3 Takeaways from Zenith Digital Marketing Conference

Posted May 6, 2016 by swimcreative

The 2016 Zenith Digital Marketing Conference in Duluth, Minnesota, has come to an end. What a conference! Major topics ranged from artificial intelligence to content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

From four-time attendee (Amber) to first-time attendee (Tanner), we’ll cover our top takeaways from Zenith and our perspectives on the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

Takeaway #1: Technology is changing quickly.

Technology is changing the marketing landscape at a faster pace than ever before. Machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data. It is no longer feasible for marketers to glaze over these “techy” terms. To stay relevant, digital marketers must learn to embrace technology and understand how technology can be used to place the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

In the long run, automated platforms are often more cost-effective than humans, as evidenced by the shrinking marketing budgets reserved for human capital and increased budgets for technology platforms.

Technology is just a tool. If marketers wish to influence people, they must communicate like people—showing empathy and telling stories.

Takeaway #2: You can’t do SEO without content.

As an agency, we get asked a lot about SEO—or search engine optimization. There are a lot of factors that go into improving your search ranking, but Arnie Kuenn, Vertical Measures, and Jamie Berger, Dell, focused on the importance of adding relevant, quality content because according to this session’s presentation, 90%+ of searchers don’t click on the sponsored ads.

A few easy ways to find ideas for your next blog post:

  • Google Search
    • Get new ideas by viewing Google’s suggestions after a few words
    • Search your headline to see if anyone else has covered it
  • Frequently Asked Questions of Customers
    • Ask your sales team, account managers, store managers, etc.

And remember, “If the thing that you write isn’t changing someone’s life, you’re losing.” – Jamie Berger, Dell

Takeaway #3: Think mobile first. 

There were quite a few sessions on SEO, but one struck our fancy and we both decided to attend it. It was focused on local SEO and tips on making a mobile-friendly website.

According to Emily Grossman from MobileMoxie, the time spent on iOS devices looks something like this:

  • 32% gaming apps
  • 32% social apps
  • 22% other apps
  • 14% mobile web

Apps are becoming more and more popular as mobile device usage is increasing rapidly. So, what exactly does this mean for local SEO?

Pretend you’re on vacation in an unfamiliar city and you’re looking for a strong cup of joe. You Google “coffee shop near me” and Maps may show you a few options in the neighborhood. However, if you own an Android phone, you may see deep links from your Yelp! app or social sites, like Pinterest, at the top of the results.

This tells us mobile users may not even scroll to the search listings before deciding on their final destination.

A few easy things you can do right away to improve your local SEO and mobile experience: make sure your business information and product/service offerings are updated across mobile apps, your Google My Business listing is verified, and your website provides a great user experience and everything someone needs when searching from their phone.


All in all, this event taught us quite a few lessons about digital marketing. If you attended #Zenith2016, share the most interesting thing you learned in the comments below. We hope to see you again next year!



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