Last week, nearly a dozen of Indy’s smartest marketers gathered to contemplate the trials and triumphs of digital marketing. The event was hosted by Sigstr ,a platform for email signatures, and was the first of many future Digital Marketing Roundtables – an event conceived with learning and networking with the best and brightest in mind.
We hosted attendees from Eli Lilly, Salesforce, IBM, Angie’s List, NextGear Capital, Hyde Park Ventures, Return Path, Huntington, and Interactive Intelligence. Our attendees were armed with craft beer, Just Pop In! Popcorn, fruit, and an agenda packed with talking points ranging from budget allocation to branding strategy to biggest influencers in the marketing world today (our favorites being Jay Baer and Gary Vaynerchuk).
We walked away with several key takeaways:
1. Who owns the company’s brand? Marketing?
There is a constant debate as to who truly owns brand. From our discussion, we reached a simple conclusion: everyone. You can invest millions of dollars in fancy marketing campaigns and advertisements, but your people are your front line. No matter the size of your organization, your people are your brand. If you invest in culture and hire the right people, your brand will flourish. See how email signatures can also help with that in this recent blog post.
2. Marketing’s impact on the entire organization, including culture.
A strong company culture is a beautiful thing. If only celebrated internally, you have happy employees. If showcased to the world through the use of digital marketing, you have happy customers, prospects, and peers. Marketing can make a colossal impact on all aspects of an organization. Using the aforementioned example, showcasing culture can lead to higher interest in becoming a part of that culture and can impact the quality of talent in potential hires. There are a variety of channels that can be utilized to exhibit culture (including through your email signature template – Lesson.ly is the perfect example of this).
3. Budget breakdown.
With hosting a multitude of different organizations comes a multitude of opinions and theories on how to spend your budget. In the breakdown of digital vs. traditional marketing channels, several companies stated they allocate less than 20% of their total budgets to digital marketing efforts. Dan asked the group what they would do if they were given an additional $1 million in marketing budget. The unanimous decision was to invest in talent.
Perspective from Tim Kopp, General Partner, Hyde Park Venture Partners:
“The easiest way to fix culture is to win. Marketing helps you know how you are winning. Start measuring your efforts, setting goals, and ensuring each person knows what they are accountable for. I have never seen a losing organization with a winning culture, period. Setting a culture of performance helps motivate team members and create transparency. Marketing is a crucial player in fueling these efforts.”
Tim also recently published an entire post specific to marketing’s role in building genuine culture and the effect it has on talent attraction, development, and retention. You can check out the post here.
Perspective from Sigstr’s VP of Sales, Kevin Vanes:
“Yesterday my horizon was expanded and eyes opened. I had to the privilege to learn from the best and brightest marketers in Indianapolis. I learned how broad of a reach marketers have on their organization’s success. They impact culture, perpetuate brand halo, drive employee engagement and enablement, and of course deliver leads to the sales organization. For me, it spurred a subtle reminder that in the race to the sun every action and individual is impactful. We, you and I, have the responsibility to represent and promote our company’s passion as we work to develop and grow.”
We are very appreciative of the opportunity to host a room full of smart digital marketers. A big thank you to all of them for taking time out of their days to join us for the event. We walked away smarter and look forward to continuing to learn and grow at future events.
Dan Hanrahan, Sigstr Founder/CEO, provides a recap of the day in the video below:
“So, first and foremost, it’s mostly about giving back and adding value to the digital marketers in Indianapolis. It’s so hard to sort of get out in your community when you get buried in your work. So, to look around and see those connections and one-off conversations marketers have with one another, to help them connect, is really invaluable.
In the process of that, we (Sigstr) learn, and our job is to ask questions (hopefully smart questions) and sit back and listen to the smartest people in our community tell us about their opportunities and challenges. So, if we facilitate an environment along those lines and facilitate that discussion, and maybe even add a few beverages of choice, people tend to have a lot of fun and walk away with better connections that help them.
They’re all really facing the same sort of decisions and evaluating the same opportunities. It’s really interesting, there were all kinds of engaging conversations and we talked a lot about budget, strategy, and brand, and things along those lines. We asked this group, ‘If you had a 10% increase in budget that just showed up today, how would you spend it?’ and the entire room, almost without exception, said people.
It’s really clear (I think there were 3,400 logos of technologies you can buy in the marketing tech stack) that the marketer is sort of limited with their time. They can only log in and do so much from so many tools. And so, the marketer is really constrained in the tools that add value without requiring a lot of time, and those are the ones that tend to win.
We also talked a lot about the brand piece and how marketers show return on investment on brand. There were some really interesting conversations there. It’s a really hard thing to do, but we all agreed that, more than anybody in the organization, marketing cares about the brand. They can provide tools to enable the organization – but at the end of the day nothing creates a better culture or brand than winning. The brand stems from the people you place within the organization.
It was fascinating to sit back and understand what kinds of decisions these guys face everyday and how many different things are pulling them for time and what matters most. So for those of you that were here, thank you so much for spending the day with us. It was an incredible opportunity and very humbling to see so many busy and smart marketers spend some time with us. It won’t be the last we assemble a group of really smart digital marketers and we’ll continue to listen and build that feedback into the Sigstr email signature generator so we can help in the ways you need us to.
So thanks again for coming and we hope you join us again. For those that didn’t have a chance – please reach out we’d love to have you next time.” – Dan Hanrahan, Sigstr Founder/CEO