Marketing conferences and buzzwords are basically BFFs. They go together like bees and honey. Sometimes, this can feel a little gimmicky. While the 2017 Marketo Marketing Nation Summit was no exception to the buzzword rule, I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s focus: the engagement economy.

As opposed to zeroing in on a hot new topic (which often aligns with a point solution), the theme of “the engagement economy” encouraged a diverse array of topics that aligned around the relevance problem in marketing today. In today’s loud and diverse marketplace, we struggle to help our brands rise above the noise. Whether you’re running marketing ops, creating top-of-funnel content, or building high-level strategy, marketers are all keenly aware that more is not more. Engagement is the secret to escaping the chaos of constant tactical execution only for content to go unused.

With this in mind, here are the golden nuggets of information—those tactical takeaways—I learned at the event that will help me, and you, thrive in the age of the engagement economy.

Key Takeaways on the Engagement Economy

1. Marketing Is a Marathon—Not a Sprint

In a session on the core pillars of content marketing, Jeff Bullas told countless stories of his approach to building a successful content strategy. The democratization of media and marketing has put the power in our hands. That means we need to be continuously marketing our product or service—and sometimes ourselves.

To keep this momentum going, we need to be thoughtful about the content we put out there, taking the time to create high-value content at a steady pace to support our demand generation engine, without burning out our teams to the point that we’re putting out random acts of content.

2. Don’t Confuse Loyalty with Advocacy

Considering I work in SaaS, I’m keenly aware of the power—and cost—of customer retention. However, this extends beyond just SaaS models. In the engagement economy, word of mouth advertising is incredibly powerful (and incredibly cheap). A customer that chooses to stay with you out of mere convenience is far different than a customer that will sing your praises among colleagues, or at, say, a speaker session at a conference.

If you want to build brand power, consider your customers. How can you address them in a new or different manner that can help create advocates?

3. New Tools Require Sponsorship

Tools are an integral part of the modern marketing operation. Where would we be today without marketing automation!? However, too many people forget that it’s often the craftsman, not the tool, when it comes to martech success. In a session with the (awesome) marketing ops team from CA Technologies, I was reminded how important a project lead is to the success of marketing technology, from individual tools to the integration across the entire stack.

We preach about alignment of teams, tools, and channels all the time. A healthy reminder that this alignment requires individuals and/or a team to dedicate themselves to the functioning of our tools ensures the investments we make into marketing technology end up paying dividends, instead of sitting unused in our SSO platform.

4. To Do Exceptional Work, We Have to Be the Exception

Jay Acunzo gave a fabulous talk on how to be a “brilliant marketer.” Throughout the session, he highlighted the importance of approaching marketing from a different angle. All too often, marketers get stuck in pulling habitual levers, with the same influencer marketing templates, generic blog ideas, and Twitter schedules. By trusting our intuition and asking ourselves smarter questions, we can rethink convention using our own context.

At times, I feel overly focused in just accomplishing the next tactic or task on my list of “to dos.” This session really challenged me to make the process the point, as opposed to doing things simply to get them done.

For those who attended Marketo, what were your biggest takeaways? I’d love to here ’em! Tweet me @kay_lockman with the insights you’re stoked about.

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Kelsey Loughman

About Kelsey Loughman

Kelsey is a Writer and Content Marketing Manager at Kapost, trading law school for marketing startups. Now, she geeks out over innovative content strategy, trail runs, kale chips, and the (occasional) legal drama.