From the horse’s mouth: Three expert tips from three different brands

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We covered ClickZ Live New York pretty thoroughly, but couldn’t get everything. With a week to reflect, here are expert tips from some of the most popular speakers.

During ClickZ Live New York, we made sure to update the website regularly with write-ups of some of our best keynotes, sessions and panels. But with so much content, we couldn’t possibly cover everything.

There were countless speakers whose words of wisdom we weren’t able to share. But now that we’ve had some time to reflect on the event – and OK, get our video footage back – here are three more tips you definitely need to know.

1. Don’t treat your visuals an afterthought

If you want your content to stand out in the vast sea of the Internet, engaging visuals are non-negotiable. But far too few marketers really prioritize their imagery, which can make or break an attempt to grab someone’s attention.

T Brand Studio, the brand marketing unit of The New York Times, has a whole team dedicated to visuals. That’s not feasible for everyone, but Rachel Gogel, the studio’s director, recommends doing a lot of research. At the same time, she thinks it’s key to be open-minded enough not to be married to your findings.

“We’re trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, and exploring in different places. But as long as we try to be as creative as possible, we’re defining success that way,” says Gogel.

“Well, the last auto brand worked with really liked this format, if this other auto brand comes in, we think were at an advantage, but they may want something completely different,” she adds. “We have to remain flexible. Data can only inform so much of our decisions.”

 

For more on T Brand Studio’s visual strategy, check out our video interview with Gogel here.

 

2. Listen, socially

Nathan Deeds, senior manager of customer support at OpenTable, spoke on a panel about social customer service. The very idea of “social customer service” can be daunting, given how easy it is for so many people to contact you – on so many different platforms, no less.

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OpenTable uses various social media management tools to stay on top of all the comments and inquiries. Deeds also utilizes social listening to make sure he’s aware of all the comments people make about OpenTable that aren’t directed toward the brand.

“Not every comment or post warrants a response. Oftentimes, we’ll just be involved in someone else’s conversation,” says Deeds. “We do a lot of letting conversations foster naturally. If and when appropriate or needed, we’ll jump in with a response.”

To hear more from Deeds about how he keeps trolls at bay, click here.

3. Master the technology before it masters you

During ClickZ Live New York, “digital transformation” is something that came up over and over again, the idea that the industry changes completely, constantly. Following her afternoon keynote, we asked Lisa Baird, chief marketing officer of the U.S. Olympic Committee, about the challenges she faces there.

There may be two whole years, which is probably closer to 20 in marketing time, between Sochi and Rio, but Baird points out that she covers Team USA every single day. In doing so, she says how crucial it is to master any and all technology you haven’t mastered. That way, you avoid trying to “keep up” with it.

“Make sure you’ve got a team of internal employees who are in command with the technology, who can tell the stories in an original, inspired way,” says Baird. “Being able to control the technology, rather than the other way, around, is key, so we can keep Americans engaged and inspired 365 days a year.”

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