The Goods on Digital Summit Phoenix 2015

The Goods on Digital Summit Phoenix 2015

More than 800 attendees to last week’s Digital Summit PHX event got up-to-the-minute insights on how to improve SEO practices, deliver better content marketing and social media messages to online audiences, and bolster overall digital marketing practices. The Digital Summit was packed with fast-paced sessions with industry speakers sharing as much practical info as possible into their allotted 30-min. sessions.

Vertical Measures was both a sponsor and attendee, with many of us from the office taking a very productive field trip to both the pre-con and full conference day. Vertical Measures’ CEO Arnie Kuenn did a triple-header with two presentations and one content marketing workshop, and our Marketing Manager, Quinn Whissen got to step in and bring a little Phoenix flair to the events. Here are the biggest takeaways from our Digital Summit experience.

The Internet of Things


Kate Watts, Managing Director of DC trends agency Huge, offered insights into how the ‘Internet of Things’ is bringing Internet technology increasingly away from handheld devices and into everyday items like cars, household appliances and clothing wearables.

In fact, in the fast evolving area of auto technology, by 2019 your car will use 1GB of data for just one trip, according to Kate’s presentation. Technology chips implanted into our hands are already being tested in some countries and may be commonplace within 20 years.

Is Email Still Relevant?

Digital marketing veteran Michael Barber offered up some reasons why email is still super important, but perhaps not as effective as it used to be. In fact, on average 80% of emails are ignored by your intended audience. Why? As marketers we’ve often failed to evolve our email marketing techniques as other channels took center stage, like social and search. Among the reasons why email’s relevance has waned is captured in part in this image below:


Email’s dominance in interactive media is slowly being:

  • killed by spam
  • replaced by social media
  • made irrelevant for younger audiences
  • turned ineffective for retailers
  • becoming not ideal for team communication

But hope is not lost. In fact, when done correctly, email can be a fantastic way to engage with your core audience, send traffic back to your site, and drive conversions.

So how do you keep your email marketing campaigns in top performance shape? Remember the three P’s: Personal, Portable, and Prescriptive. Here they are, courtesy of Michael Barber:

Portable: Email must go where the user goes. It must be mobile first — not just a responsive design.
Personal: Use your data to target and customize as much of the email experience as you can.
Prescriptive: Ask your audience what type of email content and what kind of conversation they want to have with you. Then deliver on that promise.

Biggest Optimization Fails

Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures, described tactical steps that webmasters and SEO gurus could take on their websites to avoid common SEO problems like:

  • unintentional duplicate content
  • bad backlinks
  • bad and/or duplicate title tags
  • bad and/or duplicate title descriptions
  • poorly optimized images and videos
  • poor page-load times


This practical advice was roundly mentioned later by attendees as very doable action items when back at their offices.

VM Marketing Manager Quinn Whissen, also took the stage to present her talk about “hacking humans” as part of a new paradigm of marketing. She presented how organizations need to understand what humans want and are looking for online with a bit of marketing history thrown in. She also provided real-world examples of her community organization. This Could Be PHX that is using content marketing principles to enact social change within a community.

Our Main Takeaways

Here are some of the key takeaways from the event as noted by the Vertical Measures team.

It’s important to integrate your content strategy along with your technical strategy. In other words, make sure that your company’s (or client’s) tech team is on board with the work you need to create. This message came through especially during the presentation by Leigh Heyman, Director of New Media Technologies for the U.S. White House.


Heyman’s team was tasked with getting a full State of the Union website ready with only 10 days’ notice. Because of the urgency, a war room atmosphere prevailed between the digital team and the technical team to make sure that specific landing pages, quizzes and other site elements were up and running to coincide with the release of President Obama’s State of the Union address. The presentation provided an insider’s look to White House digital delivery practices. Fascinating!

Be creative with your content. The conversion rate for respondents to quizzes placed on web sites and social feeds is soaring. The company Qzzr presented statistics that showed high rates of conversions and leads from its product offering.

Techcrunch wrote: “According to Qzzr, customers have averaged a conversion rate of 14.7 percent for sales leads and 23.2 percent for special offers. The company also claims a 330 percent month-over-month growth rate. This may be a testament to the power of silly online quizzes.”

If you’re reaching an engaged audience, and have the creative chutzpah to use quizzes on your site and social feeds, your metrics could roar with this excellent option.

Develop editorial calendars from problem-solving exercises. Cox Communications’ Martin Jones shared pertinent advice for content marketers. Figure out which problem you want to solve for the company or client during the quarter, then deliver one overarching, awesome piece of content as the lead content piece. From that defining content piece that solves the problem, drive the rest of the editorial calendar into useable pieces of content derived from that lead piece. See how Martin laid that scenario out here:.


Using these excellent examples of smarts and know-how, your content marketing, SEO and email marketing practices can become better within weeks.

Overall, we had a great time at Digital Summit PHX – both as attendees, speakers and sponsors. We’re excited to take part in more of these around the country this year, while looking forward to a bigger and better Phoenix event in 2016!

Dave Murrow

Dave Murrow is a content marketing strategist at Vertical Measures. He's involved in content marketing strategy and online marketing execution for clients. Vertical Measures provides search, social and content marketing services, designed to help businesses improve their online presence and obtain more traffic and conversions. +Dave Murrow