Lessons from Digital Marketing Innovation Summit Conference


The Innovation Enterprise held Digital Marketing Innovation Summit, here in New York City, on March 19-20, 2015. The major theme throughout the two days was that “digital” is no longer a side thing, but inseparable part of the main stream. One brand even went to restructure the team to make this happen.

This is mainly fueled by people’s use of mobile devices. Powerful mobile devices are fueling creation of UGC contents that brands can leverage but also are the main consumption channel, and that brands really need to step uptheir game on the Content 2.0: Video.


Joy Robins, SVP Global Revenue & Strategy at Quartz discussed about how moving into mobile-first platform is so important and what makes content that sticks. She emphasized that for the share of time spent on digital media by US adults from 2010-2013, mobile has now overtook desktop and that NY Times.com’s homepage traffic has gone down tremendously over 3 years from 120 to 30 and still going down, indicating that this is due to mobile use. Because of this, their focus has been optimizing the mobile experience. In fact, their recent 160 updates to site were all to optimize the mobile experience. In addition to the mobile, she emphasized that mobile experience should lead naturally to social sharing, which is crucial because their biggest referral traffic is coming from Facebook.

Michal Shapira, SVP & Head of Marketing at Turner Broadcasting discussed how digital video is playing critical role for their business. Their Digital+Studio team is creating 8-10 videos per day, which is exponential growth compared to a year ago when they used to create 4 videos per week. In fact, some of them are so good that TV picks them up. This is all to say that even in broadcast business, the line between digital and TV is really blurring In terms targeting, she emphasized how more personalized the experience and content get, the more addictive, essential, and engaging it becomes. The audience will want to come back to experience more. Audience

Daniel Stubbs, Exec Dir. Digital Intelligence at Conde Nast shared how they develop their target audience profile, recognizing how hard it is to get your audience to view your content even though the content is beautiful and image driven. Here is the lowdown:

  1. Get aligned on KPIs : Get the “eggheads” together, create measurement plan, and pilot
  2. Know the readers
  3. Creation and distribution must be one
  4. Set small, incremental, measurable goals
  5. Measure, test, learn

He also discussed that readers are willing to give us 15 seconds for the content to make an impact and that amongst social, search and email, email still is the most important channel that brings traffic to the site. Additionally, he shared the set of tools that his team uses to analyze the data:

Finally, he emphasized how headline is crucial in getting the content read as it represents the whole package, but this can only be achieved through extensive testing and optimization.

Om Marwah, Cognitive Scientist at Walmart Labs approached how to optimize the conversion by applying psychology to personalization. He started by setting up the framework for conversion:

  • User -> Product -> Information -> System of thought -> Choice -> Conversion

And that, traditionally, typical segmentation of users are based on demography or product driven. But technology is enabling us base the segmentation on behavior (e.g. sensitive to price). He then went in-depth into psychology of how people think and act (System of Thoughts) and how it can be leveraged for marketing:

  • Time bound : Limited time only
  • Mona Lisa : Missing in 1911 made it famous
  • Loss Aversion & Scarcity : GroupOn – Time left to buy: 4 days
  • Sign Condition : Petrified National Forest – Signs are making people to take action, otherwise people would have simply ignored
  • Social Proof : “I was in this bar last night. I highly recommend for the marketers (specific and targeted, not too broad like for all Americans)”
  • Defaults : Organ Donation – Belgium has 95% people opting in vs Germany 10% because it is checked by  default! Help make people decide.
  • Find experts and use experts : “1000 kids voted yes”
  • Influencers
  • Affirm : Throughout the conversion funnel, reaffirm these messages.
  • Make People Feel Safe : If people feel safe, people will take more risk : “book this hotel now, and you won’t have to pay until at the hotel” or “buy this item and you can return”

All these marketing tactics based on psychology can be great, but if you want the longevity for the brand, the following information related bias effects should be considered:

  • Focusing effect : Who’s happier, Californians or Mid-westerners?
  • Ambiguity effect : People avoid options in which the probability is unknown
  • Information bias : People seek information even though they don’t affect action. This is human nature.
  • Peak and Effect : Memory of how it was at peak and how it was at the end

Digital Advertisement

A few key notable brands also shared different but successful ways to serve up their advertisements knitting them into personalized and mobile driven experience.

CNN will offer CNNgo that allows CNN to be streamed 24×7. During the commercial, users will have various choices of information that they can drill down if they wanted to.

Neil Katz, VP, Content at The Weather Company shared a few case studies where they ran successfully sponsored content and contests.  With Pantene, they created what’s called Haircast, where it shows customized 5 day hair forecast, and it recommended products and relevant content for your hair. This enabled 2.4% increase in sale during Summer. With Duracell, their outage report allowed Duracell to send the crew out to the homes to supply batteries. This allowed to create video content to amplify their “PowerForward” program. Last but not least, with Toyota, their photo contest, “It’s Amazing Out There”, was able to garner 32K photo submissions, 773K votes, 670K social shares, and 2M total views. 


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