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Marketing Madness 2016 – Key Takeaways from Chicago Top Marketers

Courtney Beasley

Earlier this week, Walker Sands hosted an event at Highline Bar + Lounge called, “Marketing Madness.” A blend of networking and speed dating, we tested a new concept to foster smart conversations with Chicago top marketers.

We invited four marketers to host tables and lead discussions around four topics. After 15 minutes were up, a buzzer sounded and our guests moved onto the next topic and table of their choice.

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We had four great hosts:

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Our topics were crowdsourced and based off responses from our RSVP’s. The topics included:

  1. Tools for productivity and growth/ how they help you evolve as a marketer
  2. Multi-generational marketing: Staying relevant using a multi-channel approach
  3. Keeping an audience engaged while avoiding annoyance and maintaining frequency
  4. Story Shaping: Communicating internally and externally

Here are some takeaways and learning from our guests and hosts:

  1. Top tools and resources for growth: The evening started with a marketer’s favorite topic – tools best used for success. Here’s a quick list of some tools that people use every day:
  1. Multi-generational marketing: Staying relevant using a multi-channel approach - From baby boomers to millennials, finding the right approach is crucial to making sure your audience is included in your message. Our second topic allowed the hosts and guests to discuss with some of their takeaways here:
    • Begin with persona development for each of your demographics
    • Choose your marketing channels based on persona motivations
    • Connect with customers and prospects when they are in the mindset to engage with your brand or product.
    • Ignite your internal resources – get into the minds of each demographic represented by your team. .How do they engage? How do they buy?
  2. Keeping an audience engaged while avoiding annoyance and maintaining frequency: Cadence and tone are very important when relaying your brand and abilities to your audience. Finding the perfect balance of the two is an art requiring mastery. Our third topic opened this up for discussion and below are a few takeaways from those conversations.
    • Use your personas and demographic-based knowledge to understand cadence
    • Always aim to provide value
    • Utilize drip campaigns to set frequency and offer a variety of resources – including everything from tip sheets to free demos
  3. Communicating internally and externally: Having a story that is easy to understand, relatable and consistent is every marketers dream. The reality is that sometimes the finer details get lost in translation. For our final topic, our guests discussed best practices for keeping messaging aligned both in house and in the industry. Here are a few points from those conversations.
  • Keep your message simple and focused
  • Marketers set the tone and message. Move it forward with confidence by only looping in people who can flag for issues. Too many cooks in the kitchen are a bad thing for messaging.
  • Give internal and external advocates the tools they need to share tips and ideas (draft social tweets, engage on social media)
  • Encourage employees to contribute to your blog so they can feel connected and help build the brand story.
  • A great resource for this type of advocacy is the book Word of Mouth Marketing

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Thank you again to all of our hosts and guests for participating in our experimental event. So far, we’ve received rave reviews and requests to repeat the event next year. To check out more pictures from the evening, head over to our Facebook page.

If you’d like to be kept in the loop for other upcoming events, please reach out to Courtney Beasley to stay up-to-date on all things marketing.