We have officially entered Activate season with our first event last week—Activate Virtual. Activate, our customer engagement conference series, is meant to bring together marketers and inspire them to create lasting marketing moments that evoke customer joy. Activate Virtual was a way for marketers around the world to gather—virtually—and learn from experts in the field and connect with one-another.
Speakers included Matthew Luhn, former storyteller at Pixar, who spoke about the power of storytelling to drive emotional connection; Stephanie Richardson, VP of Product Marketing at Airtable, who highlighted why dynamic, personalized customer lifecycles are critical; Elliot Ross, Technology Evangelist at Taxi for Email by SparkPost, who discussed inclusivity and accessibility in email; Alyssa Aquino, Senior Retention Marketing Associate at MeUndies, who challenged marketers to push the boundaries of “traditional” SMS marketing, and more.
If you missed it, don’t worry. You can watch them all on demand here. But for a preview, here’s a recap of the key takeaways from each session below. To avoid missing out on all the oodles of Activate content going forward, be sure to register for Activate Summit Europe in London and register for Activate Summit North America in San Francisco.
Activate Virtual Takeaways, by Session
Killin’ the Keynote
To start the day, our CMO, Adri Gil Miner, crushed the keynote. Adri highlighted the three key themes that lead to a joyful experience:
- Harmonize. This theme is all about blending marketing channels to build a cohesive experience. It’s important to consider the technical requirements needed to execute a harmonized experience and optimize your martech stack to allow you to do so.
- Individualize. Individualization goes behind cohorts and segments. True individualization requires personalized marketing messages and strategies for each unique customer. To individualize, your brand will need to look at event and behavioral data.
- Dynamic Content. Lastly, dynamic content means activating the data you’ve collected. You should be connecting with your audience in real-time, using behavioral triggers to feed them customized content based on their preferences.
Adri also introduced our first seasonal release. To learn more, tune into the showcase webinar on May 4.
Advice from Airtable
Airtable’s VP of Product Marketing, Stephanie Richardson, discussed the three questions brands should ask themselves when embarking on building a dynamic customer journey.
- What does a successful customer look like? Stephanie focused on the definition of a successful customer. For Airtable, as an example, a successful customer was someone who was proficient in a specific area of the platform.
- How do you measure success? Then, Stephanie explained how brands can measure that success. Airtable used a scoring model. They looked at different types of users and examined how the proficiency in certain areas changed and gave them a sophistication score.
- How do you get there faster? Lastly, once you understand what a successful customer looks like and how to measure it, you have to figure out the fastest path to get customers to become successful. Airtable created a specific learning path, with step-by-step directions, for how to drive creator sophistication.
Pixar’s former Lead Storyteller and Animator, Matthew Luhn, dove into why storytelling is so impactful, especially for marketing. Stories cause consumers to make immediate decisions and rationalize those decisions later. Why? He focused on three key aspects of storytelling:
- Memorable. People are more likely to remember something if there’s a story attached to it.
- Impactful. Matthew talked about how the fluctuation between dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins can leave a lasting impact. When thinking about marketing messaging, create anticipation, empathy, and excitement.
- Personal. Consumer decisions are made based on whether or not they like your brand. But, to like you, they have to know you. By using metaphors, testimonials, and experiences, brands can connect on a personal level with their audiences.
Delight with Design
Tattly’s former Creative Director, Cristina Gomez, dug deep into what good design actually means. She explored how customers identify good design and how design can impact the overall experience. Delightful design should be:
- Attention-grabbing. Like a pretty wine bottle that stands out on a shelf full of other bottles, design has to catch the consumer’s eye.
- Understandable. When design doesn’t get the message across it can become frustrating for the audience. Make sure your design is to-the-point.
- Audience-friendly. Design has to appeal to your audience. Keeping your audiences’ aesthetic preferences in mind when you design helps your brand connect with the right people. For example, if your target audience leans towards gothic, maybe your brand frequently uses black in brand designs.
- Consistent. Design should be consistent across all channels. A brand is more than a logo.
Elevating Email Experiences
Elliot Ross, Technology Evangelist for Taxi for Email, by Sparkpost, focused specifically on inclusivity and accessibility in email and some changes brands can implement to make a difference right away. Some highlights include:
- It’s a mindset change. Accessibility is making sure your emails work for everyone, regardless of whatever challenges they may face. Websites that don’t have accessible or inclusive sites are missing out on a $1.2T market share.
- We’re not the market. Marketers can often think their experience is everyone’s experience, but that’s not the case. Adding accessibility helps us, as marketers, better understand our audiences while differentiating us from competitors.
- Put the customers in the right position. Inclusivity makes the product and brand more relatable. Make sure imagery is natural and reflects real people and language is free of biases. For example, is using copy like “crazy discount” offensive in relation to mental health?
MeUndies’ Senior Retention Marketing Manager, Alyssa Aquino, then took to the virtual stage to talk about what cross-channel marketing looks like, particularly in regards to SMS marketing. She called out three unique features of SMS:
- Users choose. Alyssa mentioned one powerful aspect of SMS marketing is that users have to opt-in to receive your brand’s communications. They are choosing to receive your messages, so they are more likely to engage.
- Relevant messaging. Because SMS is a more personal channel, users are particularly sensitive to message frequency and relevancy. “45% of US respondents said that message frequency and irrelevance were the top turn-offs for the channel.”
- Keywords for personalization. Because SMS is a two-way street, users can communicate with your brand directly, via keywords, telling you exactly what kind of content they want.
Iterable’s COO, Jeff Samuels, was joined on stage by Pacaso’s Sr. Lifecycle Marketing Manager, Grace Pratt, and Narrator’s Growth Marketing Consultant, Julie Sun, to discuss what data management and individualization looks like in a world without cookies and third-party data sharing. Three takeaways include:
- Customer insights are key. Grace shared that campaigns start by understanding what motivates the customer. What do they value? It helps brands tell stories that relate directly to customer needs and wants. Julie added that brands should have a “north star” when collecting customer data. Why do you want this data? What’s the end goal?
- Operate from a place of abundance, not fear. Julie pointed out that there will always be data, and there will always be a lot of it. She advised to not approach marketing with fear, but with the outlook that there are possibilities and you can use those possibilities to tell stories. Think about your customers’ anti-pet peeves—magic moments of success that peak joy.
- If everything is important, nothing is. When trying to collect data, Julie mentioned that you have to first decide what you want the data enhancements to achieve. Pick your battles. Decide what the goal of this enhancement will be, then focus on only that and get consensus internally. Grace added that cross-collaboration is vital for getting buy-in from internal stakeholders.
Not only were invaluable nuggets of wisdom shared by marketing experts, but we had a blast chatting with one-another, sharing experiences, and building networks. If you missed Activate Virtual and want to watch the full sessions, don’t panic. Like we said above, they’re all available on the Activate Virtual site. But don’t miss out on the future Activate events!