Azul Arc Takes On SouthWiRED 2014

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October has been a busy month for the Azul Arc Atlanta team as we balance our regular tasks with outside events. Our latest adventure? The 5th Annual SouthWiRED Conference (previously Digital Atlanta). This week-long gathering had so many amazing speaker sessions and topics that we had to divide and conquer just to touch on a few!

In the spirit of knowledge sharing, we have put together a quick recap of our five day journey to learn, share, and brainstorm away with some of the best minds in the digital industry — all while drinking copious amounts of local coffee and looking out on this amazing view.

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On Word of Mouth Marketing (via Ted Wright):
  • The average WOM conversations lasts 32 seconds
  • 76% of Americans have at least one brand-related conversation every day
  • Only 1 out of 10 conversations happens on the web as compared to 7 out of 10 in person
  • A story spreads for three reasons: it’s interesting, relevant, and/or authentic
  • Interrupting or intercepting someone in order to pitch your product is bad practice (no one likes those insistent mall kiosk sales people). Instead figure out how to bring people to you.
On Standing Out in a Crowded Market (via Alex Membrillo):
  • Don’t sell what you do, sell why you do it
  • Specialize in one product or service rather than spreading yourself too thin over multiple ones
  • Invest in experienced content writers
  • Along the same lines, invest in extended case studies — they are your most important sales asset
  • People buy things from other people, not from buzzwords. Focus on being authentic!
On the Importance of Teaching Designers to Code and Developers to Design (via Jan Zheng):
  • Learning a new skill can help team members to better communicate ideas, as well as understand the constraints and possibilities of a project from another person’s point of view
  • Both designers and developers share in the responsibility of launching a successful product. Knowing each other’s skills helps both teams hold each other accountable
  • While learning new trades is useful, it is also important that everyone specializes in one area; be a team of experts and strike a balance.
  • A “unicorn” is the code name for graphic designers who can do everything (programming, graphic design, UX). The name comes from the fact that they are difficult, if not impossible to find!
On Investing in Video Marketing (via Jon Milavec):
  • How important are videos to consumers? To put things in perspective, YouTube is the second largest search engine online — second only to Google
  • Speaking of Google…they are big fans of videos, meaning they weigh them heavily in search engine rankings so that they will appear closer to the top than content-only items
  • 3 questions to ask yourself before creating a video: What is your message? What is your audience? What is your budget?
  • No budget for a video campaign? Try crowdfunding. Many Kickstarter videos do not have high production values but still manage to connect with people because of their message

Many thanks to the speakers who not only came out to share these points with everyone, but who also took extra time to discuss them one-on-one after their panels. We had a great time meeting with all of you and look forward to another round at SouthWiRED 2015!

Thoughts on this year’s conference or something to add to the information above? Drop us a comment below!