Top 5 Marketing Trends Discussed at Collision


Technology is moving our world forward, connecting people in unprecedented ways and changing the business world again and again as new ideas continue to progress.

In April, I had the unique experience of learning from people who are making these ideas a reality at Collision, a tech conference in New Orleans from the same progressive thinkers who brought the world Web Summit.

With more than 19,000 attendees from 119 countries gathered under one roof in the Big Easy at “America’s fastest growing tech conference,” Collision (or, #CollisionConf to the socially-savvy) provided people like myself with valuable insight into what’s happening now in the tech industry as over 350 speakers representing different sectors shared expertise I found ripe for nonstop-knowledge picking.

Among what was discussed, I noticed five consistent marketing trends which were repeatedly prevalent over the three-day conference.

1. Focus on Creating Custom Experiences for the Consumer

The way we communicate is changing.

As humans, we have been spoiled in the way we communicate with one another. A simple text and image does not send as loud a message as it once did. In turn, companies marketing a product to consumers need to find innovative ways to talk to their customers directly and shift the focus in communication to creating custom experiences.

Max Mullen, founder of the internet-based grocery delivery service Instacart, discussed how he personalized his customers’ experience as part of his company’s marketing plan. One of the steps he took in improving the experience for said customers was to talk to these people directly, especially ones who gave a negative review.


VIDEO: Max Mullen of Instacart at Collision

Mullen said he and Instacart focused on determining “pain points” and what the company could do to improve. It seems like a simple gesture, but it made Instacart’s customers feel valued while the company refined its business model for other users.

I hope more companies adopt this method of figuring out how to deliver their message. Despite the quick progression of technology, we need to be careful not to dismiss the fundamentals of communicating and, rather, ask questions and limit our assumptions. Going straight to the source to alleviate the pain point is key to building the custom experience consumers are looking for.

2. The User Comes First, the Tech Comes Second

It’s easy to think about the “how” and “what” when it comes to marketing products and services. You can use fancy new tech to attract consumers, but what good does it do if you don’t know who your user is and how to talk to them?

Layne Braunstein, the chief communications officer at the experiential design agency Fake Love that was recently recognized as Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year, shared his approach on how to use experiential marketing successfully. Braunstein said to “never approach with tech in mind” and, instead, put the story and user first.


VIDEO: Layne Braunstain of Fake Love at Collision

Coming up with the methods is easy, but figuring out the “why” is tough. It doesn’t matter what type of snappy, new tech we use to impress consumers if the message isn’t clear. Spending more time thinking about the user themselves and understanding why our message should matter to them will make more of an impact.

3. Brand Building Starts With Your Employees

If you’re new to Twisted Rope, you may not be aware this company rebranded with a new name. We’re the same company, but we’re restructuring and revisiting our company values and mission.

Our core purpose at Twisted Rope is to empower people so they can succeed. This does not only pertain to our clients, but also our employees. Twisted Rope is built by the employees and we’ve included our employees during each step of the rebranding process. It’s become more than just a marketing tactic for Twisted Rope and has defined the way we, as a company, build our brand identity and work with clients to achieve their goals.

The good news is it seems more companies going the route of a rebrand are including employees as part of the process as these companies realign their visions. Lauren Crampsie, the chief marketing officer at the advertising, public relations and marketing firm Ogilvy and Mather, shared that the most important consumers are the employees. She states employees inside an organization need to understand the brand more than anyone else. You can spend all your budget on branding everywhere, but it will never replace the one-on-one interaction between a consumer and an employee at a company. If a brand’s mission is conveyed well through its employees, it will permeate with customers.


4. Data is Your Best friend. Embrace It.

Data is the center of all innovation in a tech company.

At first glance, data can be intimidating because there’s a lot of information, but no direction of what you can learn. Therefore, you should make data work for you. Sometimes, it’s hard to ask the right questions if you don’t know what you’re truly looking for.

The more data you have, the better it will be to help you navigate through the mess.

This can be particularly useful in refining what efforts work best in aligning a business’s approach to social media.

Through rebranding and our initial foray into utilizing social media on an everyday basis at Twisted Rope, we used analytics and data to track what was resonating best with our growing audiences across different platforms. This helped us to better align our social media strategy and redefine our approach, using trends we found in the numbers to allow us to see the types of posts the audiences on each platform found to be engaging and informative. By delving further into the data, we pinpointed what to make a focus going forward on each network.

Data can be scary, but don’t let it spook you. The hardest part is coming up with the question you want to extract from the data you’ve collected.

5. Creating an Environment For Creative Collaboration is Key to Success

Today, many organizations face the challenge of creating an “innovative” work environment. There is no one-size-fits-all model for creating the ideal work environment but one thing to keep in mind is to focus on building an environment that fosters creative collaboration.

The greatest strength a company can showcase is its employees. Each person on the team brings different types of experiences, skill sets and perspectives to solving a problem. Creating a space that places value on open communication, insane ideas and limited assumptions to problem solve is a game changer in the way companies operate.

A lot of awesome stories and experiences were shared at Collision. It generated new ideas I have for Twisted Rope’s next steps as our company continues to grow and define itself. It is also reassuring to learn other companies in this changing digital landscape are facing the same problems while developing new ideas to move forward, as well.

If you missed out on this year’s Collision conference, check out some of the talks on Collision’s Facebook page to learn more and watch videos from the conference here.

TwineAnnette Wong