‘Make hacks, not ads’ – Report from the 2013 BOLO Conference

I’m in Scottsdale, Arizona right now for
the BOLO Conference, which has brought creatives, agencies and
technologists together to “be on the lookout” for new ideas, what’s next in advertising
and digital marketing. It’s also a chance to network and chat with each other
and the superb speakers they have lined up to talk to us in the desert.

Kicked off this morning by Gareth
Kay
,
Chief Strategy Officer at Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners, the fellow Brit
said it’s time to be radical (and by that he meant going back to roots and not
just plain crazy!)

People
care less and less about advertising, Kay said, citing research
from Havas Media that discovered most people couldn’t care less if 80% of
brands out there disappeared tomorrow and just 5% of brands make a noticeable,
positive difference in our lives.

Depressing?
Yes. Surprising? No!

Digital is
now so ubiquitous, fuelled by social media platforms and the myriad of devices
we use to get through our day, we often forget that to survive and be
delightful in a crowded space, a different strategy is needed from the
advertising sales sledgehammer approach.

Kay
suggested we “make hacks not ads” and be more obsessed by the outcome
we create, not the output we make. He said we’re at our best as marketing
professionals when we’re hackers and should be asking more – and better questions. He suggested we focus on less pushing back and more
pushing forward.

Sounds
clichéd, but putting people at the heart of a brand’s business problem makes
the most sense. People are people at the end of the day and not just consumers,
so take a leap of faith, swap out the worry of not knowing what you don’t
know, and be more curious.

Content marketing
is a new thing, a newsroom approach to fulfilling new-age marketing and PR. You
need a content strategy. Different companies have different objectives.
American Express wants to own SMB, and J&J with BabyCenter.com wants to be the
number one destination for new and expectant mums. Digital has afforded us the
data to start optimizing what’s working and changing the converging departments
of PR, social and traditional marketing.

Number 1 Rule!

Content
isn’t about you, it’s about them. What do they care about? What do they want?

Make sure
it’s useful but don’t ignore long form content. People are leaning forward less
with tablets, so consider more detailed articles. People do read them.

At
Mashable, Lauren and her team work with clients to develop the content which aligns with their strategy, and then outline publication and promotion to secure as many
viewers as possible. Analysis obviously plays a huge part given the
accountability of digital.

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