Beyoncé Does it Right: My Thoughts on the 2018 Phoenix Digital Summit

phoenix digital summitHaving never attended a digital advertising summit, I had grand expectations of what it would entail. I half envisioned a SXSW feel with a plethora of vendors, swag and music; what I got was not quite at that level (and rightfully so, with a ticket price about 5x cheaper than SXSW) but definitely worth the visit and the cost. Walking in, there were typical registration lines and about 5 vendors with booths. After checking in and receiving my pamphlet of speakers and identifying lanyard for the event, I entered a large banquet room to listen to GoDaddy’s former CEO deliver the keynote presentation. We all split into three different rooms once the keynote concluded, and were then given the ability to choose between the three simultaneous presentations, switched out every hour or so throughout the day.       

With topics ranging from conversion optimization to creating an effective Instagram account, the summit offered something for everyone. One of the presenters who really resonated with me was Michael Barber, CCO for Godfrey in Pennsylvania.

“72 hours, 10 emails, WTF”.

This is how Barber began his presentation. Centered on successful tips for the modern marketer, his talk was titled “Making Lemonade: Traits Beyoncé Can Teach the Modern Marketer to Run the World”. Using humor, cultural relevancy and candidness, Barber’s presentation walked us through the importance of brands serving relevant content to our consumers, not creating friction, and overall making it easy for consumers to connect with them.

He walked us through many examples of brands who were “doing it wrong,” and also showed examples of brands that are offering out-of-the-box, unique experiences that bring their brand to the next level and entice consumers to engage with them.

Doing It Wrong:

Barber purchases a bed from unnamed Bed Company. Said Bed Company then starts sending emails to Barber, marketing discounts to him in the hopes of enticing him to purchase a bed. They go on to offer him a $600 discount if he buys a bed with them, when he not only already bought a bed but only received a $300 discount when doing so. And hence, a classic example of a brand not using the data they own to inform their marketing tactics.

Doing It Right:

A hotel in LA is competing with the top hotel brand names for business and simply does not have the quality of hotel to live in the same realm as their competitors. Ingeniously, they implement a “Popsicle line” for kids at the pool to use at their whim to request free popsicles. A staff member promptly brings out a popsicle upon request. Outcome? Parents are stoked, and the hotel climbs the ranks to being one of the top-rated hotels in the LA area. Just like Beyoncé, this hotel totally slays.

Using Beyoncé as the backdrop to exemplify how to market to consumers the “right” way, Barber was able to show example after example of good versus bad marketing tactics. Overall, I walked away from his presentation understanding that different isn’t always better if it causes frustration and friction (people like consistency), that allowing your audience to communicate with you as a brand should be a seamless process (If it’s difficult, people move on), and MOST importantly, if you want to hold people’s attention when delivering a presentation, dance and play pop music – works every time.

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