Last week we had the extreme pleasure of sponsoring The W2O Group’s 5th Annual PreCommerce Summit. This is a gathering of some very smart people to talk about what’s driving markets and people today. The event was a whole day of speakers from across a wide variety of industries that had something interesting to teach everyone in the audience. Topics for the day ranged from data across all industires to biases in our minds and workplaces to to the internet of things to telling better stories and even a fun fireside chat with Al Roker.
While everyone that spoke at this event had something interesting to say or teach the crowd, we picked out 5 things that we thought everyone in any industry should learn and can think about. In no particular order, here they are:
“Try doing different things” – Mike Marinello, Head of Global Communications, Bloomberg
Mike Marinello’s talk at the PreCommerce Summit was actually about the need to be able to measure everything they do so they can show the value of it. That said though, Marinello said that his company isn’t afraid to try new and different things to attain their goals. When they know exactly what they’re measuring towards, they can try interesting new things because they will know which of them works and which don’t. Not everything is going to work in terms of helping to achieve your goals, but you’ll never know what else will if you’re not willing to at least try new and different things.
“Use your data to tell an important story” – Chuck Hemann, Global Analytics Manager, Intel
As the Global Analytics Manager, Chuck Hemann sees a lot of data every day. He knows though that not all of it can be fully used all the time. That’s why he tells his team to pick out the one or two points of data that they think are most important for what the company is trying to achieve and tell that data’s story in a way that everyone will understand. Why is that data important? What does it mean to us right now? What does it mean we should be doing in the future? Data is very important to companies today, but you can sometimes have way to much data. Know what data is important and don’t just show numbers to people, use that data to tell a story and make people understand why it’s so important.
“Engage or die” – Ray Kerins, SVP, Head of Communications and Government Relations, Bayer
Ray Kerins works in the world of pharma, which is notorious for having a lot of restrictions around what they can and can’t say. However, in a world where everyone and anyone has a voice, Kerins knows that if him and his team aren’t joining the conversation along with those other voices, whatever they say will be the only thing heard. Kerins talked about how he believes engagement is the way to get your story heard by everyone, especially those talking about you. If you don’t engage with those people that are talking about you then those people will own your compny’s story, not your company. So, engage or die.
“Tech isn’t the big disruptor, business models are” – Mike Edelheart, CEO, Pivotcon
Too often we hear “this new app/software is going to change the game.” But how often is that actually the case? During his talk at the PreCommerce Summit, Mike Edelheart was quick to point out that tech can sometimes help to change games, but really it’s the business model behind what the tech is doing that’s the driving factor. Yes, Netflix was a technology, but it was really it’s streaming movies and TV shows anytime anywhere business model that changed the game. Same with Uber. Uber is an app, but it completely changed the business model for how people can get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. So if you really want your company to be the next big industry disruptor, maybe don’t think about that app you have to build and think about how you can change the way you’re doing business to do it better.
“Stop thinking of marketing like war and instead think of it like a garden” – Daina Middleton, Head of Global Business, Twitter
Daina Middleton started her talk by pointing out the fact that a lot of marketing terms are very similar to war terminology. Marketers talk about their stratagies and tactics to get their messages out. But in a world where marketing has turned into cultivating relationships and communities, maybe we need to think of marketing more like a garden. Relationships don’t just happen because you have a good marketing campaign. They happen because you need to put time and effort into slowly gaining trust and then nurturing that so that you can form an actual relationship with people. It’s very much like a garden. Your garden doesn’t grow overnight because you found the best soil or water. It grows over time because you put time and effort into it. Middleton actually has a formula for participation that says Discovery + Engagement + Connection = Participation, which is what makes up a real community. And all of these things take time and effort, but are much more worth it in the long term.
These are just a few things that we learned at the 5th Annual PreCommerce Summit, but they are also things that we think every company can start thinking about and act on right now. For a full run down of what every speaker had to say during the PreCommerce Summit, check out the W2O blog.