This weekend we wrapped up our last day of this year’s Touch Digital Summit. It may have been the last day but it was just as exciting as our first. We covered topics from digital marketing, AI, business development and sales, CX, and the importance of experimentation. We had 10 keynote speakers, 2 workshops, as well as our usual morning yoga and a cooking session.
We had + speakers from 20+ countries, sharing their knowledge and experience on a variety of topics from UX/UI design, customer experience, business development and sales, technology, AI, retail, e-commerce and fashion, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, culture, and I could go on…
Instead of focusing on a specific topic, at Touch Digital Summit, we focused on bringing inspiration and value to Georgia and this amazing region of Europe. Thank you to everyone that tuned in over the past two weeks. I hope you had a great time! I know that we definitely did.
If you want a recap, a dose of inspiration or you’re just not willing to let us go just yet, here is our summary of the last day.
Workshop: Maximizing media engagement and mastering the epic split with Van Damme!
Vlad Bazikalov, Regional Director (Emerging Markets/EMIA), Cision / PR Newswire
Vlad opened our last day with a workshop about what companies can do to maximise media engagement. Today PR and marketing professionals face various challenges when trying to identify and engage with target media. For example, journalists usually have 7+ PR professionals pitching to them simultaneously, receive 100+ press releases into their inboxes daily, and often see these companies as untrusted sources. Furthermore, the high content quality required makes sending out press releases time consuming and reduces the chances of selection and publication. Finally, the majority of communication teams have limited or outdated media databases, and most cannot identify the right influencers and journalists.
Companies can face these challenges by doing their PR in-house via a media database or a Communications cloud platform. The latter helps PR and marketing professionals pitch, monitor and measure the results of their campaigns. The second option is outsourcing an all-in-one service company, like Cision, that can help you distribute your content. Cision does this via their PR Newswire platform to 170+ countries in 60+ languages. They offer multi-channel distribution to national news agencies, online discoverability, PR Newswire for journalists, financial and corporate research databases, and trade & vertical media.
Finally, Vlad compared the efficacy of traditional text press releases to more effective multimedia news releases. A Multimedia News Release is a dynamic HTML5 page with the ability to encompass text, images, video, audio, documents, live Twitter & Facebook feeds and much more. It makes the distribution and sharing of multimedia content extremely simple. In fact, a multimedia news release can get you 52x more views compared to a text-only press release and is essentially a must-have today to maximise media engagement. Vlad gave the example of Volvo, where Cision took inspiration from Volvo’s initial Epic Split viral video, to create a multimedia press release featuring a video of Volvo’s president in mission impossible manner, riding on top of four new trucks. More tips here: https://www.multivu.com/blog/2017/multichannel-news-releases-best-practice-for-your-project.html
How AI can optimise Marketing Efforts
Marta Ortega Quesada, CEO, Dopeness Agency
There is more to AI than intelligent machines and software programs that are replacing human jobs in production lines. Marketers can also benefit from AI, and use it to optimise their marketing efforts. A few areas where AI can be applied in marketing, include smart content creation, sales forecasting, add targeting, leads scoring, dynamic pricing, predictive customer service, chatbots, AI-generated content, voice search and much more. Marta expanded on a few of these applications.
(1) Chatbots are powered by AI and can help marketers with customer support by automating customer problem-solving. Chatbots also help with lead generation, because for instance before starting a conversation they ask the client or potential client for their email. Marta recommended her favorite tool Tidio.
(2) AI-generated content. Producing content to keep your website on top of the main search engine can be time-consuming and tedious. AI tools like Articoolo can help you generate content like social media posts, blog posts, press releases, including 100% original content from a series of data and basic parameters like keywords, length etc. It is already used by international media outlets like Forbes.
(3) Voice search. Voice search is becoming more popular, so there is a growing need for companies to start to prepare and optimise their voice search optimization strategies. This includes optimizing content, location and brand info to increase the likelihood of driving voice search results.
(4) Sales forecasting. AI can also predict the potential demand for your product or service using past sales data, industry-wide comparisons, and economic trends. It can also forecast sales outcomes, and help companies make key business decisions, as well as predict short and long term performance.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start implementing these applications to make your life easier as a marketer!
How to leverage communities to boost sales
Ed Giansante, Founder and Content Creator, E-Dublin Next up
Ed talked about the 5 key things you will need to leverage communities to drive and build sales, and walked us through each of them with real and practical examples:
(1) Authority with content. First Ed noted that there are different degrees to content creation, rising in difficulty and simultaneously in authority. The lowest stage of content creation is sharing - pure curation/superficial comment. A higher level, and more difficult to do is an analysis where you add your own perspective to existing content. Next you also add recommendations to your analysis, and finally, we have pure content creation. The higher stages are where you start building your authority, at which point you can start to drive your audience to where you want them to be.
(2) Reciprocity. Give first, then receive, because when you do this, you add value, and when you ask for something, people will be more willing to give back. You can give things like free trials, offer help, donate, volunteer, give advice, or mentor.
(3) Ritual. Rituals are what makes people really connect to you and remember you. Rituals are usually something that already exists, it is simple, and it needs to be natural. For example, YouTubers or podcasters always have the same intro on their videos, podcasts.
(4) Social proof. It is important because it eliminates objections.
(5) Scarcity. For example, you can always give more to people that join first, and then reduce the benefits as the week goes on. This is important as the early birds are those that will drive more traffic for you.
A day as a salesperson at Hubspot
Kateryna Kladkova, Sales Team Lead (CEE & Nordics), HubSpot
Kateryna shared with us her insight she gained as a sales representative at HubSpot, a SaaS company that builds products to support sales, marketing, and customer service teams (the front-office). Today companies exist in a hyper-competitive environment where the customers have many solutions to choose from; they have the power. Customers also have a lot more information available to them, they do their own research, get recommendations from friends and colleagues, before ever talking to a sales rep. However, even though the world has changed, most sales teams still use a so-called legacy sales process that is centred around the way salespeople sell, instead of how people buy. They pull data about prospects from any source they can find, use generic messages and spam continuously. Instead of leveraging marketing, it is seen as the supporting engine.
So what is the alternative? Kateryna gave us an overview of ‘inbound’ sales. This is when the sales process is centred around the buyer’s actions instead of the salesperson’s process, where salespeople start with inbound interest and use context to connect. Buyer and seller data is captured automatically using a CRM, and coaching and pipeline monitoring happen in real-time. For companies like HubSpot, their CRM is a system of records - a unified source of truth. The key is that sales and marketing work hand in hand to create a seamless experience for buyers. Marketing works on the content, website, ads, campaigns, through which sales reps know what is going on - what potential pages prospects are viewing, the documents they are downloading. This creates the context salespeople can use to reach out to prospective customers, make smarter decisions, get replies quicker, and close sales faster.
Hyper growth with E-Scooters
Dmytro Bugoslavskyy, Founder & CEO, Dive
Our next speaker, Dmytro joined us to share his entrepreneurial story and experience in hyper growth with e-scooters. They raised $55 Mio in Series A, just three months after founding the company. The question Dmytro wanted to address with his talk, is how do you use that money and what can you do in 6 months to utilise it the right way. Growth in scooters is different from growth in software businesses as it has a very clear model, where the more money you put in, the more you get out. You need to focus on optimizing your operations and increasing revenue.
A few key points to focus on, Dmytro said, are people and execution. In terms of people, it was important to hire only top talent, people that are comfortable with a high level of autonomy and are focused on execution without having to learn on the job. For instance, people that already know how to set up the infrastructure set up the right processes, hire the right drivers, etc. In terms of execution, it was important that they had a clear path which is only possible in operational business; it is about having playbooks (i.e. how to launch a city, how to operate etc.). He noted that changes are more painful and so need to be very clearly communicated. Finally, with hyper growth, culture is hard as you have very little time to adapt. Dmytro said that to avoid toxicity they focused on resolving conflicts as quickly as possible. They also defined their customers’ needs and objectives very clearly in the very beginning, which helped with decision making and objection setting later on.
The Power of Why? An honest practical guide to strategic social media community building
Ksenia Slavnikova, Founder, Cheeese and AWSM SMM
Ksenia is an experienced graphic designer, startup and SMM agency owner. She joined us for the last keynote of the first block to talk about social media community building and guide us through her workflow from the tone of voice and content planning to targeting and smashing key metrics. She learned early on that no matter how great a product or service is, marketing and communication strategy is absolutely crucial for success.
Social media marketing today doesn’t require huge budgets while being very effective. It is about finding your own unique voice and positioning your business as a modern and appealing brand worth liking, following and buying from. Having a plan for creating your social media marketing strategy is very important, and the more ‘why’ questions you ask, the better the outcome. Ksenia guided us through her workflow:
(1) Strategy. This mostly includes questions about customers behavior (i.e. why do people buy your product, why competitors do something or not, why should you use specific social media platform)
(2) Content plan. You should focus on the KPIs the company wants you to achieve (i.e. sell, raise followers, increase engagement etc.) with the content.
(3) Customer support. Why did the customer ask us this question? It is important to make customers feel valued and special.
(4) Community, bloggers and collaborations. Why are those specific bloggers good for you? You should use analytic tools (i.e. LiveDune) to understand the nature of your followers (i.e. does the blogger have the same audience as you have?)
(5) Targeting. It is built on numbers and many questions of why. For instance, why did we pay $100 and only got 5 followers, why is there a lack of orders, etc.
(Bonus) Make sure you repeal these questions monthly, plan in advance, and ask why something doesn’t work anymore.
We finished the first block of the day with a dynamic panel discussion and Q&A where we talked sales, content and engagement.
Workshop: How to deal with Pandas (if you don’t have unlimited resources)
Nikolay Markov, Principal Architect, Aligned Research Group
Joining us on our Virtual Expo stage, Nikolay gave us a workshop on Pandas. Pandas is a software library written for Python, for data manipulation and analysis. A lot of us work with Pandas almost every day, and we’re used to the fact that some operations can be slow or consume a lot of RAM. It is a research, not a production code, right? But it can still be frustrating that reading and filtering some big dataset takes so much time. Nikolay discussed things we can do to make our lives easier. He gave us tips on merging files, reading data, transactions, compressing, and more.
Before our second and final block of talks, together with Erik Sarkisian, we cooked a contemporary pumpkin phkali with mchadi chips. Eric is the Chef de cuisine at Republic Restaurant. Their team participated at the Bocuse D’Or competition - a great milestone for Eric as a young chef.
The Israeli High-tech in a Glance
Alan Hofman, Latin America & Euro-Asia Collaborations Director, Israel Innovation Authority
Alan started off our second and final block of talks with an inside look into the Israeli high tech ecosystem and how their organisation contributes into its development. Israel is a global leader in R&D investment, allocating 4.5% of its GDP in this direction. In 2019, their tech companies exits totaled at $21.7B. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen an increased involvement of multinational corporations in Israel who opened over 380 R&D centers there. This is where over 50% of high tech product innovation is done in the country.
What makes the Israeli ecosystem so successful is that all parts of the ecosystem are working together; startups, military, private funding, academia, government, growth companies, and multinational corporations. At the moment 94% of all investment in R&D is private. Alain argued that the government should come in to complement private funding and make the high-risk investment, promote future tech waves and help build national infrastructure. The Israel Innovation Authority was created with this purpose in mind. Their mission is to invest in innovation in order to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, by strengthening the innovation ecosystem, enhancing economic impact, and enabling emerging disruptive technologies. They invest in all stages of innovation and R&D, in all sectors.
How emotions shape brand experiences
Liraz Margalit, Founder and Chief Behavioural Scientist, ConverCX
We keep on hearing about the significant role of emotions in driving engagement, loyalty, brand awareness, but what is the relationship between emotions and experience? In her research, Liraz found that what we need to discuss is not emotion per se but emotion as a safe way to our memory. If an experience is powerful enough to generate an emotional reaction, a new story will be added to our long term memory collection. To achieve brand awareness then, your customer’s long term memory related to your product or service also needs to be associated with an emotion, usually a positive one though this isn’t the rule. Companies need to be strategic about the use of emotions and choose the emotions that make sense for what they are trying to achieve.
With an abundance of choice customers have today, an association between your brand/product and a positive emission is often the deciding factor. Customers just need to feel and not necessarily think consciously about those choices. So how can you utilise emotions in the digital world? Liraz and her team developed a model according to which the emotions evoked are the result of our current mindset and our prior expectations. The key is that if an interaction with a product/service meets our expectations, the experience is not memorable. If the actual interaction is below what we expect it will be associated with a negative experience, and on the other hand, if it is above what we expected, we can start talking about peak experiences and delight. Finally, Liraz also noted that often, the most surprising and delightful moments are actually the ones that are unplanned, meaning that they are difficult to strategise. We should also try to actually research what our customers’ expectations are instead of merely trying to guess.
Localization of digital strategy for events
Richard McKeon, Partner, STR8FWD Communications
STR8FW is a digital strategy and communications consultancy based in Dubai. One of the verticals that STR8FWD focuses on are events. They partner with a lot of events agencies in the area and support them with content marketing, marketing automation, etc. At STR8FWD they think about digital, PR and comms as integrated, to really learn and understand what is and isn’t working for their clients.
They are heavy on content marketing, which comes from the mindset that when you are able to communicate and deliver value to your audience, that is when you really engage them, build trust and customer loyalty. In other words, it is the best way to turn strangers into clients and promoters of your business. It is important to know who your customer is, and what they are interested in. Richard also mentioned the importance of monitoring and data building, as data and facts are what helps you optimize your campaigns and truly understand customer journeys and their pain points.
Finally, Richard gave an example from one of their clients, Beautyworld Middle East to demonstrate how they were able to build a content marketing strategy for them that was localized to their region. Using an informed content marketing strategy, they were able to help the company achieve their objectives, grow engagement and traffic and become a thought leader in their field.
Consumer Centric Analytics
Benjamin Cole, Director of Global Partnerships, AppsFlyer
Benjamin noted that ‘there used to be a divide between business, marketing and product; analytics now connects them.’ There are many different media sources and it is likely that the same consumer has seen and engaged with an ad of your company across multiple platforms. This makes it difficult for businesses to understand what is the best way to invest their marketing budget to get the maximum impact. This is where attribution can help. Attribution modeling is essentially assigning credit where credit is due, it is the process of gathering data and understanding which networks brought you your customers. This is what AppsFlyer helps companies with.
Benjamin went on to talk about consumer centric analytics. He first focused on one of the major trends happening today, which is a focus on international growth, which provides companies with access to new customers and revenue. At AppsFlyer they took all apps in the world and broke them down by subcategory and size, to understand how many countries they advertise in. They found that bigger apps within their category focus more on international growth than medium apps, and again more than smaller apps. However, there was no correlation with the budget, and a large app in one category might be a small or medium app in a different category in terms of spending.
Benjamin also addressed consumer purchase trends in EMEA-based apps. For example, less than 2% of people that install apps actually buy anything from them, which means that companies need to focus carefully on the onboarding experience and make sure their targeting is relevant. Furthermore, people using iOS pay more, purchase at a higher frequency and are also likely to pay sooner.
The Importance of Experimentation
Joe Sabia, Founder, Studio Sabia, ex-Conde Nast
For the final talk of Touch Digital Summit 20, Joe, the man that “speaks to the web the way Doolittle does to animals” (The New York Times), joined us and took us on an exciting tour of his viral digital projects since the dawn of YouTube.
In 2014 Joe got a call from Conde Nast Entertainment, who offered him to pitch a video with Sarah Jessica Parker to Vogue. He wanted to ask relatable questions and get to know a celebrity as a human. The idea of 73 Questions was born, which is still ongoing today. Furthermore, over the years, Joe led the conception, development and execution of franchises and formats across Conde Nast’s portfolio of brands, growing their YouTube audience from 1.5M to 48M subscribers, reaching over 550M monthly organic views.
However, Joe’s experimentation with video started much earlier. He then took us further back to when YouTube was just starting out in 2006. Having just graduated from Boston College (BC), he wanted to experiment, create things interesting to him, that haven’t been done before. From his earliest viral experiments, Joe learned that video is a powerful medium that can:
- Build a community (parody of The OC called The BC),
- Inform (7 Minute Sopranos video was the beginning of ‘the recap’ format),
- Play with pop culture (Fresh Prince Google Translated),
- Merge mediums (A sustainable sushi commercial with miniatures),
- Make a powerful statement (African men, Hollywood stereotypes; in collaboration with Mama Hope Foundation),
- Can make you feel something (Billie Eilish: Same Interview, The Fourth Year).
We were excited to join the speakers back for our last round table and Q&A of this year’s Touch Digital Summit. The speakers came from a variety of backgrounds but connected on the value of experimentation in their respective fields. It really felt like the perfect wrap up that epitomized the purpose and goal of this Summit, which is for people to find common ground and find a way to Touch.
If you want to stay in Touch with us, and see what we have planned for the future, feel free to give us a follow or send us a message on our social networks. We’d love to hear from you!
Until next time!
Author: Kristina Redek