This spring, three fellow members of the Hampton Roads American Marketing Association (HRAMA) and I had the chance to volunteer at Triangle AMA’s High Five Conference in Raleigh, NC. We heard rumblings about how great the conference was but it’s safe to say our expectations were far exceeded.
The conference is the place where “marketing and creative meet.” It brings together key industry professionals, provides amazing networking opportunities and most importantly, reignites your creative fire (which, if you’re like me, may have started to look more like a glowing ember).
Jenn and Kyleigh “high five-ing” at High 5!
It’s impossible to reiterate everything we learned but here’s five key takeaways:
- People trust other people.
It’s undeniable. According to Scott Monty, principal of Scott Monty Strategies, 83% of people trust recommendations from people they know and 66% trust consumer opinions posted online. Brands need to connect with consumers by being authentic, responsive and compelling. Scott reminded us to refer back to Cicero, “If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words.”
- Your haters are your most valuable assets.
By 2020, customer experience will be more important than price. Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, stressed the value of “hugging your haters” – every complaint, every channel, every time. 95% of unhappy customers don’t publicly complain. The 5% who do are our biggest asset. They tell us exactly what we’re doing wrong. In the age where customer service is the new marketing, “out-hug” your competition. Show them that you love your customers more than they do.
- Ask yourself: if the label falls off, would people still recognize me?
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, believes your tone of voice is your “gutsiest, bravest asset.” Your biggest missed opportunity is doing what you’ve always done. Your story is what sets you apart and by providing that deeper value to your customers, you’ll ensure they won’t forget you.
- What makes you weird also makes you wonderful.
According to Dave Rendall of The Freak Factory, the things we think are wrong with us are what we should brag about. Mediocrity happens when you try to be all things to all people. Own who you are. Stand out. Be different. You can’t be excellent and be normal.
- Get to the point.
This piece of advice from Jonathan Opp hit home for me. When I arrived at Rubin Communications, I was shocked to see my first piece of writing returned with red lines running across the page. With years of writing experience, Joel Rubin advised me to get to the point. Jonathan echoed Joel. People have short attention spans. Say big things with small words. Aim for less than 12 words per sentence.
Mark your calendars! Next year’s conference is already booked for March 1-2, 2017. We’ll high-five when we get there.