You know how word of mouth is like the Holy Grail of marketing? There’s nothing quite as powerful as someone whose opinion you trust simply saying, “hey, check this out.”
Well, the other day my colleagues and I were talking about talks: conference talks, TED Talks, university lectures, a few candid post-dinner nuggets of wisdom from a tipsy aunt. We were recommending ones we’ve found helpful or inspiring as marketers (whether the topics focused on marketing directly, or were more broadly about professional development and personal growth). Surely other marketers want to know what’s worth watching too, we thought. And nobody wants to sift through an endless YouTube haystack of “find your passion, move to Bali, start a blog, now I’m a millionaire”-style videos to find those shiny needles, right?
Luckily we have a whole list of trusted someones coming to speak at Call to Action Conference August 28-29, and gift bags to hold for ransom if they don’t answer our emails. So we went straight to the source to ask our marketing experts about their favourite talks.
Ranging from strategy to copywriting to user experience to CRO, our speakers for this August know their stuff and have made it to the top of their fields. They’re smart cookies who can suss out what’s worth listening to, and below are some of their sage suggestions. Give ‘em a look and if you have some of your own must-watch recommendations for talks you’ve loved and quote to this day, let us know in the comments!
Ross Simmonds, Digital Marketing Strategist and Founder of Hustle & Grind
Find him on Twitter:@TheCoolestCool
CTAConf 2018 Talk: Beyond Google: How to Attract Relevant Traffic Through Diverse Channels
Recommends: Conversion Copywriting and the Death of Guesswork by Joanna Wiebe
“The biggest insight I took from Joanna’s talk was the process you take people through when it comes to conversion optimization. Specifically, the importance of not leading with the project but instead leading with the pain. Start by talking about the problem and the agitations, then reveal the solution.”
Runner-up: The Surprising Power of Small Habits by James Clear
“This is a great rundown of mental models and techniques that can help people be more productive. It shows marketers, professionals, and any entrepreneur the value of the little things. The story around compounding efforts leading to expertise is a message I think more people need to understand and embrace. No one starts as an expert. No one starts as the best of all time. It’s persistence and a layer of consistency around small things that compound to make up the skills that differentiate the best from the rest.”
Veronica Romney, Founder and President of SoLoMo Inc.
Find her on Twitter:@vromney
CTAConf 2018 Talk: Going Beyond the Basics of Facebook Advertising
Recommends: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
“This talk came to my mind instantly. It’s by far my favourite, and I think the most inspiring, TED Talk for those in marketing and entrepreneurs in general. The points Simon makes can benefit a broad audience of businessmen and women who, like me, can get discouraged by comparisons.
In a nutshell, he describes how the values of a company represent the core of that company and why they have chosen to do business. His “Golden Circle” idea is simple, working from the why of the company to how the company will achieve the why, and what that company will produce. Focusing first on the why of business rather than the how is key in marketing, keeping a client base, and gaining new customers. Because people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Momoko Price, Conversion Copywriter and Interaction Designer for Kantan Designs
CTAConf 2018 Talk: Data-Driven Copywriting for Brand-Spanking New Products
Recommends: Growth is Good but Retention is 4+Ever by Brian Balfour
“I absolutely love Brian Balfour’s talk on the importance and impact of optimizing customer retention. It does a fantastic job of summarizing the metrics that really matter when it comes to growing a subscription-based business. This is so easy to ignore when you’re a marketer, since most of us are expected to spend 90% of our time on acquiring new customers and getting the word out about the product.
What’s the point of doing all that work if those new customers never stick around? It’s the equivalent of trying to fill a bucket with a giant hole in it, yet we as marketers rarely think about finding and plugging the hole before adding more water. Brian’s talk clearly maps out and visualizes these metrics in an almost diagnostic way, to give guidance on evaluating your own business’ growth and underscore the power and impact good data has.”
Becky Davis, Director of UX and CRO for Tranzact
Find her on Twitter:@barelyremarkabl
CTAConf 2018 Talk: Conversion Rate Optimization: The Art and Science of Guiding the Drunk
Recommends: The Science and Art of Self Assurance: An interview with The Confidence Code co-author Katty Kay
“My vote is for Adam Grant’s interview with Katty Kay, one of the authors of The Confidence Code. Her book spends time examining the confidence gap between men and women, the reasons behind it, and its effects. It’s really interesting, but that’s not the only reason I’ve chosen it as a favourite.
I chose it because hearing from successful people, men and women alike, who struggle with confidence the way I often do, was comforting for me. That they also over-prepare and stress about tiny mistakes was reassuring. But the biggest impact to me was hearing that if I spoke out, if I asked for things, if I took action, then the results would likely be positive. That pushed me to do so even when I was uncomfortable. I can’t tell you how many times that attitude has opened doors for me because I pushed when I wanted to hold back. If I hadn’t, I would have lost those chances. And every time I did, my own confidence grew and any fears I had became less demotivating.”
Lisa Pierson, The Conversion Copywriter
Find her on Twitter:@piersonlisaj
Recommends: I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream by JT McCormick
“I saw a presentation by JT McCormick this year that really moved me. It has nothing to do with marketing or copywriting, but was very inspiring.
There isn’t a video of the talk itself, but I’d highly recommend reading his book I Got There: How I Overcame Racism, Poverty, and Abuse to Achieve the American Dream. In it, he speaks about his difficult childhood and the many hardships he endured. These are not the typical hardships people go through—his were unbelievably difficult. Yet, despite being knocked down over and over again, he managed to not only make something of himself professionally but to not let those events define who he is.
In my own life as an entrepreneur and single mom, almost everything starts and ends with me. There’s no safety net or backup plan. Things can get difficult and they can wear on you. But my life is so much more privileged than JT’s was, and watching his presentation helped me realize that we’re all so much stronger than we think we can be. External events don’t define who we are. And day-to-day life is what you decide it is.”
Unbounce’s list of must-watch talks by brilliant speakers (the above experts included) takes place August 28-29th on Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre stage. Check out the full agenda and use the code “CTAConfTalks” at checkout to get 35% off the most actionable marketing event and best experiences you’ll have at a conference this year.
~ Thomas Jefferson