Takeaways From Now and Later — Wrapping Up the 2018 KCDMA Symposium


Three writers set out from their cozy midtown agency (heaters turned to full blast in a losing battle against the January chill) to explore emerging – and tried-and-true – marketing trends at the 2018 KCDMA Symposium, “Marketing Now & Later: Planning for the Future.”

Hmm, I could use this for a feel-good screenplay.

Lizzie, Lis and I each came away from the event with a unique list of highlights and learnings.

So here are the golden nuggets I hope will help you now…AND later. (If you can’t take the pun, get outta the kitchen?)

  • In the opening keynote “Focusing on the One,” Ian Baer described how “webrooming” leads customers and constituents to expect seamless navigation between platforms, and information on the same areas of interest across channels. So, forming a cohesive brand and brand voice. Always important, yes?
  • Quinn Tempest, a fellow content marketing maven, was speaking our language. She recommends all organizations spend at least 10 minutes optimizing content for web search…because “the best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of the Google search results.”
  • Quinn went on to say, “long gone are the days of the marketing department working in its own silo.” Pulling knowledge from all areas and departments inspires exceptional copy.
  • Angie Read, conductor of research and co-author of a new book on Generation Z, shared insight into what motivates the first generation of true digital natives.
    • Members of Gen Z choose companies that align with their personal brand and values.
    • “If you’re going to market equality, you better be sure your organizational model backs it up.”
  • Heather Physioc of VML shared what’s to come in voice search. “If you’re not answering real human questions with exceptional content, you’re veering off the path of righteousness.”

I have quite a bit to chew on from this event. And that’s not even taking into account the dozens of Now and Later candies lining my coat pockets.

Did you attend the KCDMA’s 2018 Symposium? What are your highlights?

I Want You to Join a Board

I’ve had an amazing first year in the "real" world. But I realize that I’m still quite green. I have a lot to learn about my chosen career field, as well as what it takes to build a successful career in general.

I also know I’m not the only young professional to worry whether I’m qualified to be on the board of a professional association. However, when the opportunity to serve as Newsletter Chair for the board of the Kansas City Data-Driven Marketing Association (KCDMA) came about, I took the leap.

Now that I’m a few months in, I feel silly for worrying so much. I’ve been having a fantastic time, and have especially enjoyed the opportunities to expand my circle, plan programming, and draft content for the association.

So without further ado, here are the reasons I think you, young professional or mid-career individual, ought to join the board of a professional association.

You will learn about your surrounding community. I’ve learned a lot about the marketing/communications community in Kansas City since joining a board, and have been pleasantly surprised to find so much collaboration and mentoring amongst professionals at a variety of companies and agencies. (I’ve also learned that Tannin in the Crossroads District has a wine club… I didn’t say all knowledge was marketing-related).

You will help to enrich the association. It feels great to know your efforts are helping an association you're passionate about. Using your skills to help the association accomplish its goals is the best way to be of service.

You will gain new knowledge. Being on a board allows you to take risks and try on different hats. If you’ve wanted to learn about a certain area (event planning, fundraising, managing a website), joining a board is the perfect way to dip your toes in and find out what it’s really like.

You will make new friends and connections. I’ve gotten to know some incredible people who have similar interests and goals ever since I joined the board of the KCDMA. But honestly, I had trouble forming these relationships when I was only attending lunch-and-learns once a month.

One of the most amazing things about being a board member for a professional association has been the opportunity to have fun, and continue expanding my post-college group of friends and mentors. And friends and mentors just make life better.

M&C is a proud sponsor of YNPNkc, which provides diverse opportunities for networking around Kansas City, and partners with Nonprofit Connect to offer professional development programming for young professionals in the nonprofit sector. 

KCDMA Does It Again!

Sound thinking comes in all shapes and sizes. 

That was clearly evident at the recent KCDMA Direct Marketing Symposium. And whether packaged in the context of national consumer brands (think TOMS Shoes, Carter’s OshKosh, and Hallmark Cards) or more specialize BtB marketers (such as Black & Veatch, Associated Wholesale Grocers, and Veradata), there seemed to be some surprisingly consistent themes to success.  

Some of the approaches that struck me:

1. Be prepared. Know in advance what success will look like. Identify KPIs you’re going to use. But be realistic in your expectations. As evidence, TOMS Shoes shared that the company holds out a “Do Not Mail” segment to measure the lift of an individual mailing as well as a “Never Mail” segment to measure the overall return on offline investment (well in triple digits by now).

2. Be relevant. Know what’s important to your prospects and customers … whether designing a loyalty program or multicultural product line or developing a content strategy (visitors may come back a second time but probably won’t come back a third advised digital strategist Brody Dorland).

3. Be real. Associated Wholesale Grocers found that “perfect” photos of recipes weren’t nearly as well received as ones with “flaws” (i.e., looked more normal).

4. Be thorough. When developing a program, get leadership commitment and the corresponding budget. Know how to get ideas from – and spread ideas throughout -the company. 

5. Be open. Synchronicity can and will happen (if you’re lucky!) As Hallmark's Monic Houpe noted, “Ethnic insights can lead to broader appeal.” Networking guru Angie Pastorek pointed out that “the best time to build relationships is BEFORE you need them.”

Synchronicity. Like that sudden insight that was just triggered from what seemed like a totally unrelated presentation.

Again. Thanks, KCDMA!