3 Unexpected Marketing Lessons From TEDxIndianapolis 2013

What’s your professional marketing passion? What makes you get up every morning and look forward to your daily commute to the office? What really matters to you?

TEDxIndianapolis attempted to help some of its nearly 1300 attendees answer those questions. Eight hours packed with music, art, dance, games and informal talks fed the audience plenty of food for thought but also shaped the narrative of a purpose-driven professional life.
For marketers, that message was louder and clearer than expected.

On a day full of talks about culture, social change, and activism, marketing professionals were offered a variety of new ideas, common themes presented in novel ways, and encouragement to get a little wild. As an attendee, the lessons I learned came from relatively unexpected sources.

Know your audiences—all of them

Author and organizational development professional Andrés Tapia started the morning with a talk called “Why diversity is upside down.” Tapia detailed what he calls “diversity 2.0,” a world in which inclusion—in lieu of traditional tolerance—is the norm. In a society where cultural intersectionality has become common, organizations and individuals alike must learn to identify and acknowledge groups that have more than one characteristic.

What does that mean for marketers? Part of the message is that labels like “Millennial” and “professional” just don’t cut it anymore—and maybe never did. That Millennial you’re targeting might also be part of a half dozen other target audiences, with habits that aren’t strictly Millennial-like. For brands searching for reliable customer bases, approaching each user as an individual is more important than ever. Personalized marketing and campaigns that cover more than one demographic—and that blur the lines between them—are the keys to longevity in the new digital marketing space.

Think glocal

As Editor of Indiana Living Green and former Managing Editor of Indianapolis newsweekly NUVO, Jim Poyser has a lot of experience with content and with managing messages. His talk, “Confessions of a climate change humorist,” put a silly and satirical spin on an otherwise serious topic. But along with his black humor, Poyser taught a lesson on how to become stewards of the wider world by embracing what’s in your own backyard—what he calls “thinking glocal.”

Thinking glocal—thinking globally and acting locally—is a great way to approach a content marketing campaign. Before attempting to scale a campaign or reach a wider audience, what’s your brand doing right with the audience it has? How are you meeting the needs of your current customers, and what are the things that keep them coming back? It’s more cost-effective to keep current customers than it is to court new ones, and cultivating a strong, stable, and happy base is the best way to prepare for bigger and better goals. Identify what you’re doing right, and perfect it, before moving on.

Embrace radical utility

Danish architect and creative director Rosan Bosch builds things for a living. For her, design is an integral element of everything from working to learning. And with her talk, “Designing for a better world starts at school,” Bosch offered a vision that incorporates seemingly radical schoolhouse design with a school’s curriculum. It’s a deceptively simple concept: give kids the space, resources, and freedom to do things that motivate them, and they’ll guide their own learning.

This philosophy lies at the heart of inbound marketing. The Internet influences more than 50 percent of users’ buying decisions on everything from electronics and books to food, hair care, and cars. Giving users the tools they need to make their own decisions—instead of offering them products and services they may not be ready for or want—is the best way to establish and maintain a relationship. The Internet represents a wealth of resources, and the difference between creating a customer and creating a loyal partner is a brand’s ability to be useful and interesting. Give your audience the tools to help themselves, and they’ll come to you when they need you. That’s what the best marketing accomplishes.

This year’s TEDx conference represented the best cutting-edge ideas to be found locally and from around the country and the world. And with each new performance or talk, attendees could find messages that spoke to them directly. It’s just one of the ways TED has strengthened its own brand, and how marketers can learn to strengthen theirs as well.

Image credit: TEDxIndianapolis.com

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]