Top 5 Takeaways from the 2016 Denver Digital Summit

Denver Digital Summit Speakers Photo Credit: Digital Summit


We love solving marketing problems. We start with strategy, but executing an effective strategy requires a deep knowledge of channels and tactics. Today’s marketing ecosystem is enormously complex, and at Parallel Path we focus on being ahead of the latest news and industry trends.

In June, we sent four Solutionists to the 3rd Annual Denver Digital Summit, a forum on digital strategy organized by and for digital marketers. Having spoken at the Denver Digital Summit in the past we’ve seen first hand the enthusiastic community of marketers in Colorado. Events like this are deeply valuable because of the thought leadership and talent that they attract right in our own backyard.

If you didn’t make the conference, here’s our take.

1. Market your brand for the year you are in


This concept comes from Gary Vaynerchuk, digital marketing leader and keynote speaker, and calls for close supervision of the advertising and global marketplace. He describes “day-trading attention” – continually refocusing campaigns to align with the consumers attention. Understand where your consumers attention or time is and, combined with the ability to compete in that space, there is profit to be had. His current focus is set on mobile, the increasingly blurry world of social (especially Snapchat), and video. The modern consumer is fickle, and your brand strategy should have dynamic strategies to keep up. Marketing trends like mobile-first and video are based on the attention of the general consumer, but make sure to do detailed analysis of YOUR consumer before you start allocating your budget.


2. Consumers are forcing brands towards quality content


Content, Content, Content. It is the most well-liked form of advertising, and its likeability influences consumer engagement.

Effective Content Guidelines:

You have to tell people what your content is about to be about.  

To gain several minutes of a user’s attention, you must clearly communicate your value proposition in less than 10 seconds. Likewise, a lasting first impression is formed in milliseconds. Your content could be amazing, but if you can’t sell it with with an effective web page, title, or thumbnail then it won’t be seen and the consumer will leave unfulfilled.

Match content to your brand.

Don’t force humor or adventure if it’s not synonymous with your brand story.

Branded content does NOT mean that users will avoid it.

This is a perception that is rapidly changing as the consumer gains trust with brands, and sees the usefulness and relevance of their branded content.

Give as much as you take.

To earn a share or an email subscribe you should have provided utility to your customer, whether in the form of entertainment or information.

To Guide Your Content Development Strategy:


The eight types of content motivation: Why does a user seek content?

Match your content to the user’s need, which will align with one of the following eight consumer motivations. (Thanks to Samuel Kim for his talk on content.)

1) Be inspired
2) Be in the know
3) Find
4) Comfort
5) Connect
6) Feel good
7) Entertain
8) Update Socially

“But how do I serve the right content to the right user in the right mindset at the right time in the right place?!”

That, our friends, is the importance of the next takeaway…

3. Context


One of the most noted themes of the Denver Digital Summit was timing and intent in the overall context of the consumer’s journey. This kind of in-depth knowledge of the purchase path is just as important as understanding the attributes of the user. Adding the context of the target audience’s needs to messaging can have a great effect on increasing conversions. At the specific moment in the customer journey that the target audience engages with a specific piece of messaging/content, the marketer should ideally have addressed what the target audience is doing, thinking and feeling.

Ask yourself, as a marketer,  “what will my user be doing,” “what will they be thinking,” “what will they be feeling” at that very moment of interaction with your content/message?  This should help direct the development of the content/messaging.

Consider the “micro-moment” and what messaging and user experience there should be to appeal to the consumer. Compassion and empathy for the consumer’s journey will allow for the marketer to go beyond demographics and personas to get closer and closer to being an authentic solution to an individual’s needs. 

4. Friction


(Thanks to Michael Barber (@michaeljbarber) for a great talk on brand/consumer friction. )

If you lessen friction with your consumers, your brand health will reflect it. The marketer must examine every interaction that the consumer will make with the brand along the purchase journey and eliminate any sources of frustration. This concept can be achieved through usability analysis, both on the website and with the overall purchasing flow. Where do consumers leave? Where is it not clear where to proceed? Friction can arise from customer support issues, ambiguity, and inconsistency. The key to having a frictionless journey is to have empathy for the consumer, treat them as human, and make it too easy to do business with you.

5. Snapchat


Snapchat is not a concept or a strategy, but a social media platform so relevant for its users and misunderstood by marketers that three entire talks at the Denver Digital Summit were dedicated to how to use it effectively. With 100 million daily users and 10 billion video views per day, Snapchat is huge. It’s not just for kids, and it has demonstrated massive growth, especially in its advertising platform.

4 Key Snapchat Insights:

1) Keep an eye on “The Grandma Effect”: Another concept from @GaryVee, The Grandma Effect describes the influx of users from older generations who flock to a social media platform in order to stay connected with the younger generations and view the content that they share and then they themselves become active users. It happened with Facebook, and it’s about to happen with Snapchat.

2) Understand your Campaign Goals: Define your campaign goals, and consistently generate creative content to maintain a strong presence on Snapchat. Snapchat is not a one and done tactic. If your goal is brand awareness, Snapchat geofilters are a strong tool solution. Branded stories are effective for maintaining brand engagement and perception.

3) Track your Snapchat Campaigns: Gain ability to track conversions by using “tracking URLs” or a Snapchat exclusive promo code.

4) Experiment!: Snapchat is young and changing rapidly. Become a user to understand the platform. Snapchat has plenty of free or inexpensive tactics available to brands, with new ad capabilities constantly in development.

We would  love to hear about your biggest take-aways from the Denver Digital Summit or your current marketing challenges! Reach out at

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