Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half. – John Wanamaker (1838 – 1922). This statement, at the time it was first made back in the late 1800’s, echoed the sentiments of merchants and advertisers all around. Back then, advertising was less sophisticated – television ads, billboards and methods we consider “traditional” today. It’s next to impossible to measure the effectiveness of these methods. So many years have passed, and so many developments have been made in the world of marketing. Yet, in a world of digital marketing, where we have…
Great conferences are all about learning new skills and making new connections. That’s why we’ve set up a couple of new adventures for SmashingConf 2018 — just practical sessions, new formats, new lightning talks, evening sessions and genuine, interesting conversations — with a dash of friendly networking! Taking place in London, San Francisco, Toronto. Tickets? Glad you asked!
SmashingConf London / #perfmatters / Feb 7–8 Performance matters. Next year, we’re thrilled to venture to London for our brand new conference fully dedicated to everything front-end performance.
Not too long ago, front-end performance was a mere afterthought. Something that was postponed to the end of a project and that didn’t go much beyond minification, asset optimization, and maybe a few adjustments on the server’s config file. But things have changed. We have become more conscious of the impact performance has on the user experience, and the tools and techniques that help us cater for snappy experiences have improved and are widely supported now as well.
For many people, a map of a transportation network is a given, an expected part of the system, something that just is — like a fire-escape plan in a building. So, when I say that I design transportation maps, they don’t understand. What is there to design even?
Well, let’s take the London underground map as an example. Designed by Harry Beck, it was the world’s first transportation map to use the principles of electrical circuit drawings.
Have you ever wanted to make a website that non-technical folks can edit right in the browser? Or have you ever wanted to make a website that presents an editable collection of items (e.g. your portfolio)? Or simply upload images to a website you made, right from the browser?
Well, what if I told you, that you can do these things (and more!), just with HTML and CSS? No programming code to write, no servers to manage. You can make any element editable and saveable just by adding one HTML attribute to it. In fact, you can store your data locally in the browser, on Github, on Dropbox, or any other service just by changing an HTML attribute.
AdWords can be an incredibly powerful platform for growing your business, but the truth is that most businesses are wasting thousands of dollars every month due to poor account management. If you feel like you could be generating more revenue from AdWords, chances are that you’re making some of these ten common mistakes that are inhibiting your performance. In this post I will be showing you ten common AdWords mistakes that I’ve seen literally hundreds of advertisers make. And, more importantly, I’m going to show you exactly how to fix them, so you can take next steps towards creating an…
Does the word conference bring up memories of suited professionals droning on about… well, you can’t quite remember what? Awkward socializing, shameless sales pitching, lined paper and branded pens — some conferences can be very beige indeed.
But not all conferences are made equal. In fact, some can lead you to completely change your marketing game for the better by giving you the opportunity to learn firsthand the tricks of the trade from the smartest minds in digital marketing — from SEO royalty Rand Fishkin to Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner.
We worked our way through the colossal number of upcoming digital marketing conferences to uncover the gems and roundup what we think are the 17 best digital marketing conferences in 2017.
Warning: what you see and learn at these events may totally transform the way you do your digital marketing.
1. SearchLove: February 23-24 (San Diego) | June 5-6 (Boston) | October 16-17 (London)
SearchLove is the creation of online marketing agency Distilled. As the name implies, this conference is all about search marketing; topics covered span from SEO to PPC and content creation. Over two days, learn actionable tactics to get your website ranking higher. Sessions run one after the other, so you won’t have to miss out on anything.
This one made its way onto our list, as the content is worth more than gold to any marketer who wants to step up their data game. The organizers, Domo, are business intelligence wizards and creators of a data-driven business management platform.
If you fancy going deep into business analytics and learning how to get data insights to inform your marketing activities and your business as a whole, check Domopalooza out. Plus, with performances from Flo Rida, T.I. and Nelly last year, the entertainment bar is set dang high for 2017.
CXL Live promises to help marketers achieve their ultimate goals: drive more conversions, grow their businesses faster and make more dough. How? Attendees get the opportunity not only to watch “hardcore practitioners” wax lyrical about conversion marketing, they can also chat to the pros in person.
The event lasts three whole days — plenty of time to get as much advice as you need from your favorite conversion marketing experts and start racking up leads like a true conversion pro.
4. Hero Conf: April 18-20 (Los Angeles) | October 23-25 (London)
Not to be confused with a gathering for superheroes of the comic book kind, Hero Conf is “the world’s largest all-PPC event”.
If you’re a pay-per-click fanatic, this one’s for you. Make connections with the best in the PPC business and learn how to optimize your PPC campaigns; for example, which strategies and trends can help you drive more conversions. Besides, when else could you chat about your favorite subject over some nosh with PPC industry experts?
Marketing United is a digital marketing showdown hosted by email marketing connoisseurs Emma. This will be Emma’s third event and, like its previous events, it promises to be full of “ah-hah” moments spanning all areas of digital marketing such as marketing psychology, customer experience and brand building.
Attendees can expect to marvel at inspiring presentations from a killer lineup including speakers from Netflix and Pixar. They will also get the chance to discover the vibrant and unique city of Nashville, renowned for live country music and an iconic food scene (bring on the fried chicken!).
Marketo’s four-day event will equip you with the knowledge you need to improve the way you interact with customers and help you get better results from your marketing efforts. You can also improve your knowledge of Marketo and get Marketo certified by attending University Day, where you’ll learn about the market-leading marketing automation tool through a series of workshops and presentations.
Some big names will be there (previous years’ speakers included Arianna Huffington and Will Smith), as will 6k+ marketers, so you won’t want to miss out!
Much like its host city, C2 Montreal is a fusion of creativity and commerce. This three-day international business conference, dubbed the most innovative of its kind, focuses on exploring the impact of current digital trends on business. It will get you thinking outside of the box to reignite your creativity and change the way you do business for the better.
Expect to be challenged and connect with your peers in innovative ways. Expect to come away with a new way of thinking and plenty of inspiration. Expect to discover how marketers will adapt as digital evolves.
This Boston-based event, run by Wistia, is a coming together of the great minds in video marketing. Why should you care? Video marketing is recognized to be one of the most effective marketing tools out there, and WistiaFest will teach you all you need to know about this medium including future trends and, most importantly, how to create ludicrously effective videos for your business. And going by what last year’s attendees tweeted, you’re in for a visual spectacle and an all-round cracking time.
Familiar with the Unbounce blog? Then you’ll know that Unbounce is all about giving marketers actionable advice across the hottest topics in marketing and — just as importantly — providing a truly delightful experience.
CTAConf is like the Unbounce blog on steroids, featuring some of the best people in the business to give 100% fluff-free, practical tips that attendees can bring into play the next day. And you can be assured there will be a LOT of laughs throughout the day. Prepare to walk away from the day with a shedload of invaluable notes and some hilarious anecdotes.
MozCon is hosted by search engine marketing powerhouse Moz. (If you’re a marketer who doesn’t know Moz, it’s time to crawl out from that rock you’ve been hiding under.)
Get on top of your search marketing game and learn what’s hot in the world of SEO, social media and community building, straight from the mouths of industry leaders. This is a three-day conference that promises tons of actionable takeaways and socializing opportunities including MozCon’s very own pub crawl, #Mozcrawl. Hop on for some free drinks and great banter.
If you have too many internal links on a page, you dilute your authority. Cleaning it up improves authority and UX @sonofadiplomat#MozCon
Content writers far and wide, this is your cue get excited. The biggest gathering of content marketing front runners, CMWorld will give you an overview of upcoming content marketing trends and plenty of ideas for rolling out an effective content strategy. Over the two days, you’ll have a ton of opportunities to network with the industry leaders and your fellow content peers.
Taking place in the historical German city of Cologne, Dmexco Conference is a two-day event defined as the “global meeting point for the digital economy”. A truly global conference, Dmexco is an outstanding opportunity to meet some digital economy big dogs from some leading global companies (think Bloomberg and Google). Keynotes, seminars and work labs that cover diverse themes in digital are offered in English or German.
Fantastic first day at #dmexco meeting old colleagues, friends, clients, partners and great businesses. With seminars, networking and food!
Inbound is a mammoth-sized four-day event with over 19,000 attendees and a star-studded list of speakers (last year’s line-up included Anna Kendrick, Alec Baldwin and Serena Williams). It’s an opportunity for sales and marketing pros to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry and get tips and inspo on taking a business to the next level.
Four days jam-packed with talks, keynotes, workshops, some serious networking and partying. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever.
MarketingProf’s B2B Forum promises to give you the knowledge you need to build a sustainable marketing strategy. Headed up by Ann Handley, it’s also a unique opportunity to network with B2B businesses from across the globe and learn from their successes.
This event is pretty unique as it offers full-day workshops on one of four marketing topics (to be confirmed). So if you want to learn a lot and fast, come along for a marketing crash course.
#MPB2B is like Coachella for marketing geeks. No matter what stage you go to there’s a great act happening.
RD Summit in Brazil is the biggest marketing and sales event in Latin America. With more than 5,000 attendees, 50 exhibitors and 120 presentations, this is a large-scale event, yet organized to the finest detail.
If you’re looking to get solid advice on your inbound marketing and sales strategy and network with a large community of marketers, why not head to Brazil in November? Plus, you can sample the delights of the vibrant Brazilian culture, including its iconic food and long beaches.
Dreamforce is a behemoth of a conference that attracted nearly 200,000 attendees from over 83 countries last year. We simply couldn’t leave it off the list for its sheer size!
Run by Salesforce, Dreamforce promises to adorn you with the knowledge you need to significantly increase your ROI. Marketers will learn ways to create amazing brand experiences and better connect with customers. They’ll also discover how to make the most of Salesforce in their marketing strategy. With over 2,000 sessions, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re an SMB or a Fortune 500 company. Just make sure you check out the agenda beforehand to select the content that’s relevant to you.
Wish I could clone myself and attend all @Dreamforce sessions.
Too Much Amazing Awesomeness!!#DF16
Internet Summit is a forum that brings together a whole host of thought leaders in the field of digital commerce.
If you’re looking for practical solutions to apply to your marketing, analytics and user experience strategies and to learn about the latest trends in digital technology, this event has got your covered. And get ready to network with some of the world’s leading brands including Facebook, AOL and The Onion.
You know the old adage: it can cost 5x more acquiring a new customer than retaining an existing one. This is why we recommend Advocamp — a conference that’s all about the customer experience.
Although not strictly a marketing event, Advocamp will give you some great ideas on engaging your current following and fostering a loyal customer base. After all, your marketing efforts will become even more valuable if your leads become happy, long-term customers and advocates of your brand.
There were some top-notch speakers from leading global companies last year including world-class author Daniel Pink and “The most re-tweeted person in the world among digital marketers” Jay Baer. Expect the same in 2017.
Whether you’re a content writer, SEO buff or PPC manager, 2017 has got a standout marketing event that can give you the knowledge and contacts you need to be an even better marketer.
So if you’re set on making 2017 your most successful year yet, we encourage you to bite the bullet and sign up for the most relevant event for you. You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole notebook’s worth of valuable insider industry information to gain.
Is a certain awesome marketing conference missing from this list? Don’t be shy. Share it with us in the comments section below.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to create a SpriteKit game from beginning to beta? Does developing a physics-based game seem daunting? Game-making has never been easier on iOS since the introduction of SpriteKit.
In this three-part series, we will explore the basics of SpriteKit. We will touch on SKPhysics, collisions, texture management, interactions, sound effects, music, buttons and SKScenes. What might seem difficult is actually pretty easy to grasp. Stick with us while we make RainCat.
To go to the office every Monday to Friday, use a particular set of skills, sit at the same desk, talk to the same team members, eat at the same lunch spot…
While routine can be a stabilizing force, it can also lead to stagnation and a lack of inspiration (a worrisome situation for any marketer).
Companies take great care to put structures in place to improve productivity and efficiency, but too often de-prioritize creativity. And yet, creativity is essential to driving innovation and competition—two vital components of business growth.
At WiderFunnel, we believe in the Zen Marketing mindset. This mindset recognizes that there is an intuitive, inspired, exploratory side to marketing that imagines potential insights, as well as a qualitative, logical, data-driven side that proves whether the insights really work.
In order to come up with the very best ideas to test, you must have room to get creative.
So, how can you make creativity a priority at your company?
Last month, the WiderFunnel team set out to answer that question for ourselves. We went on a retreat to one of British Columbia’s most beautiful islands, with the goal of learning how to better tap into and harness our creativity, as individuals and as a team.
We spent three days trying to unleash our creative sides, and the tactics we brought back to the office have had exciting effects! In this post, I’m going to share four strategies that we have put into practice at WiderFunnel to help our team get creative, that you can replicate in your company today.
As Jack London said,
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
An introduction to creativity
There are many ways to think about creativity, but for our purposes, let’s consider the two types of creativity: technical creativity and artistic creativity. The former refers to the creation of new theories, new technologies, and new ideas. The latter revolves around skills, technique, and self-expression.
As a company, we were focused on tapping into technical creativity on our retreat. One of the main elements of technical creativity is lateral thinking.
Your brain recognizes patterns: faces, language, handwriting. This is beneficial in that you can recognize an object or a situation very quickly (you see a can of Coke and you know exactly what it is without having to analyze it).
But, we can get stuck in our patterns. We think within patterns. We problem-solve within patterns. Often, the solutions we come up with are based on solutions we’ve already come up with to similar problems. And we do this without really knowing that our solutions belong to other patterns.
Lateral thinking techniques can help you bust out of this…well…pattern.
While structured, disciplined thinking is vital to making your products and services better, lateral thinking can help you come up with completely new concepts and unexpected solutions.
The following 4 tactics will help you think laterally at work, to find truly original solutions to problems.
1. Put on a different (thinking) hat
One of our first activities on the island was to break into groups and tackle an internal company challenge with the six thinking hats. Developed by Edward de Bono, the “six thinking hats” is a tool for group discussion and individual thinking.
The idea behind the six hats is that our brains think in distinct ways that we can deliberately challenge. Each hat represents a direction in which the brain can be challenged. When you ‘put on a different hat’, your brain will identify and bring into conscious thought certain aspects of the problem you’re trying to solve, according to your hat.
None of these hats represent completely natural ways of thinking, but rather how some of us already represent the results of our thinking.
In our exercise, we began a discussion each wearing one of the six hats. As the conversation progressed, we were forced to switch hats and continue our discussion from entirely different perspectives. It was uncomfortable and challenging, but the different hats forced each of us to explore the problem in a way that was totally alien.
The outcome was exciting: people who are normally quiet were forced to manage a discussion, people who are normally incredulous were forced to be optimistic, people who are normally dreamers were forced to ask for facts…it opened up totally new doors within the discussion.
In WiderFunnel’s main meeting room, there are six cards that represent each of the six hats. Whenever I find myself stuck, dealing with a challenge I can’t seem to solve, I wander into that meeting room and try to tackle the problem ‘wearing each hat’. Disrupting my normal thinking patterns often leads to ‘A-ha!’ moments.
To encourage lateral thinking, you could: create something physical and tangible (cards, hats, etc.) that your team can utilize when they are stuck to challenge the ‘normal’ ways in which they think.
2. Solve puzzles (literally)
A man jumps out of a window of a 30-story building. He falls all the way to the ground and lands on solid concrete with nothing to cushion his fall, yet he is completely uninjured. How is this possible?
There are 20 birds on a fence. A woman shoots one of the birds. How many birds are left?
There is an egg carton holding a dozen eggs on a table. Twelve people take one egg each, but there is still one egg left in the carton. How?
During our retreat, we spent some time solving word problems just like these, in order to disrupt our day-to-day thinking patterns.
Riddles like these challenge our brains because they are difficult to think through using straightforward logic. Instead, you have to think outside of the content within the puzzle and use your knowledge of language and experience to solve it.
Puzzles require you to use reasoning that is not immediately obvious, and involve ideas that you may not arrive at using traditional step-by-step logic.
When you are faced with a puzzle like one of the riddles above, your mind is forced to think critically about something you might otherwise dismiss or fail to understand completely.
The thinking involved in solving puzzles can be characterized as a blend of imaginative association and memory. It is this blend…that leads us to literally see the pattern or twist that a puzzle conceals. It is a kind of “clairvoyance” that typically provokes an Aha! effect.
To encourage creative, critical thinking, you could: incorporate puzzles into your day-to-day. Email your team a word problem every morning, or set up a physical puzzle somewhere in your office, so that people can take puzzle breaks!
3. Unpack your assumptions
Often, when we are faced with a question or problem, we have already classified that question or problem by its perceived limitations or rules. For example, you have assumptions about your users (most likely backed by data!) about what they want and need, what their pain points are, etc.
But, these assumptions, even if they are correct, can sometimes blind you to other possibilities. Unpacking your assumptions involves examining all of your assumptions, and then flipping them upside down. This can be tough because our assumptions are often deeply ingrained.
On the island, WiderFunnel-ers listed out all of our assumptions about what our clients want. At the top of that list was an assumption about what every marketer wants: to increase ROI. When we flipped that assumption, however, we were left with a hypothetical situation in which our clients don’t care at all about ROI.
All of a sudden, we were asking questions about what we might be able to offer our clients that has nothing to do with increasing ROI. While this hypothetical is an extreme, it forced us to examine all of the other areas where we might be able to help our clients.
To encourage creative problem-solving, you could: advise your team to list out all of their assumptions about a problem, flip ‘em, and then look for the middle ground.
4. Think of the dumbest idea you possibly can
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
– Sylvia Plath
To wrap up day 1 of our retreat, we did an activity called Dumbest Idea First. We walked around in a circle in the sunshine, shouting out the dumbest ideas we could think of about how to encourage more creativity at WiderFunnel.
The circle was quiet at first. Because being dumb, sounding dumb, looking dumb is scary. But, after a few people yelled out some really, really dumb ideas, everyone got into it. We were all moving, and making ridiculous suggestions, and in the midst of it all, one person would shout out a gem of an idea.
For instance, someone suggested a ‘brainstorm bubble’: a safe space within the office where you can go when you’re stuck, and your co-workers can see you and join you in the bubble to help you brainstorm.
(We have since started doing this at the office and it has been awesome!)
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes limit myself during a brainstorm—I find myself trying to be creative while still being pragmatic.
But, when you give yourself permission to be dumb, all of a sudden the possibilities are endless. And I guarantee you will surprise yourself with the great ideas you stumble upon.
Encourage creativity by allowing yourself and your team time and space to be unapologetically dumb.
What are some of the strategies you use to keep things creative at your company? Have you tried or improved upon any of the aforementioned strategies? Let us know in the comments!
A large metropolitan underground train network might as well be a teleportation device: People don’t care how it gets them from A to B, just that it does. In London, Paris and Moscow, the map of the metro does not show surface geography, because there is not much empty space on the sheet.
Designing a city’s metro map is quite a challenging task, even when there is just one line.