5 Strategic Thinking Insights from the Minnesota Marketing Summit


Last week, we set aside our nine to five so we could soak in all that the Minnesota Marketing Summit had to offer. Not only were we proud to serve as the exclusive sock sponsor of the event but we also enjoyed supporting our Co-Founder and Visionary, Emily Pritchard, as she moderated the Social Media Strategies panel.
We had a great opportunity to hear from a variety of major companies and learn about the sophisticated challenges they’re facing. Not to mention the openness many brands displayed while discussing the strategic tactics they employ during a variety of business challenges.
Throughout the Summit, several overarching themes resonated with us. Here are five takeaways marketers need to know from the Minnesota Marketing Summit and ways to begin implementing them today.
1. Claim responsibility for your role in the customer journey.
As marketers, we have a responsibility to serve our consumers at every touch point. It’s important to take a step back and understand the full scope of the customer journey – and the role you play in delivering on your brand’s promise.
Start by asking, “What kind of behavior do you hope to change?” From there, establish the right goal(s), forge ahead, and be incredibly nimble along the way. Whatever behavior you hope to change, this approach gives you the latitude to stay the course while meeting the needs of your consumer.
2. Keep a holistic view in mind when approaching social.
While social may only play one part in the marketing mix, keeping the big picture in view can help to maintain a connected story across an organization. Educating the broader team on the value of social media at each stage of the customer journey can only increase the value your brand is able to provide.
Social can help to increase brand awareness and drive sales, but it also creates a richer human connection between a consumer and your brand. No other medium gives brands the broad one-to-one connection to their consumer. Remaining active throughout a consumer’s journey can help a brand establish meaningful relationships with their audience.
3. Always be in beta.
Technology and innovation have allowed us to glean a nearly endless number of insights about our consumers. Brands cannot thrive if they are not receptive to customer feedback and willing to adapt to their real-time demands.
Invest time into listening to your community. Prove that you hear them by pivoting certain attributes of your brand to reflect what they desire.
4. Prioritize agility.
Supporting business challenges is more sophisticated than ever before. No longer can we think of solving business problems through the lens of just branding. Additionally, the need for brands to be agile and flexible in every facet of a business is critical to stay relevant.
While it’s important to prepare for and anticipate certain outcomes, things are always shifting. You don’t always have six months to create a campaign, so preparing for spontaneity allows for timely responses during pivotal behavior shifts.
With the right insights and experience, it’s easier to be in the right place at the right time, ready to connect with your audience during real-time moments. While you’re at it, be approachable, have a conversation, and provide them with the real human connection they yearn for from brands.
5. Aim for brand pride, not brand recognition.
Get everyone involved. The days of marketing only to your target audience are over. Modern-day marketers must focus on telling their brand’s story to every party involved – from employees and agency partners to retail distributors and consumers.
Rallying the troops with your brand’s inspiring message will turn brand recognition into brand pride and casual customers into brand evangelists.

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Background on The Social Lights
The Social Lights® is a social-first agency headquartered in Minneapolis that partners with clients to grow their business through strategy development, creative production, media buying, and social media management. Current clients include General Mills, Ecolab, Cargill, Caribou Coffee, Kwik Trip, Polaris and Massage Envy. The Social Lights was founded in 2011 and is a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise. Learn more at The Social Lights.

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