Throughout Share16 speakers provided us with valuable insight throughout the conference. Here is a recap of some intriguing topics covered during sessions and panel sessions.
During Share16, in addition to the excellent breakout sessions and networking events, we also had several expert panels where attendees have the opportunity to ask questions of a few of the industry leaders who attend.
Key skills to thrive in the industry
The Share speakers and panelists represented some of the best in the field, so all of the attendees were interested in gaining some professional advice from them. Many questions were asked around what skills they thought really helped their success in the industry.
Several of the speakers and panelists addressed the ‘people’ aspect. Succeeding in any industry requires understanding how to work with people. This includes understanding how to approach problems, build arguments, and leverage data to drive people and help them understand your point of view. Critical skills, such as effectively managing meetings so that each session is productive and actionable, also impact leadership ability. Being able to effectively articulate a problem can mean the difference between getting the funding you need and being overlooked completely.
To really thrive in your professional interpersonal relations, emotional intelligence and empathy are golden. This applies both to effectively understanding those you work with and understanding the pain points and needs of everyone from stakeholders to customers.
Similarly, professionals should understand how to control their stress. SEO and digital marketing are never static industries. Those in the field must be ready to continually adapt and adjust to both new consumer demands and patterns as well as changes to the algorithm. This can be stressful. Those who want to succeed need to be able to manage the stress that comes with the territory in a healthy way so that they do not lose sight of their goals.
From a personal standpoint, having ‘sandbox projects’ can also be an effective way to demonstrate ability and continue learning. Those who want to succeed in SEO and digital marketing should have their own sites or related projects that they regularly play around with to learn more about driving traffic and finding success.
Finally, having a clear vision about where you want to go and how to get there is important in driving yourself forward. Understanding where you want to go will have a tremendous impact on what you achieve.
Kelly Rivard, SEO strategist at HallMark shared some great tips on her personal journey and how Hallmark has reinvented themselves by investing in people they can trust and breaking down internal barriers to communication.
Other Share16 speakers and panelists – such as Alex Volk of Microsoft, Dave Lloyd from Adobe, Dixon Jones of Majestic, Mel Carson of Majestic, Adam Audette of Merkle, and Adam Singer of Google Analytics – identified visual content as a key frontier and viewed as an important piece of this puzzle. Younger people today live on various visual-dominated social platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. The experts believe that this will pave the way for a visual digital future.
Brands will also need to be better storytellers. They will need to understand how to engage with the audience. In particular, marketers will need to reach their audience on an emotional level. Future technologies, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, will be an important aspect in better engaging with target audiences and creating that one-to-one experience.
People-based marketing, where brands are able to create the ideal experience for a particular individual based on their needs in that moment, is also becoming increasingly tangible. Artificial intelligence and machine learning also will play a large role in this development. With these changes the role of the SEO will also evolve. People will stop thinking about algorithms and search engines and pay more attention to who the audience is, where they are, and how to communicate the right message to them.
Many of the experts at Share also foresee a shift away from standard, traditional SEO towards a more entity-based form of optimization. The way data is structured will need to change to better reflect ideas rather than web pages to better address the needs of the end-user.
Preparing for Share for our Share panelists
The Share conference strives each year to be an informative conference where attendees and speakers alike find a platform to share ideas and walk away with actionable insights. It was very interesting to hear speakers asked to describe how they prepare for Share and how this conference differentiates itself from other marketing events.
The experts said that they like to look at what has been happening in their own organizations so that they can create presentations that deliver actionable insights. Since the people at Share either use or are considering the BrightEdge platform, knowing that they have this common ground to grow from allows them to dig into the strategy and platform usage on a deeper level, creating a unique experience.
The attendees at Share also hold a particular degree of SEO expertise and understanding, which allows the presenters to discuss the finer points of SEO, creating more interesting presentations. The people who attend do may fit under broad definitions of digital marketers, but also have deep expertise in the world of SEO, which helps to guide conversations.
Speakers and panelists also mentioned the unique track based around self-development and hope that it would catch on at other conferences.
Gaps in the SEO world
Gaps in talent for digital marketers have always been a pressing concern for many in the industry. In one session, an audience member asked the speakers where they saw the largest holes in talent within the digital marketing space, and the answers largely revolved around big data.
Data scientists, people who can really analyze the numbers in front of them and walk away with actionable insights, remain very valuable. There exists incredible demand for qualified analysts and data scientists. The deficiency is so great that some brands are even looking outside the marketing sector to find professionals who are good at analyzing and can provide organizations with the insights needed.
Along similar lines, the future of data analysis will be data integration. Brands will need to be able to understand the threads that run through the data they pull in and how data from different departments might benefit others, such as how PPC data might help those working with SEO. Professionals that understand how to fill this gap will be excellent assets.
From a personal development perspective Amy Shipman from HP shared some great insights into problem solving in a digital world.
The Share16 speakers all offered some awesome information for our audience and we cannot thank them enough. The Share panelists who participated in further audience discussions offered some great insights for the future.
Thanks to all who participated!