Hot takes from Austin’s Hero Conf 2022

The Austin edition of the long-running digital marketing Hero Conf brought a diverse cohort of paid media professionals to the coolest city in Texas for several days of shop talk and socializing this January. We were stoked to get out of the virtual office for some in-person face time with our paid media peers, soak up the unique Austin ambience, and take the temperature of the paid media landscape.

We dig Austin so much we had a hard time leaving (and in Rachel’s case, figured out a way to stick around for some dog-sitting remote work). While there, we ate up the hot takes from conference sessions like the best of Texas BBQ. Here are some notes we recovered from the back of BBQ-sauce stained napkins:

Social commerce has changed the customer journey, to infinity and beyond 

People aren’t going shopping, they’re always shopping, as Ofir Halfon of media agency Brainlabs put it. In our highly social world, many purchases are unplanned and impulsive. That means the customer journey is not linear, like the “Funnel” we’ve historically used as the structure for our marketing strategies. 

Instead, the customer journey could now be mapped based on an “Infinity Loop” that outlines different pathways to customer conversions. This infinity loop does not discretely end at one point and can potentially be entered at any point. It’s continuous and broken out into four sections, which can be activated concurrently. These include: Discovery, Purchase, Cross/Up Sell & Advocacy. This visualization could reshape the way marketers think about their marketing efforts in terms of partnerships, targeting and messaging. 

People don’t just lie about their age on dating profiles

It wouldn’t be a Hero Conf without some granular PPC strategies, and AJ Wilcox of LinkedIn-focused agency B2Linked was ready to bust a few myths and share some platform strategies. 

In an “a-ha!” moment, he shared that a lot of LinkedIn members don’t report their accurate age. So rather than using age as a targeting metric, use seniority to reach your desired audience. 

He also dug into bidding strategies for the platform, recommending selecting “Target Cost” as your bidding strategy instead of “Maximum Delivery,” particularly if you have specific financial goals for your advertising. When selecting “Target Cost,” LinkedIn provides a target cost range that would be optimal, based on how much “similar advertisers” are spending. His recommendation? Enter a number much lower than the price suggested by LinkedIn to determine the actual bid floor price. Allowing you to be more efficient with your advertising dollars. 

Shifting perspectives

Digital branding evangelist Juntae DeLane was all about shifting perspectives to keep pace with the changing marketing landscape. Supply chain crisis? Could be your supply chain opportunity, if you’re feeling bold enough to double down on marketing as your competitors are distracted by challenging logistics issues. 

In his POV, the pandemic is creating a new breed of customer, with 65% of people self-reporting that they believe the pandemic will drive long term changes to their daily lives, including their work habits. In this world, brands need to consider adjusting how they engage. Customers don’t just want to be helped – they want to be engaged & acknowledged. They are more likely to remember your brand engaged back with them than they are about specific sales and offerings. 

The “new” customer is utilizing the internet at completely different times than historically. Advertisers want to consider day parting to reach users at certain parts of their days, knowing that people’s schedules are shifting around due to new work patterns.

Looking forward to more face time soon, friends

At their best, conferences are an opportunity to fill up on fresh ideas and head back to client work with a little extra inspiration. Hero Conf is no exception in that regard. While our jobs have been virtual in recent times, Team Kiosk had a great time enjoying face time with folks from around the paid media world. Fingers crossed, we’re looking forward to more of the same soon.