By Mary Cate Spires

There are new things to learn in the world of marketing every day, but what happens when you are considered a leader in your marketing community? We all have things to learn when it comes to marketing and leadership, no matter who you are. Thankfully, there are associations to help you continue your education in both leadership and marketing.

AMA chapter leaders from all over the country came together to share insights and learn more about marketing in today’s age. Here are five key takeaways from the summit:

1. Create a Brand Experience

Did you know that a goldfish now has a longer attention span than the average person? In a “bonus” session before the AMA Leadership Summit, Steve Navarro, Managing Director and VP of Corporate Development at Right Source Marketing, walked us through “The New Era of Brand Engagement.”

Navarro explained that marketing today is harder than ever before, because behaviors have changed. The average reader only spends about 37 seconds reading an article (if you made it to this stat, you are not the average bear). So what do we do to capture our audience’s attention? Ninety-one percent of buyers say they prefer on-demand interactive and visual content. People no longer want to stare at a screen and hope they learn something from a blog; they now want an experience. It is time to fully make the transition from monologues to dialogues. What does that mean? Gone are the days of only using random content, static websites, and cold calls. The time for triggered emails, retargeted ads, personalized content, and social media engagement is here.

Take the time to understand the full story around a human experience, in order to bring users exactly what they want with minimal interaction. In order to be truly effective at reaching your target audience, you need to anticipate your audience’s needs before those needs are needed.

"My success is dependent on using technology in the broadest sense of the word. If I don't understand technology, if I don't understand data, if I can't combine analytical and creative smarts....it's virtually impossible to be an effective CMO."—Jonathan Martin

Engagement marketing is about connecting with people, as individuals. Connect with your audience based on what it does, continuously over time, and directed toward an outcome. Make everything you do an experience. It is time to integrate the digital and in-person experience to create a seamless cohesive brand feel for your company.

2. Trust Your Instincts

Dinner kicked off with the first keynote speaker, Spike Jones (no, not the one you are thinking of). Spike Jones is the Director of Digital at Edelman. While that is his day job, he also grew Brains on Fire into one of the most well-respected word-of-mouth companies in the industry. 

amasummit.png

His keynote was titled “Getting Out of the Way.” But how do you grow a company and lead a digital team by getting out of the way? Trust. You must trust your instincts and your team to create something truly amazing. This takeaway can apply to anything we do. Whether we are leading a team on a big project at work or helping organize a fundraiser for a local nonprofit. You can’t do everything yourself, and you shouldn’t have to. Jones discussed taking a step back and trusting your team and yourself. Most likely, you aren’t a newbie at what you do—you know what you are doing. It is time to get out of your own head and be great at whatever you have set your mind to.

3. Know When to Say Goodbye

The 8 am wakeup call was met with a friendly face. Amanda Valentine (any Project Runway fans out there?), celebrity wardrobe stylist, spoke about saying goodbye. Yet again, this is not the type of leadership advice you are used to. Valentine spoke about her experience on Project Runway, how she learned to be herself no matter what, and the importance of the ability to let things go. She made a point that really hit home: You literally cannot do everything. It is impossible to take on every opportunity presented to you. You have to take a look at your skill set, your passion, and your team to decide which opportunities are the best use of your time. Why kill yourself doing a mediocre job 100 times when you can do a great job five times? This is not to say you shouldn’t get out of your comfort zone. Valentine’s point was that there are good opportunities, and then there are great opportunities. Be on the lookout for the great opportunities that will help you and your team grow and become truly remarkable.

When you do fail, it is okay. We all fail. You have to learn to let those failures go, learn from them, and move on. Use them as motivation to be even better the next time. At the end of the day, be happy with your effort, make a plan for the future, and then go watch Netflix with your dog and let your mind wander for a little.

Moral of the story? A healthy balance in the modern workplace depends on your ability to let things go.

4. Storytelling Is Key

This session from Brian Woods focused on communication skills and presentations, but I think it applies to marketing as well. A memorable presentation is about delivering your message with power and passion. This applies to any message we deliver. As brands and leaders, we must inspire and influence our audience at every touchpoint. Audiences are looking to brands to be thought leaders, but we also have to capture their attention. Transform the ideas you want to get across into something truly inspiring by utilizing tools like images and interactive content.

“Single-format storytelling has evolved into transmedia storytelling and will keep doing so.”—Lee Odden

Connect with your audience by humanizing your brand. Share your story in a way that aligns with the needs and priorities of your target audience. Good content brings stories to the consumer with information he or she can use, discuss, share, and comment on. Our stories need to answer the questions our audience has in a compelling, engaging, and informational way.

Capture your audience’s attention with remarkable, compelling content that tells it a story and keeps it engaged.

At the end of the day, as marketing leaders, we must create engaging content for our audiences and inspire our teams to the next level of greatness. The AMA Leadership Summit’s theme this year was UNLEASH. This conference taught leaders how to unleash their potential as leaders and marketers.

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Inbound-Marketing-Personas-cover

Refine your inbound marketing efforts with:

The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Personas

Check It Out
Mary Cate Spires

About the author

Mary Cate Spires is a Strategist at SmartBug Media. With over five years of experience running inbound programs in the technology, healthcare, fitness, senior living, and nonprofit industries, Mary Cate loves to help customers grow and achieve their business goals. She is on the Board of Directors for the Columbia Chapter of the American Marketing Association. “MC” graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Her best friend is her 5lb Morkie, Harley, with whom she loves to binge watch any tv show. Read more articles by Mary Cate Spires.

Subscribe to get our new blogs delivered right to your inbox