Top Takeaways from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit

This week, Potomac Tech Wire and Capitol Communicator hosted the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Baltimore. The event drew more than 300 marketing and communications professionals to more than 15 keynotes and panel discussions about everything from advocacy to reputation management, with a heavy emphasis on digital.

MAM2In listening to many of the sessions, and monitoring what other conference attendees were posting on social media throughout the day, I came away with four main takeaways from the event.

We’re Measuring the Wrong Things on Social

This is not a new concept for marketers and public relations professionals. We know that measuring the effectiveness of our campaigns goes beyond the metrics Facebook, Twitter and other platforms provide, but we run into walls when determining what data we actually need to collect. The key is understanding what hard objectives we are trying to achieve (impressions, sentiment, behavior) and finding ways to benchmark and measure against those. One consideration that emerged was that measuring the ROI of social requires dedicated resources of both budget and people and the examination of data at every stage of a campaign.

We Need to Lead with Data When Reporting to the Top

In a world of intensive demands on executives’ time and attention, the imperative has developed that we share hard data (such as the metrics mentioned above) when reporting to C-Suite leadership.  Marketers have a tendency to become excited about re-tweets and shares and likes, but those details about “how” we get the job done are not as relevant as “what” it does for the business and what impact it has on the organization’s core objectives.  CFO’s lead with data. Sales executives lead with data. Marketers need to do the same if they want the respect and support of CEO’s who thrive on numbers and trends.

LinkedIn Remains a Mystery

While marketers continue to search for ways to make Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms work for their businesses, many remain in the dark about THE social network created FOR business. The session on using LinkedIn for marketing and PR prompted a lot of questions and discussion about some of the site’s most basic functionality.  Even for B2B companies, where LinkedIn is a natural fit, features including sponsored updates and strategic targeting are not fully understood or utilized. We need to do a better job of leveraging LinkedIn to expand our networks, market our content, extend the reach of our experts and build our pipelines.

There is Some Crazy Stuff Going on in Experiential Marketing

Truly cutting-edge experiential marketing techniques are used by brands including Kellogg’s and Volkswagon. Augmented reality is turning cereal boxes into concert stages and old-school billboards into exciting interactive experiences that bring brands and consumers together in new ways. This is bleeding-edge stuff that big budget, risk-tolerant marketers are embracing, but the rest of us cannot afford to be slow to adopt.

The 2013 Mid Atlantic Marketing Summit in Baltimore was well-organized thanks to Paul Sherman and Paul Duning. Surely attendees are still digesting all the valuable information shared by the speakers and subsequent discussions. If you participated, what were your key takeaways?

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