September 15 – 16, 2021 saw the return of Digital Summit (in person!) to Detroit! This event was anticipated by many as this conference is always packed with interesting speakers and the latest marketing tactics for all walks of business. Even though this year’s show was not as heavily attended as it has been in the past, the content and networking was not lacking! It also made for a very comfortable attendee experience since social distancing was easy and everyone stayed masked up.
Day 1 of Digital Summit began with the choice of 3 Masterclasses and continued non-stop with sessions covering SEO, digital analytics, email marketing, content marketing, influencers and marketing, website information, social media tips and tricks and so much more.
Day 2 saw everyone hit the ground running early with another busy day of sessions, sharing marketing ideas, networking, and a keynote from Shingy, the former “Digital Prophet” of AOL. That is an interesting person to watch for over an hour!
It is our humble opinion that there was far too much to cover for the full 2 days, so here are our top 4 takeaways from Digital Summit 2021:
1. Email marketing is alive and well!
Email continues to reign supreme when it comes to free, easy, quick, and casting a wide net. While there are simple email campaigns and programs, more robust programs are required for certain campaigns.
Michael Barber, Brand Consultant and Marketing Strategist, spent 4 hours on Wednesday morning teaching the Masterclass “Advanced Email Marketing: Tactics to Build Robust Email Programs.” Michael led us down a path of how to leverage advanced tactics for templates, how to make emails more accessible, ISP campaign scoring, moving towards segmented and personalized campaigns, and developing a metrics-based dashboard. This was by far the best session we attended over the two days. Michael is engaging and incredibly versed in email marketing. He presents a no-nonsense approach, which was refreshing in a sea of occasional “fluff.” He also dove into the Apple iOS 15 email privacy updates we discussed previously.
2. Be authentic!
Being authentic through telling your story creates loyalty. People like to feel connected so if your marketing feels genuine and real you then form that emotional connection. You need to always have an understanding of how peoples’ behaviors have evolved and where you and your brand can fit in.
3. There are plenty of zero dollar and low-cost marketing options.
This was the topic of Day 1’s keynote address given by Jon Youshaei, formerly of Instagram and YouTube. He’s one of the few marketers who has worked at both, so he has a very unique perspective when it comes to social media. Social media is one of the easiest ways to cut through noise and on a next to nothing budget. This session talked heavily about finding engaging content for social media calendars, reaching more customers with less budget, and working towards being able to gauge which posts will drive the most engagement for your business.
4. Analytics, analytics, analytics!
There were plenty of sessions at Digital Summit on Google Analytics where we learned the criteria required to efficiently evaluate our existing analytics programs and then figure out any issues affecting accuracy and efficiency. We also did a deeper dive into activating all of the features available in your analytics needed to produce the best data set. There was also a lot of discussion around reporting and how to automate the whole process. As always, it’s always about accuracy with analytics!
It was a whirlwind 2 days of information, but more importantly, it was a sign of people coming back together for events which we have missed. It was a great 2 days, and we look forward to attending Digital Summit in 2022!