultaneously promoting your brand. This type of marketing can be incredibly effective, but it can also be dangerous. There’s a fine line between well-timed, strategic content and inappropriate posting. Knowing when to not overstep your boundaries is key. Here are a few dos and don’ts to set you up for successful Real Time Marketing.

Don’t: Make a hard sell.


When you’re using a current event to promote your brand, the last thing you want to do is directly sell your product. Take this tweet from Denny’s. The creative idea behind this image is brilliant, but the execution is just not there. They were trying to tack onto the success of Breaking Bad, which is great, but the Denny’s sell was way too hard. They would have been better off leaving out the text saying ” how about breaking bacon with friends at Denny’s…” and simply tweeting the image. There is enough brand recognition with the logo, and the added sell just makes this tweet seem cheesy.

Do: Have precise timing.


Remember when the power went out at the Superbowl? Well, so does social media. Tweets and Facebook posts were coming in by the millions and Oreo saw an incredible opportunity to potentially reach a high volume of constituents. Because of their excellent timing, they were able to create one of the most widely shared Real Time Marketing tweets to date. With 15k+ retweets, you don’t get much better than that. ( Note: notice how Oreo never says ” go out and buy oreos tonight”. They left out the hard sell making this tweet timely, on point, and funny without selling their product directly.)

Don’t: Use tragedy, ever.


Breaking Bad’s series finale ended a few weeks ago, and it was trending on social media for days. Recently, a reporter from Philadelphia decided to tap into this success and tweet about a shooting that had happened. Well, this was a terrible, terrible decision. Although we are sure she was merely trying to spread the message quickly, she instead made a joke out of a very real, very awful shooting. Never, ever use tragedy in your Real Time Marketing strategy. To be safe, always stick to the light hearted topics.

Do: Be clever!


The key thing to remember when being clever is to not push so hard. This tweet from Doritos during Shark Week was a brilliant example. No, Doritos doesn’t naturally tie into Shark Week, but when you look at this picture, it just makes sense.  Unlike the Denny’s (come to our restaurant and eat bacon tweet), this soft sell makes Doritos a funny, and clever brand.

Real Time Marketing can be an incredible useful tactic if you’re trying to spread your message quickly to a large number of people. However, it is not a cut and dry method. Make sure you’re doing it right before you send out a message you can’t take back.

3 CPG Social Media Campaigns That Are Doing Something Right

CPG Brands that are doing marketing right

The Consumer Packaged Goods or CPG market is a booming one. Valued at approximately 2 Trillion dollars, as a marketer it can be a bit overwhelming. Although the CPG market is somewhat saturated, some companies have gone above and beyond to make their product stand out using social media. Here are three brands that we believe are using social media to their advantage.

  1. Skittles: The Skittles Facebook account is unlike anything I have every seen before. They have really tapped into their particular audience and it is working. They currently have more than 25 million people on their page, and 90k+ people talking about them. How did they do this? They engaged their consumer by making 5822_10152475790858475_474397604_ntheir page fun.  For the Skittles social accounts its not about the sale- it’s about the experience. They currently have an ongoing campaign called My BFF (best fan forever). This campaign allows fans to post a picture of themselves with Skittles on the wall to have the chance to be featured as the BFF for the week. This is a simple, and cost effective way to get consumers actively engaged and talking about the brand. Not only do they upload a photo of themselves, but they take the time to pose with the product-brilliant.
  2. Dove: By now, most people have seen Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches on Youtube, if you haven’t you should really check it out.  The premise was to ask women to describe themselves to a sketch artist, and then to have a stranger describe that same person. The outcome was that most women described themselves in a less attractive light.  Dove is a brand that represents real women, and strives to make women all over the world recognize their own beauty- the real beauty sketches campaign really exemplified this. The real beauty here lies within in the reach of this campaign. Not only did the video itself get 55,201,018 views, but Dove also cross promoted the campaign with the hashtag #WeAreBeautiful starting multiple conversations on Twitter. This campaign worked because it started an honest conversation, and gained the trust of the target audience.
  3. Murphy’s Oil Soap: I know,I know Murphy’s Oil is what your Grandmother uses to clean her floors- they certainly cannot be well versed in social media. I’ve  gotta4f3d9d23f09808f93f44ce9f497578a1 say  they have surprised us all. This past April, Murphy’s Oil teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation to host a really cool Pinterest fundraising campaign. Murphy’s Oil created this Pinterest page with the intention of donating $1 (up to $20,000) to the Arbor Day Foundation for every repin. Not only did this campaign helpraise money for a worthy cause, it also created brand awareness and loyalty.

Although the CPG market can be difficult to navigate, many companies are beginning to see the value in a well organized social media campaign. If nothing else, social media and word of mouth marketing help to get your brand’s name out there. If you’re lucky enough to be as successful as these three campaigns, you will surely stand out.