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Key takeaways from the iMedia Brand Summit

Key takeaways from the iMedia Brand Summit John Bohan

It's been another exciting day at iMedia, with lots of thought-provoking conversations taking place around the future of digital marketing.

Here are some of my top takeaways:

Chris Arens, managing director of iMedia, kicked off the day with a powerful figure: 70 percent. That is the amount of U.S. digital ad dollars going to Facebook and Google. In essence, of the roughly $35 billion spent on digital marketing, about $24 billion is spent in two places. There is a reason why industries discourage monopolies. In order for digital marketing to truly flourish, this needs to change.

Peter Stringer, VP of digital media for the Boston Celtics and conference host, took the stage next and shared some telling numbers on influencer marketing:

  • 22 percent of businesses say influencer marketing is their fastest-growing customer acquisition channel, beating out search and email marketing.
  • 70 percent of consumers say they'd rather learn about a new product through content, such an influencer post, than through a traditional ad.
  • 75 percent of 600 marketers and communication reps surveyed think influencers are effective for lead generation.
  • $255 million is the amount companies are investing in Instagram influencer-sponsored posts each month.

Source: Inc Magazine (Feb 2017)

Stringer went on to support the power of micro-influencers, indicating that their voice is much more authentic than, say, a celebrity. They are also significantly more affordable. The key is to figure out a way to build relationships with relevant micro-influencers at scale.

Corey Olfert, head of content marketing strategy at GE Digital, presented next and gave us some good news -- and some bad news. In 2000, the human attention span was 15 seconds. The good news is that we humans beat goldfish, which have an attention span of nine seconds. The bad news is that by 2015 we stopped beating the gold fish. Our attention span has dropped to eight seconds.

To capture the attention of your consumers, the key word is relevancy. Consumers don't care about the features of a product or service. They are looking to solve a problem or create an opportunity. The key is to know their needs and be relevant. Maybe then your ad will get more than eight seconds of attention.

Dave Karraker, VP of marketing for Campari, then presented on influencer marketing. He shared an eight-point plan for this fledgling medium:

  • Define the goals
  • Find your fans
  • Listen
  • Identify your true advocates
  • Reward and amplify
  • Engage
  • Activate
  • Publicize

Some of the core takeaways:

When identifying your influencers, make sure that they are actually advocates for your brand. 2017 is the year of transparency. Millennials are smart -- they are going to investigate and if something feels inauthentic, they will let others know. Make sure your influencers also have a following that reaches your demo and that their posts demonstrate real engagement, meaning they have identified authority and trust. In addition, once you have posts that are really working, boost them to generate more reach, engagement and scale.

John Bohan is a Los Angeles-based digital marketing executive whose career has followed the progression of the adverting industry over the last 20 years. He launched and ran one of the first Internet Ad Networks bringing it public in...

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