Three things I learned from the 2013 Dallas Digital Summit

Posted by on December 13, 2013

If you attended the Dallas Digital Summit this week at the Irving Convention Center, you experienced some serious hustle and bustle. Hordes of marketers shared their excitement over what’s happening on the digital front – from trends to new technology. And while there were many great insights, I thought the following three points were worth summarizing.

Steve Wozinak

Apple’s Steve Wozinak presentation at DDS 2013

  1. Brands are content curators. As explained by David Shing from AOL, brands are no longer just pushing out messages. Instead, they’ve evolved into their own media outlets, creating and distributing content strategically, in the right places, at the right time and with the right audiences. Expect to see branded newsrooms emerge and grow as more companies embrace this approach. As marketers, it’s our job to not only develop great content, but the strategy that goes along with it.
  2. It’s hard to buy engaged customers. Buying fans is easy, and as marketers we’ve all probably bought fans and followers online. But, are they always engaged? It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers of followers, but engaged followers are worth much more. Use analytics to determine which customers engage and focus your acquisition efforts on smaller, more targeted groups. Flat or shrinking marketing budgets happen. Next time you’re faced with a budget challenge, reallocate those dollars to focus on engaged customers who will serve as brand advocates.
  3. Set aside time and resources for experimenting. Randi Zuckerberg (yes, Mark’s sister) had stories of the “think-tank mentality” and college style all-nighter sessions that happened in the early days of Facebook. Everyone set aside their regular work, and focused on coming up with big ideas. Other speakers recommended reserving 10 to 20 percent of marketing dollars for pure experimentation without expectations for financial return. Lesson: there’s not always a magic formula – thinking big and experimenting might yield a campaign that knocks it out of the park and goes viral.

As my colleague Buck Choate tweeted at the end of the conference, the excitement at Digital Dallas Summit sets the stage for even more great insights at Austin’s SXSW in just a few short months.

What do YOU see in digital’s future?


  1. Brands servicing as news sources is already here. Everyday I read info I find from links within Twitter, Facebook and especially LinkedIn. One of the speakers at the Digital Summit had figures that show more budget money is getting spent on content creation than on SEO. Not all the information is great and certainly not all is engaging. But not all TV or traditional media is great or engaging either!

    1. McKee – Great points. Content is definitely emerging as a leading category, brands are going to have to work hard to develop and leverage content in all channels.

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