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4 Must-Knows on Campaigns and Marketing in 2017

Robust agenda for the 5th annual Campaigns & Marketing Summit in Washington, D.C.

Get a first-hand look into this year’s #CAMSummit2016, with takeaways from the world’s greatest and brightest political and marketing brains.

The advent of 21st Century campaigning has seen a convergence of marketing, technology and campaigns. Politicians and corporate brands alike are watching and learning from one another — and even working together. Did you catch Hillary Clinton’s Between Two Ferns interview with Zak Galifianakis? It’s the perfect example.

Campaigns & Elections, a news source for political consultants, brought together the worlds of marketing and politics in their 5th annual Campaigns & Marketing Summit in Washington, D.C. on December 1st.
Here are four takeaways from the world’s greatest and brightest political and marketing brains on what to look out for in 2017.

1. Throw out the playbook.

Anybody who knows anything was wrong about everything in 2016. Leaders in any industry will predict and proclaim what the future holds, but the past twelve months have proven that things don’t always play out as we expect. Because something has worked in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work again.

2016 was a game changer. The Republican primary election saw virtually no TV ad spending. Millennials consume nine hours a day of digital content. A third of online purchases for Cyber Monday happened on a mobile device — that’s $1billion of sales.

2017 is the time to take risks, try new things and disregard conventional wisdom.

That all being said, the next biggest takeaway was…

2. Not all traditions are dead.

TV ads may be passé, but some of our old faithful friends are not going anywhere. Email and earned media are here to stay.

The Media, as we now commonly refer to an incredibly diverse and wide ranging industry, was a BIG player in 2016. Love them or hate them, getting their attention is still Marketing 101. Keynote speaker Brad Jenkins from Funny or Die explained that the organization’s #1 mission when writing content is to secure earned media. Think about that. When writing jokes, their primary audience isn’t viewers — it’s journalists. Journalists will help them get more viewers.

While the dawn of social media may have given people outside of the media a direct voice and access point to people previously out of their reach, it certainly hasn’t diminished the power of the media industry. In 2017, keeping the media in mind when writing your content will ultimately help you reach more people.

Email, our old faithful friend, is not going anywhere either. We may all complain about long and negative political emails, and an inbox full of sales ads from retailers, but email works. Wedding Wire’s Email Marketing Manager Bethany Mulcahy attributes this to the evolution of your email address to a fundamental form of contact information. “When you go to your doctor’s office, they don’t ask for your Facebook profile link. But they do ask for your email.”

So when you’re throwing out that playbook, don’t throw out your email list. You’re going to need that next year.

3. People are people, and so you should treat them like people.

Floral startup UrbanStems’ Marketing Director Lauren Bates outlined how their sales process is inherently designed to make their customers feel good. UrbanStems make it easy for you to make a decision, give you control in the sales process and make it easy for you to express gratitude — all things that lead to feeling happy.

  • A few things are working well for brands:
    Giving people what they want instead of giving them about what you THINK they want and;
  • Translating the online experience into in-person events (or as Funny or Die calls it — In Real Life (IRL) — think Sanders’ and Trump’s 2016 rallies.)

This means paying close attention to your customers’ needs, and creating content or products that meet that need. And how do you do that? Get out of the bubble of your own assumptions, find out what people are talking about and be a part of that conversation.

It’s simpler than it sounds. In 2017, ask your target audience what matters to them. Figure out where your target market is online and be a part of those conversations. Every time you make an assumption, challenge yourself to find out if it’s true.
It’s not about sales numbers, or metrics, or clever tech. It’s about people. Follow the people, and you’ll see results.

4. Data is king.

We may be throwing out the playbook in 2017, but don’t worry, we’re still testing the heck out of everything. From customer surveys to analytics to click-through rates, every presenter hailed the vitality of data in their products, process and success.
You don’t need to have a huge budget to be able to track and measure data.

  • First of all, decide how you are measuring success. When it comes to email marketing for example, do you care more about open rates or click through rates? Decide what measures are most important to you and then…
  • Make sure you have systems in place to track them. A whole host of free and affordable products exist to help you measure how your audience is interacting with your brand, from Google Analytics to Photodesk for Instagram analytics.
  • Analyze them regularly to see if your assumptions were right or where you have areas for improvement.

With no playbook, data is going to be essential to test your effectiveness in 2017.

Thanks, #CAMSummit2016, for getting us all ready for next year. What do you all think? Will these lessons change your marketing strategies for 2017?

Javelina Blog Author Ariel Reyes

Javelina Blog Author

Catherine Alonzo, CEO & Founding Partner

Catherine Alonzo is the CEO and founding partner of Javelina, a company that brings brand experience to life for non-profits, businesses, campaigns and individuals. Having played a pivotal role in growing Javelina into a leading branding and marketing firm, Catherine specializes in effective messaging, brand development and business strategic planning.


Email Javelina Blog Author Catherine AlonzoFollow Catherine Alonzo on TwitterFollow Catherine Alonzo on Instagram



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