2013 The Art of Marketing Takeaways | Part 1

As a first-time attendee to “The Art of Marketing” I didn’t really know what to expect, aside from the usual post-conference buzz that wears off when one discovers how little can really be implemented. Despite this, I was looking forward to a day down by the Vancouver Waterfront totally devoted to marketing and hosted by some bright folks who I was fairly sure would provide a few mental snacks I could squirrel away.

Sadly, there was no actual food and I didn’t get the VIP pass that apparently included lunch. So aside from some itty-bitty little cupcakes from FWE, I had to fend for myself in a hungry suit-wearing throng of 1500+ marketers. I was so glad I wore my runners!  Also, after 8 hours in a windowless room, I was jonesing for a wifi connection and my phone battery was low so pics are slim, but all that aside, the conference was amazing.

Good thing there was a feast of mental tidbits to share and I hope you find them as tasty as I did. Nice thing is, you’ll get the best bits without the parking.

The first speaker, Eric Ryan, Co-Founder & Chief Brand Architect, Method, & Author of The Method Method. 

A brand I personally use and love, Eric kicked off the conference with a dynamic presentation that beautifully demonstrated how small budgets and small thinking mean big WIN in today’s markets.

I was impressed how competing against “monsters” (P&G, Tide), Method was able to carve out market-share by thinking “small” and by keeping it “a little weird”. The key was building a community from the ground up, curating experiences, and remembering that innovation is “a transfer of emotion”… bloggers and community advocates are your greatest brand assets, and that every employee is a marketer. If you teach employees to embody the brand, “would we want to use it?” and teach how to “speak in the brand voice” you don’t need large marketing teams and budgets. It also doesn’t hurt to think of EVERYTHING as a beta test.

Nimbleness, risk-taking, bold cheekiness, and being able to act on the opportunity without lengthy planning are all qualities the brand seeks to keep hold of, even as they grow larger. He reminded us that authenticity resides in remembering that the “larger you get, the smaller you act”.

His enthusiasm and “people against dirty” philosophy reminds me of Simon Sinek’s Ted talk… Eric is a perfect example of communicating the “why” and how this flows outward via the “Golden Circle” to evolve into the “how” and “what” organically.

Eric gave some great examples of how Method has dealt with challenges by using brand capital they have built in the online space and adopting online advertising strategies to keep costs low and continue to grow the community. Very wise in a space where they’ll never have enough cash to go head to head with Tide, but are kicking ass anyway because people resonate with why they are doing it.https://www.youtube.com/embed/4P6Qwppw-3U?feature=player_embedded

Jonah Berger, Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania & New York, and NY Times Bestselling Author of Contagious

This dude has put some serious thought into what makes something popular and presented 6 steps to getting your stuff talked about; Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public Presence, Practical Value, and Stories.

Out of the gate, he discussed how to build social currency by thinking hard about why people share your content. Why do you share? One way to do it is sharing a secret, let them feel like insiders, or by making them feel good about your product and they’ll talk about you along the way.

Find the inner remarkability of your product. Craft contagious content by finding what is truly great about whatever you do. His example, the “Blendtec: Will it Blend” YouTube videos, taking a boring product like a blender, doing something cool with it that embodies the remarkability – it’s embedded in the campaign. In this case, the inner “remarkability” is how freaking awesome that blender must be to actually blend an iPhone.

Triggers get your product talked about within the environment, for example, the “Friday” video get’s far more views on Fridays (I won’t burden you with the link to the Friday song) … Cheerios is talked about in the morning 360 days of the year, and actually, outperforms Disney in terms of social currency because the triggers for these discussions are conjoined with the product. Peanut butter & Jelly, Kit Kat & coffee… the trick is to find your peanut butter.

Emotions have a contagious aspect and negative emotions, such as anger, can make messages much more likely to be shared – not just positive emotions.

Also, people like to buy what other people buy. How public is the use of your product? Being able to demonstrate this provides “social proof” (credibility and word of mouth) so that anyone who is considering switching from something to something will look toward what other folks are doing and be swayed. Jonah gave a great example of how Apple initially had their logo facing users on the first generation PowerBook, then turned it around on later versions so folks on the “public” side could see the logo… “social proof” in action.

He also discussed how if something has perceived “practical value” it’s more likely to be talked about, using the corn shucker guy as an example, lol, 7 million views and counting for this very practical tip!

Finally, he talked out how marketers are used to selling but not telling stories. We always revert to “see my product…buy my product”. But stories can be carried by “Trojan Horse” campaigns such as the Blendtec ad, and I was blown away by how awesome this concept is. He gave the Subway example as another good Trojan Horse… instead of just saying “did you know subway has 5 grams of fat?” (boring) they show Jerry holding up his old huge pants. Done. And, it works for B2B also.

Find the stories and use the Trojan Horse method to carry the brand, make it memorable, and repeatable… for example “Panda Cheese”. The key to doing this well is to figure out the message and to build a story around it.

These ideas from these two awesome speakers gave me a lot to ponder that I’m still thinking about and, no doubt, we’ll be incorporating some of these ideas as we move forward in our marketing at Function Point.


Part 2 | Scooter Braun, Talent Manager: Justin Bieber, Psy, Carly Rae Jepsen; & 2013 TIME 100 Most Influential People in the World and Tom Fishburne, Founder & CEO of Marketoon Studios.

Stay tuned!

Carol Sykes | fp. Marketing and Communications Manager

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