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Cityscape with a blue overlay.by: Jessica Newland, Marketing Manager
@jessicanewland7

If you happened to miss the Digital Summit Atlanta 2015, you missed out on some great speakers who dropped some serious knowledge bombs this year. There were so many experts speaking on a wide range of topics, and I wanted to share some of the most relevant to the B2B marketer.

After listening to over 15 sessions, here are some of the top takeaways that struck a chord with me:

It’s all about relationships. The question here is how do you create this in a digital space? Start by creating a culture of sharing, then start to build trust with engagement. Also, be sure to remember that users aren’t just users, they’re humans. You’re speaking to a specific person, not just an account.

The buyer’s journey has changed. With a huge shift in digital, the way we consume information is different – and that includes buying decisions. There are now 5.4 people involved in the average B2B buying decision – that’s a lot of people to convince. But the most eye opening fact here is that 57% of the buying process is already done before you speak to your buyer. They’re learning on their own. 

Social selling is here to stay. Turns out, 75% of B2B buyers are informed by social media on vendors they are looking at. You can’t afford to miss out on that opportunity.

Google rules the world. Seriously, they do. Google is Google and they rule the world. That’s why you must use Google+. It’s the social site that connects all of Google (maps, search, images, YouTube, etc.) and gives companies the verification they need to help rank. So if you care about SEO (which we all should), a Google+ account is critical to improve your ranking. Not the mention, they have moved from being the middleman to the man with all the answers.

Email marketing is far from dead. It’s official – email has surpassed searching as the number one activity people do online. 94% of people say they get online to check their email while only 82% search. This is the only time Google has lost at anything and if email is beating Google, it must be worth your time.

Marketing and sales must align. As mentioned earlier, 57% of the buying process is done before anyone in sales speaks to someone. This makes our jobs as marketers even more important as we are becoming the frontline sales team and the sales team is becoming the deal closer. The two departments must align in order to make the buyer’s journey as seamless as possible.

Every piece of content should be unified by one idea. Currently, 70% of organizations don’t have a documented content strategy. That number sounds insane to me. Everyone talks about how content is king, so why aren’t companies making it a priority? Content for the sake of content isn’t very effective, but when you create all of your content aligned to one central idea, the results will show.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This was perhaps my favorite topic of discussion at the summit. A simple reminder that yes, marketers can make anything happen with the resources and knowledge we have today, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Know what’s right for your business and make that happen.

When all is said and done, the most important thing I learned was that the key takeaway from events like these aren’t necessarily the takeaways; it’s what you do with them. Know what wining looks like for your brand and be really clear on what you’re trying to achieve. Align that with what you learn and the results will really start to show.

Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to the Digital Summit for holding yet another great event. Also, the speakers were fantastic this year and I cannot wait to see what next year holds. Now, let’s get out and start using those knowledge bombs!