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After a year and a half of booking conferences for everyone else, I finally found one that was right for me: The Digital Marketing Show. So for Wednesday and Thursday last week I was down at the ExCel London, learning all about creative content from the experts.


Kicking things off was Louise Hodges from TravelZoo who gave me loads of great ideas. Her emphasis was on the importance of the narrative in your content, and that it should make readers either feel mad, sad or glad.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

TravelZoo’s most famous campaign was ‘The Parent Trap’ – a petition to lower flight taxes for parents taking their children abroad in the school holidays, following the introduction of fines for parents when taking their children away in term time. This covers all of the mad, sad and glad criteria, as it’s a personal issue for so many and generates a lot of opinion on both sides of the argument.

With 75% of companies investing more budget for content, and so many platforms for sharing, it’s now harder than ever to be seen, and in the words of Matthew Walko, we need to ‘break through the crap barrier’. There’s no point in creating content for the sake of it, so we need to be creative in what we do create.

Adobe’s ‘Mean Streets’ commercial is a great example of this, playing on a marketer who needs more clicks, and will go to any lengths to get them..

Howard Scott of headstream, and The National Trust, talked about personalisation, and how we’re obsessed with the ‘self’, pointing out how successful the coca cola ‘Share a Coke’ campaign has been. People want content that is personal to them, so making your customer the lead character in your narrative will mean a much higher chance of them reading (and sharing) it. You can see his slides here.


Thursday began with Rubber Republic telling us what makes a campaign go viral. To put it bluntly, it should pass the ‘ARSE over TIT’ test.

TL;DW (too long, didn’t watch)

This video is great, and just gets better. There’s no denying it’s authentic, and it’s certainly entertaining!

Sebastian Dreyfus talked about starting with your data when you create your campaigns. For example, Netflix researched what their customers watched, which actors they liked, and how they were watching. The result was House of Cards and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most popular  shows on Netflix. This approach is basically mass personalisation for your customers, ensuring your content is what they want to see.

No one in the content theatre could have forgotten Bryan Adam’s talk, which was great: bold, energetic, and above all, knowledgeable. Bryan was trying to predict how we’ll be marketing in 2024 and that, really, we’re behind the times for 2014. Barely anyone in the theatre was using any integrated tools for their marketing, such as linking a CRM to your email account, choosing instead to trawl through massive Excel documents or data. As WildsauSEO reminds us, in marketing, we need to pay attention to the young people. In their recent posts about the future of digital marketing, they expressed a 2024 where the 14 year old of today (who market themselves on Instagram etc for ‘likes’) will be competing for our jobs having been raised on social media. Scary.


The main things I took away from the show were how important ‘narrative’ and ‘personalisation’ are for people reading your content, and this came up time and time again, from all of the speakers. Listening to people share some of the campaigns they have worked on, and also what inspires them, gave me some great ideas too, and I’m really looking forward to implementing everything I learned into our marketing plan for 2015 at UVD.