I recently attended the New South Digital Marketing Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on behalf of the
GinzaMetrics team. More than 300 digital marketers and business owners from the Southeast met up to get the scoop on the latest in digital marketing.
It was not surprising that data and content were two of the common threads in all of the presentations. Here are some of the key learnings I gathered from two of the speakers.
Big data drives big value
Adam Justis (@adamjustis), the head of product marketing Adobe Marketing Cloud, shared strategies to help marketers turn big data into their biggest asset.

  • Become a data guru: Only about 20 percent of companies are actually making decisions based on data, and the rest are flying by the seat of their pants. That’s scary. You should know your data and what is meaningful. Become fanatical about your metrics, and understand what contributed to your results.
  • Learn & document: Determine if your efforts are successful and understand why or why not. Justis said 80 percent of digital marketers are not regularly running tests on their campaigns. Testing is the best way to learn and also a way to immobilize HiPPOs (highest paid person’s opinions). I had not heard that acronym before, but it’s a great one. Learning and documenting will validate that your tactics drive results.
  • Become automatic: Once you’ve started testing and learning, you will know what metrics yield results. This will help you develop reliable and predictive models.
  • Master targeting: Targeting can help place the right experience before customers at the right time. Creating personas will help you develop marketing segments. You can use behaviors, demographics, trends, channels, third-party data, response rates and affinity to drive your marketing efforts.

This might sound hard to some marketers who feel that their they are stretched in many different directions, but I think Justis’ points were dead on. Taking time to understand the impact of your actions and reviewing resulting data should be a priority.
Disrupters shake up the marketplace
Kyle Lacy (@kyleplacy), the senior manager of content marketing and research for ExactTarget, addressed disrupters that are changing the face of business. Mobile, responsive design and local were identified as disrupters that are gaining traction in the marketing world.
Lacy said that social design is actually the most compelling to consumers, not just social media itself. Enabling interactions between brands and consumers places the consumer at the center of the experience rather than the products.
Similar to Adam Justis, Lacy believes that data beats opinions and has the power to change jobs and business models. It will continue to transform the face of marketing and communication.
The ability to take data - to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it
He also talked about the significant opportunity presented by Asia for companies looking to reach global consumers. Lacy shared that e-commerce in China is experiencing a huge surge. In 2010, the country had 40 million online shoppers, and it’s estimated to reach 520 million by 2015.
I enjoyed looking at Lacy’s slide on how these disrupters fit into the purchasing process. You can see that social is listed at various points in the process, including awareness, evaluation, usage and advocacy.
He stressed the importance of content and storytelling to engage consumers, sharing this Seth Godin quote to cement his point.
Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
Check out Lacy’s full presentation.
Books Recommended by #NSD2013 Speakers
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Zoom by Istvan Banyai
Do you have any marketing books that you would recommend to fellow digital marketers? Let us know in the comments!