Last week, part of the Allee Creative team had the amazing opportunity to attend Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. Hosted by the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing World is the largest content marketing conference in the world. When they say largest, they mean it—CM World brings in over 3,500 attendees for the 3-day conference. Not to mention the many sponsors who fill up the tradeshow hall with demos and amazing swag (can you say heck yeah to free t-shirts and water bottles?). CM World is for all marketing types, whether you’re new to the industry, been in it for a while or own your own marketing agency.
Besides the free swag, I truly had an amazing time and so did the rest of the team. So, I gathered up their thoughts from last week and here are our major takeaways:
What we loved
When we were discussing our favorite part of the conference, many of us had similar favorites. We loved the opportunities to network with other marketers. Even for those who were shy (guilty!), networking with other marketers was actually very easy. The community aspect of this conference was like no other, even though there were well over 3,500 attendees, it felt small and intimate.
What we learned
Each day was jam-packed with what seemed like too much content. Now I know what you’re thinking, “you went to content marketing world and are complaining about too much content?” Well not exactly, but when I was planning my schedule for the three days I was wishing I had a time turner like Hermione Granger.
Across the board, our team agreed that the most inspirational session was the keynote by Dewitt Jones. Let’s just say that none of us had dry eyes by the end of his speech. A former photographer for National Geographic, his keynote focused on vision and how, based off your vision, you will see and achieve things differently. He encouraged us to keep our extraordinary vision in focus because when your vision is clear then passion and creativity will follow. When you have passion and creativity you will have commitment.
Our favorite sessions
During the day, the Allee Creative team split to cover as many topics as we could. Here are a few of the favorite speakers and sessions that stood out:
Luke Jirik, marketing specialist
“My favorite session was where I learned how to step outside of the normal ‘best practices’ that certain articles and trends tell us to adhere to. Instead of relying on outside testimonials we should act like investigators to overcome our challenges in the field.
Ashtyn Sibinski and Lauren Jordan, account managers
Both Ashtyn and Lauren understood the importance of failure and how you can have productive failure. Our society makes us feel as though failure is always bad, but we must understand that failure is inevitable. Knowing this, we must have practical and realistic responses to failure.
“Anna Hrach’s session helped us create a plan for failure by creating a mission statement for it.”
Her example was:
When I make a mistake, I will recover by ______. My failures will help me to succeed with content in the future because I will ______.
Melissa Harrison, CEO
As a previous Content Marketing World speaker and agency owner, Melissa’s take on the conference leaned toward the executive tracks. Planning what’s next and connecting with other agency owners.
“One of my favorite sessions was Mathew Sweezey’s “5 ways to create a high-performing marketing organization”. As an agency owner, there were validations that were pertinent to the way we run our organization and there were key take-aways on the age-old questions we’re constantly getting from clients around budget, ROI and expectations. As with many of the sessions I chose this year, this one also pushed me to think ‘what’s next?’.
Stephanie Peterson, marketing specialist
For me, I had the biggest epiphany during Jay Baer’s session on “Talk Triggers” where he dived into the importance of word of mouth marketing. If 19% of all purchases are caused by word of mouth, 50% of all purchases are primarily caused by word of mouth and 91% of B2B purchases are primarily caused by word of mouth, why don’t more businesses have a word of mouth strategy?
Baer gave brand examples like the DoubleTree and the warm cookies you get when you check in. Which was a great example because Lauren, who went to CM World last year and stayed at a DoubleTree, was sad to learn that we were not staying there again. She went on to rave about their fresh warm cookie. This is an example of word-of-mouth strategy. Others who stay at DoubleTree hotels spread the word about the warm cookies which in turn creates more business.
After four days of learning and connecting as much as we could we were excited to get home and decompress. After taking the weekend, we discussed what our overall thoughts of the conference were with our team back in Minnesota as well. For those who had been there before, they agreed that the sessions were comparable to previous years’ and still filled with great content. We all thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many like-minded people, not just within marketing but meeting people who had the same background as us whether that be journalism, art, executives or those with a passion for the outdoors.
We learned that it pays off to sit in line for the keynote 2 hours before she’s scheduled to start (ahem, Melissa was pretty excited to be front row for Tina Fey) But in all seriousness, Content Marketing World is a great conference to attend no matter where you are in your marketing career. You’ll find content created for those who are new and those looking to make the next career move. And when you go with a team, all the better!
Did you attend Content Marketing World? Share what you loved with us!