Top Takeaways From The Agora Digital Marketing Summit 2018

by | May 23, 2018 | General Marketing Tips

The 2018 Agora Digital Marketing SummitOn my recent visit to Baltimore, a local said to me: “Baltimore is like a fungus – it keeps growing on you.“

There is a lot of truth in those words.

One of the reason why “Charm City“ is so close to our hearts here at The Agora is because more than a dozen of The Agora Companies are based in Baltimore’s historic neighbourhood, Mount Vernon, known for its remarkable architecture and picturesque tree–lined streets.

So, when 180 publishers, digital marketers, and copywriters from across The Agora globe descended on Baltimore last week for our annual Digital Marketing Summit, it was more than just the coming together of a group of exceptionally talented and ideas–driven individuals. It was also a massive reunion because many of the presenters and attendees at this year’s conference have been with The Agora for more than a decade… at the very least!

And the theme for this year’s conference?

Marketing in a world without Facebook and Google

Now, that may sound like an exaggeration, but in a world that is shrinking fast (thanks to social media) and increasingly becoming over–regulated, it’s a reality that many digital marketers reluctantly have to consider.

The recent crypto ban is a shining example of how Google and Facebook (both holding the lion’s share on advertising networks) clamped down on all ads that dared to hint at crypto currency or crypto investment in their copy.

So the hyperbole – Marketing in a world without Facebook and Google – is a justified one, because in today’s climate where compliance and policy enforcement comes down hard on marketers, taking potential leads to an emotional extreme with compelling ads, and then providing relief (or solutions) with equally thought–provoking products is becoming increasingly difficult on all ad platforms.

Now, if there is one thing that all Agorans have in common, it is our willingness to explore ideas. We ask questions. We seek solutions. We take risks. We test… until we find the magic bullet that works. And that’s exactly what happened at this year’s Digital Marketing Summit.

A complete recap of those two jam–packed days is almost impossible. So here are just some of the highlights shared by the members of Agora Integrated Marketing, who hosted the conference.

Diversify wherever you can

The first thing that comes to mind when marketers hear the word diversification, is to diversify acquisition channels by getting campaigns running on as many ad networks as possible.

However, diversification is far more expansive and can be applied to almost every element of your marketing strategy and funnel. For instance, looking at diversification of traditional funnels and using monetization sites like The Horn News as a blueprint to potentially be utilized as part of a diversified acquisition strategy too.

You can also diversify with different microsites, types of campaigns (like 1–step, 1.5–step or 2–step), product range, and offers. As long as it provides value to your business, diversification on all levels should be one of the building blocks for growing your business.

– Brian York, Director (AIM)

Retention is as important as acquisition

While acquisition is becoming more and more tricky, we need to shift our focus to how we can do a better job in engaging and monetizing existing customers. In other words, how can you improve the customer experience? How can you step up customer service? How can you diversify your funnels to increase the lifetime value of our customers?

It’s also important to measure the success of your renewal and special renewal efforts (retention) the same way you would measure the success of your acquisition campaigns.

– Grant Perry, Associate Publisher (AIM)

Finding and hiring the right guru

When you develop a frontend or backend product around a guru or expert there are three essential qualities to look out for before hiring a guru: A proven track record, credibility and having a great backstory.

There is no point building an entire front–or backend product around a guru that has no proof of his expertise (in finance/ investment this will obviously be a high success rate in previous stocks and trades). In health, you’ll be looking at a medical expert with his own clinic and dedicated following — possibly someone who has written a few books and who has had some television appearances.

Credibility is based on customer feedback and endorsements and a great backstory is something unique and personal about the guru that is relatable to readers/customers.

– Brian Swift, Account Manager (AIM)

Don’t “set it and forget it”

I’m certainly guilty of the occasional “set it and forget it” mentality when a campaign is working well. Of course, I’ll still try to scale it, but when push comes to shove and a problem arises elsewhere, I lose my focus on the successful campaign.

In other words, I take the “don’t fix what isn’t broken“ approach. However, during this year’s conference, I was reminded of the importance of active campaign management, which will enable you to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the elements of the campaign that are performing well and why – leading to incremental improvements in your return on investment (ROI).
  • Replicate those successful elements from the campaign on new platforms, or for new products on the same platform.
  • Discover weaker elements of your campaign faster, which increase your turnaround time when thing get derailed.

– Christina Clapp, Senior Account Manager (AIM)

Don’t underestimate the
power of some real “face-time”

Being a part of a global company, means that I spend a lot of time communicating via email with clients and colleagues from all over the world. It often happens that I don’t have a face to put to a name.

At a global conference like this, making the time to meet people in person have been invaluable in terms of understanding their needs better and to get to know them on a slightly different level. It sounds so simple, but speaking to your peers face-to-face makes a world of difference when it comes to building and nurturing professional relationships.

– Amy Webster, Marketing Production Associate (AIM)

Organic leads – catch them anyway you can

A lot has been said about the importance of SEO and ranking to drive organic traffic to your website. That’s because organic leads are free and therefore they monetizes at a much higher value.

Traditionally, organic leads are collected through either static signup boxes on a website or exit and entry popups. But users and site visitors are now all too familiar with this tactic, so these simply aren’t as effective as they used to be.

This is why I was very interested to see that The Horn (from NewMarket Group) is using polls as an addition to signup boxes for lead generation. The content of the poll in question isn’t what’s important — often times the question being asked heavily weighs in favour of the readers perceptions. What is important, however, is that in order to receive the poll results, the reader must click a box agreeing to receive The Horn’s free e–letter.

Not only is this an easy way to generate leads but if implemented correctly, it also allows you to very quickly segment your audience by their specific interests allowing you to adjust your gauntlets accordingly to provide more personalised content.

– David Jackman, Digital Marketing Associate, (AIM)

Test, revise… repeat

Good copy is the marketer’s worst enemy.

That may sound askew, but it’s true. The minute you have good performing copy, you need to test it against another headline or lead. That’s because as marketers we are constantly trying to beat the control… the same goes for price points, order forms and landing pages.

– Will Palmer, Digital Marketing Associate, (AIM)