When you spend four days in the hustle and bustle of NYC surrounded by hundreds of broadcast marketers, you’re bound to come up with some meaningful takeaways. But these takeaways are relevant whether you’re in the broadcast industry or not. So consider how these apply to your brand and its marketing initiatives.

Before we get into it, you might be asking: what is PromaxBDA? The BDA part stands for Broadcast Design Association, so hopefully that answers most of the question. Basically, the conference is where people responsible for marketing “television” content go to learn, network and celebrate once a year.

So what were some of the big themes at this year’s conference? Here are some of my key takeaways:

Let your audience take the wheel.

You’re not in control. It’s okay to admit it. Your audiences’ expectations grow and change before you can adjust. Sometimes you’ll lead them with creative content that strikes a chord. Most of the time, you’ll watch them, listen to them, and react to how you’re seeing them interact with your content. Continuing to create and be part of the conversation by giving them tools and guidance.

Creativity (and beauty) in context sparks human emotion.

Bold creative turns heads and (sometimes) wins awards. But creativity without relevant context is often useless. Knowing your core audience and driving decisions based on how your brand connects to them is key to impactful creative. You need to know your audience, know where they’re paying attention, know when they want to engage, and adjust your creative to fit the platform. Then, you need to figure out the creative wrapper that will spark the emotion and inspire the behavior desired.

Mobile and social are core to a winning strategy.

It’s obvious, but are you truly embracing mobile and social? Every session about metrics pointed to a mobile and social strategy driving key results. You need to start creating content for social media platforms (not just rehashing existing content). Social stories, GIFs and memes should be integrated into your campaigns. When it comes to creative context, mobile and social are driving the world of marketing because we’re glued to our phones… even when we’re watching. This actually makes it easier to reach your audience and easier to get them to share.

Let data drive smarter decisions.

The biggest benefit to the digital world is the ability to arm yourself with data. So use it. Understanding the data science behind your audience’s behaviors will help you guide them with more relevant content. Brands like Netflix are A/B testing minute details to maximize results. Often, very slight difference in the title, timing of the message, or thumbnail amplify results by 30 percent to 3,000 percent.

Small is big.

If you’re small, it’s easy to wonder how you can possibly compete against the giants. Instead, consider asking “where can we win?”. Whether you’re a smaller network, underdog program, or smaller creative partner, you have a distinct advantage. While you might not have the big budgets, you’re nimble and operate with less red tape. This allows you to build very honest connections with a core group of fans who seek personal and intimate experiences.

There’s more opportunity than ever (it’s just being spread further and further).

Budgets aren’t really shrinking, they’re just spreading out because there’s more to do. The result? More opportunity than ever. Yes, it can be scary and overwhelming, but there’s gold in them seas. The best campaigns weren’t just one-off spots, they were full blown campaigns with digital content, social media, live experiences, and augmented reality.

The lines have blurred between television, film, and consumer product marketing.

It’s time to steal from each other’s playbooks. The broadcast industry is marketing more and more like a film or, better yet, consumer product marketers. So when you’re building your next campaign, expand your research into other industries and consider unconventional tactics. Hearing from Genesis about their marketing campaign with WIRED provided even more context for this methodology.

Leverage technology for experimentation and adventure.

While cutting-edge technology wasn’t at the forefront of this year’s conference, it was lurking in the background. Marketers are still trying to sort out the complexities big campaigns weaving old school tactics, data, social, digital. As we move past the mid-digital revolution, things like augmented reality and gamification will become the norm. Brands like Nickelodeon will be the earlier adopters as their audience is expecting it. Get ready, soon, we’ll be holding our phones up to the screen and watching a whole new viewing experience.

Justin Andrews is a creative strategist with Animus Studios.

Tags: conference 2018

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