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MozCon 2015 Recap – Disruption At Its Finest

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending MozCon in Seattle, an impressive digital marketing conference that brought together over a thousand talented professionals for three days of thoughtful discussion. Geared towards marketers from brands, agencies, and freelancers, the more than two dozen talks focused on a variety of topics, ranging from content strategy to conversion rate optimization (CRO). Throughout the week, consistent themes emerged from speakers, so here's a breakdown.

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How Long to Run A/B Tests: the Known and Unknown

Although split testing has become an essential part of any sound digital strategy, many people have misconceptions about the process -- especially the amount of time needed to get results.  When relying solely on anecdotes from others, one can easily over- or under-estimate the time needed to reach a statistically sound conclusion.

In this post, I’ll visualize the factors that can affect test duration and explain approaches to getting faster results.

The Next RMDPM Presentation: 90octane

On Thursday, May 28, Rocky Mountain Digital Project Managers will get together for another great presentation from local digital leaders.

This month, we’re in Denver with the fantastic people at 90octane as our host and presenters. A few folks over at 90octane, including Lauren Hilboldt, Christie Declements, and Becky Shortell will discuss a recent project they completed. You can expect to learn about their unique process and the tools they used during that project. There will be a Q&A opportunity following the presentation.

90octane will provide food and beverages beginning at 6:00PM. We will talk/mingle/eat/drink until about 6:30PM when the presentation will start.

4 Themes from Social Tools Summit - #SocialTools15

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Social Tools Summit in Boston, representing both Viget and one of our recent Pointless Corp. projects, SocialPiq. With a healthy mix of brand marketers, agencies, and vendors in the audience, the event centered around cutting-edge social tools and strategy. One unique aspect of the summit was the use of expert and “trender” panels, which led to some lively discussions on a variety of topics, including social listening, content marketing, social advocacy, marketing automation, and analytics.

As the number of social media tools increases, it’s becoming more and more difficult to decide which solution is appropriate, and community education (through events like this and other resources) helps make those decisions easier and prepare for the future. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the speakers and panelists, as well as their level of candor. For more information on the event sessions, check out the ratings and recommendations on SpeakerRate.

Throughout the summit, I noticed four major themes that surfaced consistently (and included some quotes from event speakers, as well):

5 Takeaways from IA Summit 2015

I’ll just come out and say it. Of all of the conferences that I’ve attended, IA Summit is my favorite. There is always high-quality, thought-provoking content, but more importantly, there is also a strong sense of community. This year was no different. After heading off to Minneapolis last week to attend IA Summit 2015, I felt the strength of that community yet again as I met with IA Summit friends both new and old. I also enjoyed spending quality time with the other Viget UXers that attended the conference.  

Beyond the community aspect, stepping away from work for a few days and hearing from others in the field was also refreshing. Listening to others talk about things that you’re passionate about and hearing new perspectives is a helpful source of inspiration.  

Here are 5 takeaways from some of my favorite talks:

  1. Semantic structures provide consistency across contexts. Semantics are the glue that create a pervasive information architecture. As we design cross-channel experiences, leveraging semantics is key to crafting a consistent experience. Whether a customer is viewing your website on a mobile phone or walking into a physical store and talking with a salesperson, semantics can make those disparate experience feel connected and seamless. - Keynote, Jorge Arango, Transcript
  2. Avoid jumping from inferences to design decisions too soon. When conducting research, we have a tendency to use our first inference when we move on to design decisions.  We should spend more time testing alternative inferences so we can draw better conclusions. We should also focus on combining qualitative and quantitative research approaches. Leveraging findings from our qualitative research to drive the focus of our quantitative research will lead to the most beneficial insights. - Is Design Metrically Opposed?, Jared Spool, Slides
  3. Generate interest and involvement with clarity and orientation.  Information is fluid and can take on many forms. No structure for presenting content is inherently right or wrong, but we should strive to provide vividness, clarity, and motivation to those consuming that content. Ted Nelson describes this in a much more delightful way, so I recommend watching the video of his talk. - New Fields and Feeled Effects, Ted Nelson, Transcript/Video
  4. Use journey maps to improve content governance. Creating a journey map that pinpoints the actions and decision points involved in publishing a piece of content is a useful exercise. It helps to define all of the players, extrapolate the intricate details of how content is currently managed, and find ways to improve the process — both online and offline.  - Mapping the Way Forward, Richard Ingram, Slides 
  5. Create a world of ANDs instead of a world of ORs. We should strive to expand beyond our comfort zone and spend more time with folks outside of our specific disciplines. Rather than focusing on the differences between fields, we should look for what’s similar and try to learn from one another. Our work is not mutually exclusive and we should look for ways to bring different groups together instead of pushing farther apart.  - What Is Past Is Prologue, Jesse James Garrett and Christina Wodtke

This was my third trip to the summit and it did not disappoint. Minneapolis served as a nice backdrop for the conference. I enjoyed exploring several good restaurants and breweries in the area with fellow Summiteers. A quick jaunt to Dangerous Man Brewing was my personal favorite. Let the countdown to IA Summit 2016 in Atlanta begin!