Marketing Tips and Trends from FutureM

Three of our team members recently attended the FutureM Conference at INBOUND in Boston. Rebecca, Christine and Swetha were new to the conference, which is only in its second year. Still, 10,000 people came from all over the country for both conferences and there were international attendees as well. Our team came back with fresh insight on the state of the industry, and an exciting report about what lies ahead.

It’s a good time to be good at marketing.
“There’s a race to recruit marketing talent,” said Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of Hubspot , during his keynote speech. He went on to predict that, with the need for marketing to be omni-present, salaries for marketing jobs are likely to double in the near future. As we recently reported, this is a good time to be entering the field and it’s even more exciting to be in the thick of it.

“Be very valuable to a few rather than loosely relevant to many.”

This was the advice given in a session featuring the Almighty agency and Patrick Cassidy of New Balance. Though this was spoken in the context of a discussion about marketing agencies, I think it also applies to the way we market ourselves for a job search. We have always stressed the importance of specificity, and we should take great care with the language we use to define our audience, message and goals.

Public images are actually public.
Swetha attended a session with David Rose, owner of StreamDitto, a website that uses image recognition technology to gather public images from all mediums into one forum. This allows marketers to search for brand names and see all the public images sourced from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. which provides information about how a product is being used and valuable insight into consumer behavior. As analytics become more invasive, a question of customer security arises. Swetha walked away from that session with more questions than answers: “Is it okay for your Facebook pictures to be aggregated into a platform you don’t know about? On the other hand, if you think it is an invasion of privacy, why would you make your pictures public? It’s a very tricky trend.”

Embrace customer communities.

“Foster community and think strategically about it. Social networks are huge marketing tools,” advocated Stacy Martinet, CMO of Mashable, a site that sources content primarily from social media communities. Rebecca said community was a recurring theme throughout the week; companies must learn to relinquish control and allow their story to be told by the masses.

Don’t believe what everyone says about millennials.
Maureen Dawson, Senior Manager of Consumer Research & Analytics at AOL, has done extensive research on the millennial generation and debunked several myths. For one thing, she has found that community drives much of their actions; millennials are not so self-involved as the media makes them out to be. As this generation is more driven by the company and potential for impact than financial motives, marketing campaigns must be authentic to win their attention.

Become relevant in order to branch out.

The marketing team for Keurig recognized that truth and worked hard to find an audience among college students. Christine attended their presentation in which they discussed their move from marketing only to women and moms to include young adults. They made single brew Keurig systems with college logos and mascots on the coffee makers. They took a mobile tour to college campuses across the country to advertise, do giveaways, contests and even lawn games using K cups. They made themselves relevant to a new demographic by catering to their lifestyle and meeting them on their home base.

The questions and stories our team brought back have made me even more excited for the PRSA International Conference, which is just around the corner. It is so good to learn from experts in the field, connect with other people who care about the same things, and return to your office with some new ideas, and perhaps a renewed passion for the work at hand.