Digital marketing is always evolving, so it is important to be informed about ways to upgrade strategies and content. On August 19, 2021, five local experts gave us five minutes and each expressed a unique aspect of digital marketing.
First, Laurie Gavitt-Smith from RTI International encouraged us to consider the ways we engage and connect with our audience. She began with a brief history lesson on how the internet has changed since the world wide web was released in Public Domain in 1993. Laurie pointed out that as technology has advanced over the years, it has changed the implementation of three key elements of marketing: inform, inspire and connect. Today, it is crucial that we appeal to diverse learning styles through blogs, infographics, photos, podcasts and other visual or audio options. See all of Laurie’s examples in the video.
Next, Morgan Weston with the Research Triangle Foundation of NC spoke about the multi-faceted makeup of a brand. She informed us that a brand is not only a name, but its personality, history, writing style and so much more. Morgan used both Nike and Research Triangle Park branding as examples. She noted that as these brands evolved, their logos were paramount, but both organizations stayed true to the underlying elements and meanings that resonated with their culture and audiences. Hear more about branding from Morgan in the video.
Up next, Mike Althoff from Keen Decision Systems focused on next-level technology that may be applied to digital marketing. Mike pointed out that when we formulate a new marketing plan, it usually includes an element of guess-work. We may have projections of what might work but we won’t know if an idea is successful until we try it out in real time. A solution he proposed was the use of applications that apply audience data to predict the outcome of or reaction to a plan, which helps with decision-making when building a campaign or defining a target audience. Watch the video to hear more about this marketing technology.
We then heard from Pashara Black with Egnyte on what community building taught her about digital marketing. Pashara posed the question “how do you build community from behind a screen?” To answer this, she used Netflix’s “Strong Black Lead” Initiative as an example. Netflix noticed that a segment of their customer base wanted access to films with Black leading characters, specifically, films that weren’t about Black trauma. The company developed a social media campaign around this feedback from their community and offered a place to connect and continue the conversation via Instagram. Pashara suggested that Netflix’s approach was successful because they talked to their audience instead of at them. Learn about segmenting your audience and strengthening your community by watching Pashara’s talk.
Our next presenter, Allison Chaney from Duke University, discussed the perks and pitfalls of algorithmic personalization. Allison stated that adding personalization features to your website may ensure customer retention, increase average order rate and improve the quality of visitor engagement with your brand. During her studies at Duke University, Allison found that working with unspecific data caused the most problems. To minimize this issue, Allison suggested questions to ask when reviewing results with data experts. For example, determining how frequently the data model is updated can control shifts in engagement and helps us learn how to direct website visitors where we want them to go. Check out the video to watch Allison’s talk and learn more about algorithms and customer engagement.
All of the speakers this month shared great insights and tips. If you want more of where this came from, join us for our next installment of #RTP180 on September 16th about Food Science.