Storytelling and Data Collide at Marketing Nation

by Shayda Windle

Storytelling and data collided yesterday at the Marketing Nation conference in San Francisco with an abundance of keynote sessions focused on marketing to millennials and GenZ and a bustling expo floor showcased the latest in marketing technologies. Queen Latifah made an appearance to share personal insights into her own successes as an entertainer and businesswoman. The two key lessons she had to share were around brand definition – something she had to do early in her career – but also the importance of embracing failure, which inevitably happens throughout a person’s life. During The Queen’s inspirational speech, she said “I’ve been afraid of everything I’ve ever done. It’s about moving forward anyway.” You can always “pick yourself up and try something new, or try it again.”

English actor, producer, and writer James Corden took the stage on the art of storytelling and the importance of being authentic, knowing your audience, and staying relevant in order to engage your audience. When talking about millennials, and your GenZ audience, it’s all about creating content-on demand, according to James.

Amanda Todo of Cleveland Clinic spoke in a session entitled How to Build a Killer Content Strategy. At Cleveland Clinic, her team engages users in daily conversation using health and wellness and content unique to their clinic. She said you must make customers your universe by truly knowing them and helping solve their problems or provide value to them, then listen through data. You must define a strategy and stick to it and defend your mission statement. Then, you must create, distribute, measure and optimize. Data must inform what you create, when, why and how you create.

Marketing dashboards are the foundation of your metrics which is why it’s important to ensure they are designed accurately. Four simple steps to designing your dashboard were discussed at Marketing Nation yesterday. First you must design your scope, including users and areas of influence. Then, you can develop metrics and map them to key questions, describe the context for your benchmarks, and go on to design.

No marketing conference is complete without parties and entertainment.  The night ended with a huge performance from four-time Grammy Award-winning band Train.