4 key takeaways from The Digital Summit in Kansas City.

Posted August 3, 2017 in , by

Here at Ervin & Smith we continue to learn so we’re always on top of the newest trends in digital marketing and advertising. Four of our team members recently traveled to Kansas City to attend the Digital Summit conference and expand their knowledge. Below, they share what they’ve learned with the hope that these lessons will also prove useful to you.

Katie Herzog, Marketing Director

My No. 1 takeaway: Get clear about the problem you’re solving before you start creating solutions. Whether it’s analytics and reporting or strategy, marketers tend to select a solution before truly understanding the problem.

What makes a problem worth solving?

  1. It’s clear. Whether you’ve explored the 5 Whys or held a multidisciplinary brainstorm, a good problem/assignment will have clarity. This is usually demonstrated through a specific objective that can be achieved.
  2. It will require action. (This means it’s important.) Before choosing to work on a solution, it’s good to make sure that everyone understands the consequences of not solving the problem.
  3. There’s ownership in the outcome. When the report comes out, there should be someone’s name on it who is ultimately accountable for the outcome. If you’re not sure who the owner is, and if you identified the problem, you’re probably the one responsible for the outcome.


Chris Lee, Director of Client Engagement

The thing that stood out to me, outside of the quality of speakers and conversation, was the movement to get back to marketing simplicity.

For years, marketers, myself included, have tried to cut through the clutter, oftentimes with loud creative or annoying pre-roll ads. These practices make it hard for consumers to digest the content they are looking for. Now more than ever, attention spans are short. Several presenters challenged the audience to think of ways to deliver a message that is simple to digest and in an organic way.

Brent Niemuth finished his presentation with five basic human truths to back up this claim. Follow these, and both your digital marketing and marketing in general will be more effective.

5 Basic Human Truths

  1. The brain craves ease and order.
  2. Humans have a limited attention span.
  3. Humans are visual.
  4. Humans respond to emotion.
  5. Humans are attracted to beauty.


Samantha Drake, Marketing Strategist

My takeaway: Content I mean, customer experience is king.

As marketers, it’s easy to jump to conclusions that we are familiar with. My takeaway from Digital Summit was that we need to really lean in to the customer experience, allowing ourselves as marketers to get a better understanding of the problems our customers face. We’ll then be able to use that more thorough understanding to craft solution-oriented creative strategies that address the problem. When you reverse engineer problems based on the experience of your customer, you also challenge your team to design a better user experience for them. Keep the customer at the center of all your thinking, and you’ll keep their experience both easy and valuable.


Cori Schmid, Marketing Strategist

Companies shouldn’t wait until they’re becoming obsolete to get their houses in order. Domino’s Pizza served as a good example for digital marketing, advertising and digital transformation in multiple presentations. The thing was, Domino’s didn’t become innovative until they had no other choice. The time to get systems talking to each other, to develop good products and to market through digital channels isn’t when you’re out of options—it’s today. To stay relevant, companies need to adapt to the marketplace and how it works now instead of being reactive. By anticipating the future, businesses are less often backed into a corner and more often leading the way as innovators.


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