Top 5 Marketing Takeaways from the High Five Conference
Where can you learn, laugh, and perfect your high-five technique? (Hint: It’s all about the elbows.) At High Five! The High Five Conference is an annual adventure in marketing mind expansion conceived by the Triangle chapter of the American Marketing Association in Raleigh, North Carolina. For six years running, High Five has hosted a menagerie of innovators, authors, strategists, tech heads, thinkers, thought leaders — and a few rock stars — in a mosh-pit meet-up of marketers and creatives.
After spending two jam-packed days immersed in High Five’s unique choose-your-own-adventure education — designed to appeal to everyone from brass-tacks marketing analysts to starry-eyed graphic artists — I came away with a notebook full of ideas and insights. Here are my top 5 marketing takeaways you can put into action today:
1. SAVE ME A SEAT
When you’re meeting with your team about a client project, keep an empty chair at the table so your customer is always in the room. Imagine your client asking: “Do you know me?” and “Are you listening to me?” How does that change the meeting? (Also, Elvis is in the building.)
2. TALK IT UP
Get closer to customers and convert fans to advocates with the word-of-mouth magic of “talk triggers.” Brands need to listen up, because by 2020 a majority of purchase decisions will be based on customer experience (read Walker’s full report here). To get customers talking, “same is lame” doesn’t work. “Different” is the secret sauce. Think about it: We discuss different, we ignore average. To be effective, talk triggers must be remarkable, repeatable, relevant, and reasonable — because, to that last point, grandiosity creates suspicion. Get started with the 5 types of talk triggers you can deploy today: generosity, speed, usefulness, empathy, and attitude. Have the courage to be different! (Also, alpacas are cool.)
3. GET IT TOGETHER
Promise is one thing. Delivery is another. Digital transformation is presenting us with challenges in exclusion and bias, and functional issues are creating social issues. In pursuing the promises of digital, we are leaving too many behind. Is there bias in your technology, algorithms, data sets, messaging, or design? Look at representation, and learn to recognize exclusion where there is a mismatch with context. Consider your participation, and strive to learn from diversity by discovering what’s universal. Then get moving with the creation of solutions — solve for one, extend for many. (Also, we’re all geniuses.)
4. THINK BEYOND
Make a splash in the ocean of content by going tangential. Take your ideas all the way to the 30,000-foot level and then dive in! Original content is engaging and valuable. So think beyond the traditional to explore new content territories, and push the boundaries while staying connected to your brand — mostly. Leverage truly surprising data to your advantage. And remember, timing is everything. (Also, maps rule.)
5. CHANGE IT UP
Change is coming. We’re busting down the silos between direct response marketing and brand marketing to become performance marketers. It’s a whole new world where getting customers to act is just as important as getting them to know you. Get ahead of the curve and get out your sledgehammer today! (Also, 5 is a magic number.)
A Senior Marketing Manager with Dotted Line, Amy Gerhart Favreau is a strategic thinker, word nerd, and communication engineer. A unique blend of writer, journalist, and marketer—a writer with purpose!—she has more than 25 years of experience, including publishing, agency, corporate, and nonprofit. When not at the keyboard or meeting with clients, you can find her at the baseball field or wandering the stacks at the library.