The punchline of every presentation at the first annual IMPACT Live, a two-day conference for sales and marketing executives, this week seemed to be "If there's one thing you can takeaway from this to bring back to your own company..." Which, of course, means I have more than 15 "one things" as action items in my brain — in addition to the dozens of ideas I tweeted about and my boss logged in Trello.
But if you're reading this post, you probably weren't there or feeling as inspired as we all are (or maybe you did attend and you want to re-live the magic), and I think it's unfair for me to not share at least some of the knowledge I gained from: networking with 150 marketing, sales and business professionals; listening to presentations from big names such as Marcus Sheridan, Mike Volpe, David Meerman Scott and Mark Roberge; and bouncing ideas off of the Thomas team.
There were plenty of pointers on being genuine in your company and discussions on the importance of taking risks, but if I were to write out all of the takeaways from the event, this blog post would be about 25,000 words. So, I'll keep it short (but you can get a full recap on IMPACT's blog) — here are a few considerations for you:
“Focus on meaningful engagements.”
Numbers are important in all aspects of sales and marketing. You need to keep track of how many leads you are generating, how close your company is to hitting those revenue numbers and much more. But on social media — a key part of both marketing and sales — you can forget the numbers.
Tara Robertson, Business Development Lead at Sprout Social, discussed this at length in her presentation on "Social Media Has Changed, Evolved, and Transformed... Are You Keeping Up?"
While it's good to have general benchmarks for growth on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., accounts, engagement is the key.
Your focus should be on gaining trust with your community through thoughtful interactions, sharing relevant content and being helpful — the leads will come later.
“AI frees humans to do the things humans are uniquely capable of doing.”
There have been many conversations in industry about robotics and technology and the impact on the manufacturing process.
Paul Roetzer, founder of PR 20/20 and the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, says there's no reason to fear AI. It will act to merely enhance our knowledge and capabilities. (And we agree — see this post we wrote about how robots are NOT taking our jobs.)
We've created 90 percent of the world's data in the past two years, and while we have a long way to go in discovering, understanding and wielding the power of artificial intelligence, now's the time to get excited about it.
“Businesses don't fail because they lack goals — it's because they lack systems to implement them.”
Tony Uphoff, President and CEO at Thomas, spoke on "The 4 P's, The 7 Habits and What Is Culture Anyway?" Drawing on his decades of experience in business, media and marketing, he talked through what it takes to build a successful company and culture.
I'm lucky enough to learn from Tony every day and see him as a living embodiment of what he discussed, so I encourage you to flip through his slides. (Video to come soon!)