Steve Biddle from Facebook talks at SummitUp
Steve Biddle from Facebook talks at SummitUp

In mid-October I attended SummitUp, a day-long conference at Sinclair Community College (Sponsored by AAF Dayton) covering everything from marketing to PR to digital media. Since I attended the event 4 years ago, a lot has changed—for the better.

Back around 2009, there was nothing but doom and gloom for printers. The world was going digital, and was saying goodbye to paper. And there was nothing anyone could do about it.

This year couldn’t have been more different. (Folks have wised up, I’d say.) Marketers have realized that not everyone wants their information delivered via tweets. Some people really are easier to reach through direct mail.

Ultimately, the big message this year was that it’s all about content. And not just any throwaway, one-size-fits-all content—the right content, delivered to the right person, the right way, at the right time. I was amazed how many of SummitUp’s speakers focused, in one way or another, on this one core message. For example:

  • Dawn Shirley, VP of Communications & Media at dunnhumbyUSA, helps Kroger manage data on the many coupons they mail to customers. Personalization, in the form of deals based on past purchases, has been huge for the supermarket chain. Message vehicles may change, Dawn said, but strong, tailored messaging is what remains important.
  • Todd Henry, CEO of Accidental Creative and the conference’s opening speaker, spoke on how to foster creativity among teams. Mediocrity happens, Todd says, when people are afraid to leave their comfort zones. Laying yourself bare through content marketing isn’t easy. But it’s the only way to move forward.
  • Kendra Ramirez, Manager of Social Media & Mobile at Ascendum Solutions, is a master of social media. She has social content posting down to a science, and shared everything from how often businesses should be sharing on each social network, to what times of day are best for posts. (In case you’re wondering, people are on Facebook and Twitter on the weekdays, and tend to save Pinterest for evenings and weekends.)
  • Krista Neher, CEO of Digital Boot Camp, created one of the first social media certification programs in the world. And she got me thinking about content not just as words, but also as photos and other media. We all know the saying about a picture being worth a thousand words—but Krista explained that our brains actually do process images faster than they do text. I’ll keep this in mind for future campaigns.

If you ask me, there was a lot of relevant information and advice for business owners & managers at  SummitUp this year—and it’s not the old-school social media shindig it once was. I’d recommend it to anyone around Dayton in communications. But you’ll have to wait ‘til October 2014 for the next big event. Here’s hoping nobody declares print “dead” again by then…