5 Inspiring Quotes From #MarketingUnited

I spent a few days hanging out at the Litmus booth at Emma's #MarketingUnited, a marketing conference focused on bringing together "the smartest minds in the industry for three days of inspiring stories, creative ideas, and 'why didn't I think of that' tips to help us all do our best marketing." 

Between meeting customers, getting to know the Emma team, being inspired by amazing talks, and enjoying my first taste of true Tennessee barbecue, I've learned a ton. Without further ado, here are my top 5 most inspiring moments from #MarketingUnited:

Smart companies don’t follow shifts in culture. They lead them.
— Ann Handley, MarketingProfs

I saw Ann speak at Hubspot's Inbound conference and loved it. This talk did not disappoint! The biggest missed opportunity in marketing is playing it safe, Ann emphasized. Building better content requires marketers to be bigger, braver, and bolder. This doesn't always mean bigger or braver or bolder budgets; rather, it's important to build in guts and heart behind the content to make an emotional connection with your audience. In an oversaturated and noisy marketing world, telling a story and creating a community with your content helps you be heard. 

Build and weave a story throughout your community, whether you’re telling it or not.
— Andrew Caravella, SproutSocial

The best brands on social use it as a communication tool, not a strategy. "Twitter" is not a strategy--but how you interact on Twitter can be, done right. Andrew underlined the importance of authenticity, of engaging your audience, and above all, of putting your customer first. Social is often the first touch point or interaction we have with a brand; realizing that it's a venue best for 2-way dialogue, not just "ME ME ME" marketing, makes a huge impact. What others say about you has exponentially more impact on your brand than the promotions you run.

When you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing.
— Justine Jordan, Litmus

(Full disclosure: I work for Justine. But I was floored by her talk.) Justine made it clear that everyone can design, and everyone is creative. Design is not an art, but a plan, strategy, and process. Email is a personal medium. So send personal emails! Designing for humans (known as human-centered design) adds empathy and builds a much better brand experience. Justine recently did a great podcast on design thinking that's worth a listen if you're intrigued.

Your haters aren’t your problem...ignoring them is.
— Jay Baer, Convince and Convert

We all have "haters," complaining, annoying, rude, or trolling customers. But your haters are your most important customers because they are taking the time out of their day to make you better. As much as we dread them, when we fail to respond, we actually make things worse! It decreases customer advocacy every time and in every channel. Rather than constantly refilling a leaky bucket of customers, what happens when we treat our haters as our most important, rather than least? We become a better business, AND we make more money. Hugging your haters is the most important step we can take.

Every interaction is a pivot point.
— Scott Stratten, UnMarketing

Scott emphasized how marketing has spread to every aspect of the business. Every interaction, no matter how small, impacts how prospects and customers see your brand. As we know, "great power comes great responsibility," and marketing is no exception. Branding exists in real time, regardless of our budgets, our strategies, and our plans. People operate on emotion, because we're people. Internal processes and procedures and policies all kill emotion and can stop customers from having a positive interaction with us--and therefore, a negative pivot. 


Nashville, I'm not done with you.  Lots more to see, do, and eat (like my first ever BBQ meal on the right). Can't wait to head back to Marketing United next year!

Looking for more inspiration? Check out my past conference recaps.