Last week I had the opportunity to attend ADWKDC 2015. For those not familiar with the event, it’s a two-day industry conference hosted by the DC Ad Club where the District’s top advertising, marketing, PR, and media folks gather to learn about the latest trends, talk about challenges, and network with one another.
During keynotes, panels, and sessions, I heard all about the latest industry topics: data, mobile, programmatic buying, content, analytics, creative storytelling, insights, and more. But there was one thing—a theme—that particularly resonated with me and, I believe, with others who talked about it a lot during the conference.
That one thing is Balance.
I heard quite a bit from both speakers and attendees about navigating the high-wire act of agency life in this modern, mobile era. And so many people echoed the same point: Striking the right balance is crucial to success, no matter what the topic.
Here are four examples of takeaways around that theme:
Focus on Making Real Connections: Winning over consumers used to be as simple as having the loudest and coolest creative message. But in today’s market, brands who shout at consumers are mainly spending their own time and money irritating their intended audience. With digital putting consumers in the driver’s seat, brands need to connect with consumers on a deeper, more emotional level to make a real impact. Not to mention, when you only have seconds to make that deep connection, the balance of leveraging insights to tell great creative stories becomes essential. Truly great stories will blend the right amount of amazing creative and insights to quickly captivate your audience.
Optimize Smartly: With data, there’s a different type of balance—one between instant gratification and giving tactics enough time to simmer so that their validity (or lack thereof) becomes apparent. While digital gives us an instantaneous readout on any tactic at any time of the day sliced a million ways, we have to be careful to not react too quickly. Too often, there’s a tendency to turn something off before it’s had the opportunity to reach it’s potential, particularly with things like SEO that take considerable time to build.
Quiet the Noise: Content is king these days. When leveraged artfully, it can make a huge impact for brands, clients, and agencies. However, it’s important to find the balance between just pushing content out so you can say “Yeah, we’ve got content!” and strategically aligning your content so that it’s relevant to a brand and targeted to a specific audience.
Blend Creativity with ROI: In today’s world, many ad agencies are under constant pressure to prove ROI for clients, often while working with less budget. So striking a balance between creative work and ROI is critical. Creativity just for creativity’s sake is no longer the best choice. Neither is leveraging tactics that are only data-centric and don’t allow for great work. Success means finding a way to deliver on the right metrics and evaluating impact based on the right data.
The list could go on and on and on! The balancing act that we take on every day has its challenges, though I’ve come to find solace in the fact that the push/pull of all of these forces is always in flux, can always be adjusted, and there’s no one right or wrong way to find what works for you.