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Valuable Takeaways From Digital Summit Dallas

DDSUM15 Mark Cuban 2

Digital Summit Dallas, #DDSUM15, attracted a record-setting 1,400+ attendees this year, thanks to the 80+ nationally prominent experts, pundits and exhibitors on the agenda. The event definitely lived up to its potential. Participants scored some powerful digital media insights, trend updates and advice from headliners Mark Cuban and Chris Brogan, and the other speakers. The Irving Convention Center hosted all the action on December 8-9 for this third annual summit. Highlights from several of the presentations and workshops are featured below to help inform, educate and even inspire our readers.

 “5 Keys to Marketing in the Age of the Connected Consumer,” Joel Book, Senior Director, Digital Marketing Insight, Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Joel Book’s presentation was loaded with valuable research insights about how today’s connected consumers use online resources to inform their buying decisions and what that means for marketers. He cited data indicating that 82% of consumers now conduct online research before buying products and 93% of those consumers use mobile devices to research and make purchases. On Cyber Monday 2015, mobile was responsible for 44% of online traffic, 27% of all online sales and $3 billion in sales, up 12% over 2014 levels, according to IBM data.

Book emphasized that marketing today is real time, real personal and real competitive, thanks to social media. It’s also cross-channel, cross-device and cross-cloud. 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide their purchase decisions, according to SproutSocial 2014.DDSUM15 Joel Book 3

Today’s connected consumer expects to receive personally relevant content about brands at every stage of the customer experience and on every delivery channel. Personalized content can deliver 5-8 times the ROI on marketing spend and can increase sales by 10% or more, according to a 2015 McKinsey & Company study Book highlighted.

Email is the most effective avenue for lead generation, reported 48% of B2B marketers in a July 2015 study by Ascend2. By 2019, CMOs predict that digital marketing will account for 75% of the marketing budget, according to “CMO Insights” from Accenture Interactive, 2014.

Book wrapped up his remarks with five keys to digital transformation: 1.) Create a customer experience culture in your company, 2.) Grow your audience of email and mobile subscribers, 3.) Develop first-party customer insights, 4.) Invest in agile technology, and 5.) Be your own media company.

Connect with Book at, @JoelBook and

“The Proven 8-Step Formula to Content Marketing,” Quinn Whissen, Marketing Manager,
Vertical Measures
In her workshop, Whissen walked participants through a practical, eight-step process that helps companies drive profitable growth through content marketing. It involves:  1.) Strategy Development, 2.) Ideation, 3.) Content Creation, 4.) Optimization, 5.) Content Promotion, 6.) Distribution, 7.) Lead Nurturing, and 8.) Measurement.

Whissen told her audience to “publish like a publisher” and remove ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) content to improve content marketing. The top challenge DDSUM15 Quinn Whissen 2for B2B content marketers is producing engaging content, according to 60% of respondents in a recent survey she cited. She shared several content solutions with free guides, case studies and white papers topping the list. Telling stories that “fascinate” audiences is a must, according to Whissen. So is making sure your site is mobile responsive. She also emphasized the importance of nurturing relationships created through content marketing with email outreach and newsletters.

Learn more at or by downloading Vertical Measure’s guide, “Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business” at

Connect with Whissen at and follow her on Twitter @QuinnCW.

Keynote Presentation, Jason Miller, Senior Manager, Content Marketing and Social Media, LinkedIn

Miller both entertained and informed the audience by wrapping his remarks around a short tour of rock n roll music, from John Travolta and disco to heavy metal band Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and KISS. He talked about developing “Big Rock” content that makes an impact, repurposing content “like a leftover turkey” across multiple digital channels, and using an “always-on” digital marketing strategy.  From Miller’s perspective, these strategies support the content marketer’s job of owning the content.

Success, said Miller, comes through three types of thought leadership: industry, product, and cultural/social responsibility. He pronounced the death of the one-dimensional marketer while comparing the hybrid marketing team of the future to the rock band KISS.

Learn more about Miller at and follow him on Twitter @JasonMillerCA. DDSUM15 Jason Miller 3

Closing Keynote, “The Disrupter’s Agenda,” Charlene Li, Principal Analyst and Managing Director, Altimeter, a Prophet Company

Charlene Li said the disruption mindset sees disruptions as opportunities, not threats. This mindset drives changes internally, not in response to external threats. The focus is on delivering near-term results while also innovating for the future. Failure is to be expected and managed.

An effective disruption mindset is closely linked to a culture of customer obsession, said Li. She added that the disruption mindset equates growth to a core value. Senior leaders must sponsor and model disruption behaviors while balancing them with performance goals. Barriers that must be overcome include internal battles among non-aligned, silo’d groups; execution-focused compensation; and organizational memory that says, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’

Overall, she described four components of operational excellence tailored for disruption:

  1. People – Hire the right people, provide training, measure their digital behavior, and have leaders actively participate in disruption activities, often digital.
  2. Processes – Develop playbooks, leverage disruptive assets throughout the organization, streamline partnerships, and measure for success and failure.
  3. Tools – Map the customer experience cloud to support an integrated system of engagement across all communication channels. Also, have a data-based system for identifying and sharing information about customers and their behaviors.
  4. Organization – Establish practices that clarify roles and decision making, ensure cross-functional participation, and focus on best practices that benefit customers.

For more information about Li’s findings, connect with her at, @charleneli, or

Conference Keynote Address, Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks; Venture Capitalist;  Star of “Shark Tank”
Mark Cuban told the standing-room only audience that his remarks would probably be the shortest keynote speech ever. He may have been right. But that left plenty of time open for a lively, wide-ranging Q&A session. DDSUM15 Mark Cuban

His overall message about digital media was straightforward: We’ve become enslaved to the numbers and need to step away from the algorithms, move beyond that, and take digital to the physical world and back. Digital needs to extend to experiential marketing. It’s important to take advantage of what makes your products or services unique and really connect and engage with customers. He used his Dallas Mavericks team as an example, asking the audience whether they remember the shots or the people more and how it felt to be there in person at a sporting event. He said the in-person experience gives people an excuse to interact so they want to come back to the digital home. Cuban pointed to the online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker as a great example of creating a hands-on experience for consumers through retail stores that connect them to the product’s digital site.

The nature of technology is to be disruptive, he added. Users gravitate to disruptive ideas. Marketers, including digital marketers, need to ask, “How would I kick my own butt?” when they consider innovative solutions to beat the competition. He covered opportunities for hotels to simplify and personalize service, the growth of Uber against the relatively non-disruptive taxi industry and how sensors are changing the way marketers interface with people, among other topics the audience asked about.

Cuban also talked about the importance of innovating, not just recreating someone else’s idea. He said Warren Buffet says there are three types of entrepreneurs: First, the innovators. Second, there are imitators. And third, the idiots. He added that entrepreneurs only need one really innovative idea to be seen as a genius, even if you fail 50 times along the way. Cuban said he’s had his failures, but he’s been right enough times to be successful. He said he’s supported 71 different start-up companies during the last seven years of the “Shark Tank” tv show.

Keynote Address, “The Impact Equation,” Chris Brogan, CEO, Owner Media Group; Best-Selling Author, Journalist and Business Advisor

As one of today’s most widely known and respected social media experts, Chris Brogan attracted a capacity crowd in the main conference room. His presentation reflected some of the content in the book he and Julien Smith wrote entitled “The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?”

DDSUM15 Chris Brogan 2

Brogan used the acronym “CREATE” to make six strategic points. He tied them to questions he said social media practitioners should ask themselves,  then provided his take on why the answers are important:
Contrast – Do you stand out?
Reach – How far does your message travel?
Exposure – How often is your message seen?
Articulation – How well is your message presented and understood?
Trust – Do people believe you?
Echo – Do people see themselves in you?

Brogan recommended ways to improve digital media’s impact on an organization’s business. He said, “Business is about belonging.” He encouraged marketers to ask, “In a world where people can buy from anyone, why should they buy from you?” Marketing is about the marketplace, he emphasized, and effective digital media reflects three strategic priorities:

  • Clear communications: You have to be clear about how you can help and who you can serve in your communications. Brogan stressed the beauty of brevity in communications, the value of segmentation and the benefits of sequencing bite-size information via email.
  • Connected: You should shine your “bat signal” message to connect with the right audience, not with everyone. People want to belong and there’s a shift from pages to groups (Facebook). It pays to help people find each other, he added.
  • Decisive: You also need to make it easy to take action and be clear when you’re selling so people know where they fit in. Help people decide what they want and need by giving them fewer options and helping them take the next steps. For example, provide them with videos of past successes, free calls, planning guides and a call to action, Brogan recommended.

Brogan said his latest book ,“Insider: Strategies and Secrets for Business Growth in the Age of Distractions,” is due out in early 2016.

For more information about Brogan and Owner Media Group, go to  or .

Like all the presentations at Dallas Digital Summit, these summaries are designed to provide the latest insights about digital media from some of today’s leading experts.  For professionals who leverage its powerful capabilities, the brand-building, customer service and business growth benefits are significant.

To learn more about the Dallas Digital Summit presentations, go to To read the online buzz, go to #DDSUM15 and