This July 25-26, the Digital Summit Minneapolis brought together some of the best and brightest in digital marketing: experts in design, search, content and more. Several members of the McCann Minneapolis team joined to learn, gather insights, and be inspired about emerging digital trends. Wish you were there? We’ve boiled down the 5 key themes that emerged from the conference.


Personalization and Customization is King

“Consumers don’t care if content is sponsored; they care if it’s good.” This statement or something like it appeared early and often throughout the conference. What does it mean? Digital marketers need to curate a wide-range of content, and use data effectively to present relevant content to the right consumers at the right time – regardless of channel.

Furthermore, as marketers we need to challenge traditional thinking around targeting and segmentation. Instead of pushing content to targeted segments, let’s help consumers self-select what’s most relevant to them. This idea comes into play often as we plan, manage, and optimize digital and programmatic campaigns at McCann Minneapolis. Massive amounts of data, unique devices and platforms, and quality content make up our at-the-ready toolkit. From here, it’s about pinpointing the perfect audience and moment to make our tools work in the most effective way possible. If we’re paying a premium to reach women in Baltimore with three kids who drive a Volvo, our ability to provide the most relevant message to her is our win.


More Friction + Time Wasted + Unhappy People = Less Business

It seems so obvious, but it’s remarkable how many brands don’t make it easy for consumers to purchase their products and services. Consumers too often need to jump through hoops in order to make an online purchase, cancel a subscription, contact a customer support representative, and the list goes on.

As human beings, time is our biggest asset. We are busier and more distracted than ever before. Marketers shouldn’t “get in the way” of that. Marketers should make it easy to work with their customer to maintain relationships and build a loyal relationship.

Below is an example of a brand creating “friction.”


There is no “Silver Bullet”

There isn’t a single solution to digital marketing. It is an iterative discipline, and objectives need to be considered and adjusted often. 

To create the kind of personalized consumer experience described above, marketers need to:

·       Create and curate content

·       Collect and analyze data

·       Merge content and data to enable a consumer-directed experience that provides real value

This isn’t something that happens overnight with one single software package or magic elixir. The key is to get your brand started and develop an iterative plan to improve over time. To quote Voltaire, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.”


Email is not going anywhere…


Email remains strong both as a means to deliver content as well as to collect unique data on users. Given that teens aged 14-18 prefer email from brands over other communication formats [Source: Adestra], it’s not going anywhere.

Email addresses power much of the cross-device technology that helps make user experience seamless.  Capturing an email address (or other uniquely identifiable information) and utilizing this data allows brands to gain insights into their consumer base via data onboarding and cookie matching. More and more, we’re working with our clients and brands to take advantage of this data and build out smart, effective messaging solutions.

Finally, marketers need to feature (not hide) unsubscribe links. This provides the opportunity to offer a more personalized communication and/or to learn more about why people no longer find your email communication relevant. 


 The “New” Marketing Organization

As we all know, marketing today is not what marketing was twenty, ten, or even five years go. We live in a different world surrounded with technology, and how we go about our daily lives has changed dramatically. As a result, agencies and marketing organizations are adjusting the way they think and structure teams.

Speakers exclaimed that that the channel-specific/linear way of organizing marketing teams just doesn’t fit tomorrow’s media landscape. As media evolves, the way we approach and build strategies changes.  This will demand a more diverse set of skills, the nimbleness to work confidently across numerous channels, and a data acumen to target, measure, and coordinate messages differently.

While “roles” may not always be crystal clear, if the team is clear on an overall vision, they can deliver the strategy and execution to support this new norm. Comfort with ambiguity, a “figure it out” attitude, and an orchestrator who understands and pushes team members in the right direction may be the change needed to make that vision a reality.