Digital Summit Chicago Part 1: The promise of connection.

By: Colin Kreager

Raise your hand if you enjoy seeing banner ads for products you’d never consider buying. I’ll wait. Yeah, me neither.

But what if it’s a product you’re in the market for, and you’re offered a deal that helps justify the purchase you wanted to make the whole time? Or what if it’s an area you’re researching, and you’re targeted by a quality brand who offers some proprietary research to help further your understanding?

I’m not saying everyone is enthusiastically raising their hand right now, but there are likely a few more people open to the message. To me, that’s an exciting step in the right direction. Not shoving a product down your throat but coupling the right brands with the right consumers. Connecting the right products to the people who may actually enjoy them.

We’re moving in the right direction was a feeling I had coming out of the recent Digital Summit Chicago. Below are a few takeaways that you will see ladder up to one common theme: improved techniques that lead to improved experiences.

Purpose-driven marketing is continuing to ring truer and truer

  • In the event’s opening keynote, Stacy Minero, Head of Content Creation at Twitter, talked about the importance of purpose living within everything a brand does. Doing so helps consumers align with values beyond a brand’s immediate products or services.
  • Head of Music Partnerships at Instagram, Lauren Wirtzer Seawood, said the biggest make or break for brands and influencers is providing a truly authentic experience. It’s not always being the best at something, but the most relatable.

Process integration, from beginning to end

  • The streamlining of services in the marketing, consulting, and advertising industries is leading to nervousness among the players who are doing things like over-promising on their differentiators or not being transparent about revenue models. However, it’s also providing a more direct approach to business objectives.
    • Sean Johnson, a Kellogg professor and Partner at Digital Intent, said marketing needs to become part of the product development team. He elaborated by talking about not only streamlining processes but focusing beyond the consumer funnel on often undervalued areas, like retention.

Tech and data advancements are coming in groves, and ready for implementation

  • Marketers are improving at responding to consumer demands for a seamless product experience, from introduction to post-purchase.
    • Focusing on things like omnichannel experiences and evolving tech, such as progressive web apps, are promising areas of growth.
  • Knowledge and tech are allowing marketers to be more agile in their analysis of campaigns.
    • Technologies like AI are decreasing the amount of time it takes to aggregate and analyze campaign performance.Alongside technological advancements, people in the industry are realizing the gravity of data/insights as a real-time approach rather than an end-of-campaign review.

So, what does this all mean? To me, it means we owe it to ourselves as random-banner-despising consumers (and the marketers who sometimes create those banners) to relentlessly push advertising to a place where it delivers on its promises of connection, quality, relevance and convenience.