10 Takeaways from the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit Washington, D.C.

By Liz Palm, Director, New Media Strategies

Last week, along with over 400 other marketing and public relations professionals, I attended the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Washington, D.C. The event was held at the Gannett/USA TODAY Headquarters and co-produced by Potomac Tech Wire and Capitol Communicator. This was the third Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit I had attended—the second in D.C.—and I was eager to see if it measured up to its predecessors.  I was not disappointed!

The speaker line-up was an impressive mix of in-house marketing representatives and agency executives from the area that offered expertise across practice areas, industries as well as audiences (B2B, B2C, B2G and B2E—business to employee.) Because DPR Group specializes in marketing and public relations for B2B technology and business services companies, I am always skeptical about events that try to be everything to everyone. However, the sessions and keynotes this year offered more than enough niche-specific content and over-arching themes that pertained to every marketer.

Though I brought an extensive amount of information and insight back to the office, I wanted to share my top 10 takeaways from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit Washington, D.C.

1.     Know your audience. If you don’t understand who you are talking to through marketing campaigns, how do you expect them to understand or even be interested in what you are saying?
2.    Customer relationship management (CRM) is finding a place in marketing departments. Maintaining contact with customers enables marketers to both better understand what the customer needs as well as how they prefer to gather information, i.e. marketing channels.
3.    Social media is strategic. Numerous presentations further confirmed that every social media platform is not appropriate for every company or every marketing campaign. Understand where your customers are spending their time and make those platforms your priority.
4.    Know your competitors. Competitive research has always been a part of best practices for running a business. However, in-depth competitive research into competitors’ products, corporate strategy and marketing tactics can be invaluable when your company goes head-to-head with a competitor for new business.
5.    Generate more marketing content. The biggest challenge facing B2B companies is producing enough content for their content marketing campaigns. Many are turning to public relations and marketing agencies with subject matter knowledge and experience to generate the additional content.
6.    Media has to wear more hats than ever. No longer are journalists just reporting, but they are also responsible for their own photography, social promotion, and sometimes hosting webinars to deep dive into the topics of their articles.
7.    The press release is not dead! Beyond the traditional value in the story and news provided in press releases, there is a growing importance being placed on the value that is seen through SEO and social. This increases the need to focus on both the human audience as well as the search engine audience when writing a press release.
8.    There is a difference between web traffic and good web traffic. Even though many marketers are focused on increasing traffic to their website, it’s vital to remember quality over quanity—understanding this leads to higher conversion rates and more marketing-qualified leads.
9.    The K.I.S.S. method is alive and well! Just like Albert Einstein’s advice, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough,” a company’s mission and key message should be clearly defined and briefly stated to be effective.
10.    From the mouths of babes. One of my favorite presentations of the day was not only a social media success story, but quite possibly one of the cutest campaigns I’ve ever encountered. Eunique Jones Gibson, a photographer and former online & social media marketing manager for CustomInk, started a campaign for black history month called, “Because of them, we canTM…” The campaign was such a success that Eunique has embraced it as a full-time job and plans to expand the campaign to continue running 365 days a year. Here’s one of my favorites:


For a more in-depth recap of the event: http://www.capitolcommunicator.com/Insights.aspx.