I had the opportunity to cover NEDMA’s 2017 annual conference with Overdrive this year, and was blown away by the presentations, exhibits, and general milieu. Hosted by NEDMA at Bentley University in Waltham, MA, the day was full of interesting factoids, mind-blowing marketing revelations, and delicious brownie platters.
The conference opened with Nancy Harhut’s keynote address “Bordeaux, Bragging Rights, and Bayer – Or Why Neuromarketing is the Next New Thing.” Harhut was quick to point out that we don’t really make decisions when it comes to marketing and advertising – we have what are called “decision defaults,” basically hardwired behaviors that produce a knee-jerk reaction to the ads we see. As such, stated Harhut, marketers can learn a lot from the developing field of neuromarketing, which utilizes scientific studies to better understand how the brain responds to marketing campaigns and strategies.
I learned a lot from Harhut’s keynote, from small facts such as you can get a 31-34% email open rate boost if you use an emoji in the subject line, to larger ideas like using storytelling as a way to reach your target audience, especially stories that touch on our anxiety, awe, wonder, and fear. In fact, when we are surprised, our brains release dopamine – the chemical associated with pleasure. Who knew?
After Harhut spoke, I booked my way to Harry Gold’s session. Harry Gold is the Founder and CEO of Overdrive Interactive and his speech was titled “17 Ways to Integrate Social and SEO.” True to the title, Harry presented a streamlined approach to unify one’s social and SEO practices, including infusing one’s social content with SEO terms so it pops in the searches and conversations that matter most, how social content powers the branded search experience, and how social and search combined drive the quality of inbound traffic, leads, and revenue. Harry also presented his Social Media Map – which is a super social success story for Overdrive, as the map went viral and is pasted all over the web.
After seeing Harry speak, I took some time to schmooze with the exhibitors. With a neat 16 exhibitors, including Action Mailers, Inc., Boingnet, DMM, and, yes, Overdrive Interactive, there was plenty to learn about how local organizations are innovating in the marketing sphere.
The second keynote speaker, Coakley Workman, was incredibly informative and entertaining. His luncheon keynote address “What Is New at the Postal Service and How Promotions Will Work in 2017 and Beyond” focused on mail – how we respond to it, the purpose it serves in our daily lives, and new technologies that are allowing mail to reach more people in innovative ways.
The biggest takeaway I had from Workman’s address was that mail is really launching us into the future – there are so many new technologies that physical mail is taking advantage of, including QR codes and augmented reality (AR). There’s a lot for marketers to take advantage of with mailing campaigns, especially those that integrate with their digital campaigns. Plus, as Workman was quick to point out, millennials actually love their mail more than any other generation…ever.
After lunch (and delicious brownies), I attended some more interesting sessions, including a panel discussion on social media marketing, and a presentation on video marketing – which pointed out that by 2019 80% of all internet traffic will be video-based.
The day concluded with a cocktail networking session – another opportunity to schmooze and connect with speakers, exhibitors, and friends.
Overall, the day was the perfect beginning to my week. I feel energized, informed, and excited about marketing, especially my daytime job of social media marketing. A big thank you to NEDMA for hosting such an amazing event and Overdrive Interactive for powering me to get to the conference. Who’s ready to take on the marketing world with me?