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Top Trends, Tips, & Takeaways - Digital Summit At Home & MozCon

Jenna Hasenkampf • August 11, 2020 • 7 minutes to read

Attending conferences has gotten much more accessible due to going digital during Covid-19, so the MKG team has signed on for quite a few to promote innovation, inspiration, and professional development. After each conference, the attendee comes to the team weekly retrospective to share their top takeaways and we’ll be sharing them on our blog as well. Most recently we had Jenna Hasenkampf, Nathan Stenberg, and Jessyca Sulfsted attend MozCon and Digital Summit at Home.

Jenna Hasenkampf’s Top Three Digital Summit Takeaways

1. Headline Analyzer

A nifty free tool for headlines (and paid search) that provides an analysis of how effective a headline is written based on word use. I thought this was a really easy way to gut-check some of your most important real estate for pretty much anything you’re writing. I also really like that they include a snapshot of what your headline looks like a google search result, that’s something I’ve had a lot of our clients ask about because it’s not always something people are used to envisioning.

2. Culture needs to be intentional and not left to chance, including projections that provide a guide and accountability.

Cherise Bernard from Spotify presented a session on “Winning at Culture: Practical Strategies for Employee Advocacy in the Workplace” and it was really informative and inspiring. There was a lot of really actionable advice and direction she gave and she also took the time to answer specific attendee questions which took actionability one step further for us. Marketing agencies talk about culture A LOT and in the last few years there’s been some great conversations challenging culture in marketing agencies and the fact that it tends to be such a white space. I thought Cherise’s point about culture needing to be intentional and planned out makes a lot of sense. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “would you want to have a beer with them” around hiring/interviewing and there’s very little that translates to value on your team from that kind of thinking. That’s a nice factor of working for a remote agency, we’re much more concerned about your skills and gif game vs your “have a beer” rating.

I also really liked her recommendation around projections for team and agency culture. Projections are a regular part of our every day in marketing, but I hadn’t heard of anyone using them the way that Cherise is, with putting goals and projections into HR/Culture areas and the importance of being able to have a plan and set expectations. She’s definitely a speaker I would love to see again.

3. Seth Godin = My New Marketing Hero

I was completely unaware of Seth Godin before coming to the conference and now I have a new marketing hero. There’s so much that I could share that struck a chord with me from his Q&A session, but I’m going to stick to just one take away and that was his overview of the difference between B2B and B2C as clients:

  • B2C = Consumers are spending their own money, the only person they need to answer to is themself
  • B2B = Most likely, your client has leadership to answer to and they need to be able to tell their managers or c-suite why they’re spending the money. For us this means they need a strong story and if they tell you they need you to decrease your proposal, it means you haven't given them a strong enough story.

We focus on delivering results through data for our clients, but it’s also so important to make their job easier by also providing a clear story of what, why, and how.

Nathan Stenberg’s Top Three Mozcon Takeaways

1. The Industry Is Heading Towards AI and Machine Learning to Make SEO Research More Efficient

Where things are heading for SEO and tools is that we’ll be able to pull data from multiple sources to get the big picture of what we’re trying to achieve. Using API from multiple tools so it’s a more effective process pulling data in from all of these different sources and make things much more efficient and full picture based on machine learning. So much power in this and think this is where the expert SEO’r is going to need to be.

Brian Dean from “Backlinko”, the master of backlinks presented on this and it’s about the rebranding of backlinks. Through framing backlinks through “content promotion” it becomes not just about the backlink, but about how to get your content out there. Backlinks are fundamental to the SEO game and this is about getting the client onboard and helping them understand that SEO success is not just specifically driven about creating great content and optimizing the website, but how you’re going to promote the content. We have to think about how to get your content out there and then if it’s good quality content, sharable content, the backlinks will come.

3. "SEO's are scrambling to get the best job done with limited time" - Izzi Smith

As marketing budgets get cut and people try to streamline their internal teams as positions get eliminated, MKG has experienced team growth in the last couple of quarters so this is a point of differentiation for MKG as a company. We’ve got expert level time to be able to invest for clients rather than trying to squeeze in more work with fewer people.

Jessyca Sulfsted’s Top Three Mozcon Takeaways

1. Customer Experience is Key

It’s a term that’s overused, and as an agency we know to put our “client hat” on, but sometimes we need to do a better job of putting our “customer hat” on and even may need to remind clients this as well. This means for us, looking at the environment that our deliverables are going to live in. What does that ad look like live and what’s around it? It can be really crowded in search results now, so is our paid ad compelling enough to cut through this noise? Taking it further to also use Google’s search intent, such as local results or “people also ask”. What people are really looking for and the language that they’re using for. An important component for this is also the landing page experience that we’re bringing people to. It’s not something that MKG owns, but ultimately it can make or break a successful campaign. So asking ourselves how to work with clients to impact this or help them understand that once we drive people to their page, the page has to be able to deliver against the goals of the customer. Instagram is a great example too, it’s a mobile-only app so if you’re running ads on it your landing page HAS to be strong for mobile and a lot of clients are still adjusting to the idea of “mobile-first” website design.

2. Know How To Speak CMO/C-Suite

When budgets are being cut, CMOs are frequently one of the first to go which means as an agency we lose that contact that speaks our language so it’s imperative that we know how to speak to their CEO/C-Suite. These CEO/C-Suite roles are often more focused on budget and performance relating to revenue rather than awareness or higher up funnel efforts or even the marketing funnel period. If we’re doing all three of our services (PPC/SEO/Analytics), how can we support the different efforts together to highlight efficiencies and make our efforts work harder together?

3. Marry Intent & Results

Customer service for paid ads can also mean finding the clues that Google has spent so much time curating and applying them to paid ads and SEO. I did this exercise at a previous agency because a client was concerned about PPC terms not showing up, a fence company, and I showed them that if you search for “fence” vs “fence type” vs “fence installation” you’re going to get 3 different types of result because Google understands a person in the ‘discovery phase’ vs ‘I’m ready to buy now’ so sometimes ads aren’t even showing up for certain search terms because of the query. It’s essential to always make sure we’re looking at the full picture.

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