14 things digital marketers can be thankful for in 2014

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With the Thanksgiving holiday in America this week, we were recently asked by CMSWire to provide some insight into what digital marketers might be thankful for this year. Since it’s been a big year for Widen, our customers, and the evolution of digital marketing, we’re excited to share some experience points with you! In addition, we love to practice what we preach when it comes to repurposing content!

First, let’s start by saying “We’re not digital marketers, we market in a digital world.” My colleagues and I love this line and couldn’t agree more as we heard this quote from Mayur Gupta keynoting the inaugural MarTech conference in Boston in August.

“We’re not digital marketers, we market in a digital world.”

Now that we’ve got that clear, we’re excited to share with you 14 things we can be thankful for this year in digital marketing.

1. Mobile first (or at least “mobile too”) and responsive design leads all expectations for capturing, consuming, collaborating, and connecting. We heard about the mobile mindshift at MarTech and talked how mobile dominates email, video viewing, and our ability to capture authentic moments at the Widen Summit. We’re thankful for the opportunities this creates in connecting marketing content.

The Mobile Mind Shift

The mobile mind shift, according to Forrester Research, is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.


2. Leveraging data analytics across multiple data sources rules decision-making. This was the topic of discussion at our Minneanalytics presentation on connecting disparate data sources to drive marketing and a central theme to our product keynote at the Widen Summit. We’re thankful for our developing ability to make big data make sense.

Harvest data from multiple sources


3. User generated content (UGC) shines among the modern day variety of visual content types. Just like we saw with our clients BEAM Interactive and MINI USA and Pacific Cycle and Schwinn Bikes, UGC proves to be an excellent way to engage your audience and make your brand more authentic. We’re thankful for the ability to capture, curate and share these genuine assets across multiple destinations.

MINI USA captures user generated content from Instagram


4. Social media cements its spot as the broadcast platform of our generation in an age where the average marketer utilizes 6+ different social channels to distribute content, reports CMI. We’re excited about the opportunity to focus more on engagement versus publishing in the coming year.

Social media is the broadcast platform of our generation     

5. Marketers habitually deploy content repurposing tactics and find ways to capitalize on reusable content to add value across all customer touchpoints. In an era where four devices are common in many American households, marketers work to improve consistency, agility, and engagement with the “create once and use many” mindset DAMsters have been coaching for years in maximizing the omnichannel customer experience.

Digital assets are repurposeaceous


6. Visual storytelling becomes the preferred way to engage audiences as we saw with strong emphasis at Content Marketing World and the “Beyond Storytelling” theme capped off by a keynote from Kevin Spacey and his three key elements of conflict, authenticity and audience. We’re thankful for the opportunity to better utilize rich media assets in the ongoing quest to master the art of storytelling.

Kevin Spacey shares three key elements of a successful story

Kevin Spacey on storytelling at Content Marketing World 2014. Photo Credit: Cleveland.com.


7. While global commerce gets more connected, communications become more personal. We’re thankful for what this means in creating more personalized experiences in living color and digital forms by utilizing a variety of methods to engage customers with custom content. What’s more personal than one man’s account of his Summit journey to Madison?!

Diary of a DAM Admin’s Journey  to the 2014 Widen User Summit


8. Emotional appeal creates a stronger connection than the business case even for B2B audiences, teaching us that emotion is a must-have ingredient for all major content stories. That was a key theme at the BMA annual conference and reiterated at the Widen Summit. We’re thankful for what this means in the digital experiences we create and share.

You should be feeling your way through content.    

9. (Successful) marketers act with agility and scalability top of mind. As we heard at MarTech, we’re thankful that the agile mindset in the development world is translating into marketing processes where we must act and deliver in two different speeds – fast and faster.

Agile Marketing: New Ways Of Managing A New Era Of Marketing (And Business) By Jascha Kaykas Wolff

Agile Marketing: New Ways of Managing a New Era of Marketing by Jascha Kaykas Wolff


10. Experimentation (using the scientific method) is a highlight of the job. Not only is experimentation encouraged, failure is celebrated. We’re thankful for Bruce Rogers’ TRANSFORMER acronym representing the CMO of tomorrow. Our belief in experimentation is marked by a celebration of failure, exploration of trending technologies and participation in hackathons as we work to connect ideas with solutions.

TRANSFORMER acronym for the modern CMO

Forbes' Chief Insights Officer Bruce Rogers says CMOs are the new transformers of business.


11. Marketing and IT seem to be getting along and making babies (called Marketing Technologists aka Unicorns). If you haven’t heard, the rise of the marketing technologist is very real and we’re thankful for the opportunity to support unicorns in finding their way.

The intersection of marketing and technology


12. Content marketing is understood as the new SEO and the most sustainable way of marketing on any size budget. We’re thankful for organizations who embrace quality content and Google for rewarding those that are contributing thoughtful material to create quality conversations.

Connecting and curating quality content that people enjoy starts with you.    


13. Digital marketers realize the value of building vs. buying their media properties as we heard the advice first hand from Joe Pulizzi’s Widen Summit keynote – “don’t build your ship on rented land.” We’re not only thankful for the opportunities to engage customers in digital spaces, but to own it!

Don't build your ship on rented land.


14. It's time to race with the machines, not against. Automation is our friend and it’s time to get on board or get run over by those who are finding ways to automate themselves out of many of the things that get in the way. We’re thankful for the web services we use that allow us to quickly connect content to people, processes, systems, trends and more.

The key to growth? Race with the machines.


Lucky of you, we’re happy to share a bonus thought to be thankful for...

Drucker was right. Culture eats strategy for breakfast. This was the year where the writing on the wall became clearer. To thrive in the age of marketing in a digital age, culture rises above all else. We see this at Widen and we’re not the only ones. For that, we’re thankful!

Widen cultural traits

Leave a comment to share what you’re thankful for in digital marketing this year or contact us to discuss.

Topics: Marketing

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