Inspiration from Connections 2012

I had the privilege of attending THE largest interactive marketing conference in the world. Along with over 4,000 attendees, including my colleague Patrick, I enjoyed 3 days packed full of inspiration at ExactTarget’s 6th annual conference, Connections 2012. Although I overheard some jokingly say “What happens in Indy, stays in Indy”, I hope I will be forgiven for sharing the following key takeaways.
1. Branding is more than a logo.  From the moment I arrived, I felt like I was in branding heaven. There were plenty of logos on everything from umbrellas and coffee cups to Oreos and ice cubes, but the feeling I had was the product of ExactTarget’s culture. They refer to it as ORANGE, which they describe as capturing the essence of innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. It was oozing out of every event detail and employee. I’m not sure if I can accurately describe how it felt to be surrounded by ORANGE, but I hear that a picture is worth a thousand words:

2. The next generation of marketing is here.  According to Scott Dorsey, ExactTarget’s co-founder and CEO, “The next generation of marketing is here, and it is called inspired marketing. It is the reality that every interaction with a brand must inspire future interactions to build loyalty and drive repeat sales.” This set the stage for the conference’s theme “inspire the future” and ExactTarget’s new line-up of digital marketing products including:

  • MobilePush – Provides the first enterprise application to integrate push notifications into cross-channel digital marketing with advanced reporting, analytics and cross-channel integration.
  • Cross-Channel Playbooks – Provides a step-by-step guide within the Interactive Marketing Hub to develop campaigns across email, mobile, social and the Web to solve common use cases.
  • Distributed Sending – Enables enterprises and distributed organizations to empower business units, franchisees and stores with an intuitive application to create, send and track local email campaigns; features enterprise content management, approvals, and permissions.
  • Advanced Web Solutions – Enables marketers to leverage customer preferences, browsing behavior and engagement to power personalized Web content and product recommendations powered by newly acquired iGoDigital.
  • Business-to-Business Automation – Expands capabilities to create, deploy and manage online lead nurturing marketing campaigns through integrations with, NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and SugarCRM powered by newly acquired Pardot.
  • Fuel Platform – Enables developers and technology providers to build upon, extend and integrate with ExactTarget’s Interactive Marketing Hub and its suite of messaging and automation applications. 

If you could use a little inspiration, here’s the conference’s opening video.

3. Don’t play the result. It was an absolute pleasure to hear Michael J. Fox speak. I had been looking forward to his keynote from the time I found out he was speaking, but didn’t really know what to expect. I was both delighted by his humor, and left in complete awe of his raw determination, commitment and optimism to help find a cure for Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1998.

Fox shared a rule with us that is important in acting, but has also taken on a deeper meaning in his life, “Don’t play the result”. Basically, it means that if you are playing a character who’s purpose is to end up in a certain place, you don’t play that until you actually get there. Instead, the actor should play each scene as it comes. Fox recommended that we “Do this in life and in business.”

 Where do you look for inspiration?

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