What? me on an expert panel

Recently, I had the chance to sit on an American Advertising Federation Colorado Springs (AAFCS) panel discussion at the last minute due to a cancelation. I was able to see some of the questions before I committed. Also, to get the tone for the discussion.

After seeing the questions, I thought I could do it. I responded and received a confirmation. The next two to three hours I questioned myself on the response. In the past, I have been an audience member, but never a speaker.

I am really nervous in social situations and public speaking. So I generally write out everything I would like to say in the way that I would say it. After that, I do a bullet point list and try to connect the points while I practice. The final part of the process is to pace and read my answers over.

Here are a few of the answers that I intended to say for the questions. These are what I used to study and expand on.

Several years ago, digital advertising was the big buzz word in marketing. There were such large expectations on what to expect and how it was going to change the industry. There was a lot of “print will be dead” and “advertising revolutionized” statements going around about the digital era.

Q: How do you all see these expectations being, or not being, met? Has digital changed the industry as much as it was being said 5 or 10 years ago?

A: I have a few things that I would like to mention here about digital. I would like to note the amount of quality, free to low cost education available online. Also, I look back on the early technology booms and remember a time when the general consensus thought buying groceries online was a terrible idea. Fast forward, now online retailers have to offer groceries to stay competitive. Another way digital did revolutionize advertising is the amount of specific data collected on their audiences. In turn providing that data for advertisers to target in a more precise way.

Q: What major trends do you see going forward in digital advertising/marketing?  What new technology have you seen that you see playing a big role in the industry?

A: Not new, but I still believe a video is the best medium for storytelling.

Q: Talk to us a little about UX and how that changes from traditional mediums to the digital realm.

A: UX really is a term of how a customer interacts with all aspects of a business and it’s products. It consists of audience research to create personas. From the personas, you can create scenarios for user goals and how they would interact with the product.

Scenarios offer a great starting point to create user journeys that map out specific user goals.

From there you use necessary design patterns to assist your users in completing their intentions.

Q: What is the largest hurdle you find in designing for digital?

A: I think the largest hurdle is balancing business needs while respecting your audience. Respecting their time is very important since attention comes at a premium.

Also, delivering a consistent experience across devices.

Q: Where did you see the need in changing from traditional design to UX?

A: The need shifted when it because common to interact with businesses online. From that, the data produced allowed for better insights on how customers are interacting with businesses online.

Success had a foundation in data as opposed to instinct.

I see a lot of businesses that focus so much on sales that they often have little to no focus on the customer service after the sale.

Q: Can you talk to us about strategies behind email design and how consumers react?

A: First off, I think the subject line is the most important part of a successful email. It is the only thing that will entice your audience to click on your email among hundreds of others.

That subject line paired with the right offer at the right time is a big win. When you hit a sweet spot like that, you could literally send a little bit of text and a link to the offer and be fine.

Now, that is generally not the case. I think email design along with digital design is all about restraint. Deciding what, without a doubt needs to be included.

The nuts and bolts answer is that it’s a lot like printed direct mail. That is, if you have experience with direct mail. You want to include large well defined “call to actions”. That means, using color to distinguish them from other links and concise copy. Also, include multiple points of entry into clicking on your promotion. Always use an inverted pyramid approach to your content in email. Important photos and copy at the top. Make hard decisions about what needs to go into the email. Keep in mind that almost nobody will read what isn’t immediately viewable.

On the technical side. Try to go responsive. Also, always use alt tags on your images. Images don’t immediately load when viewing an email. Alt tags are a way to add information that could get a customer to click.

Pay mind to what happens after a click through. Where are you sending the customer? Does it relate to your offer?

Ultimately, respect your customers’ time.


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