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What we learned at UNH’s 2019 Digital Marketing Conference

The University of New Hampshire’s Department of Professional Development held its annual Digital Marketing Conference (#UNHDMC) featuring five main-stage presentations including the following:

  1. Kate Paine, VP of Marketing, NEMO Equipment
  2. Cassie Heppner, Director, Global Marketing, Timberland
  3. Alec Newcomb, CEO, ScaledOn & Philipp Diehl, Director of E-Commerce, Terry Bicycles
  4. Kelsey Doherty, Digital Media Manager, Boston Red Sox
  5. Nicole Driscoll, Digital Expert, Ben & Jerry’s

Here are some of the high-level conference highlights as well as books, marketing tools and systems mentioned.


How to report on marketing

Kate mentioned that while you can track 50+ KPIs, that’s not the ideal way to present marketing results to other team members. She’s found herself, like a lot of us, marketing marketing – that is, focusing on the most important elements and using specific wording to ensure it’s well-received.

For example, here are some words NOT to use when describing marketing to senior management or sales teams:

  • Creative
  • Brilliant
  • Bomber
  • Moving
  • Beautiful
  • Fun
  • Awesome
  • Engaging

Here are some words you CAN use when describing marketing efforts:

  • Revenue
  • Investment (not “marketing spend”)
  • ROI
  • Return on objective
  • COS (Cost of Services)
  • SG&A (Selling, General & Administrative Expenses)
  • Profitable


Marketing with a purpose

The underlying theme with Cassie’s presentation was the notion that it’s not just about selling your products and services; it’s about your purpose. There is a deep and widening skills gap in which 10,000 baby boomers are retiring daily, leaving some trepidation about the future in trades. When marketing its PRO line, Timberland took the knowledge of the skills gap and made it its purpose to inspire the future generation to get into the trades. They do this with thoughtful imagery depicting the sheer athleticism it takes to carry out different jobs.

For the launch of their women’s PRO line, they couldn’t find stock photography of women in trades that was suitable for their needs. So, they embarked on photographing real women in the industry (not models) on job sites in Timberland clothing. But they didn’t stop there.

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of content they have embarked on is an independent, feature-length documentary called Hard Hatted Woman that explores this segment of people comprising just 3% in the trades industry.


Watch the trailer:

As a former “hard hat woman” myself (car loader for Amtrak auto train) and having served in the male-dominated military, I connected with the message of gender stereotyping and poor culture. While the military and police forces have increased the percentage of women, the trades still comprises just 3% of women. Timberland is bringing to light an important topic, and oh, by the way, they sell quality products to help you get the job done.

You can help support the movie. According to the website, the film is in post-production and still accepting donations to carry the film across the finish line.


Selling via Amazon

Amazon is the fastest-growing media outlet in the world. In fact, 80% of retail searches start there. Alec shared insights into how his company positioned Terry Bicycles on Amazon and saw amazing results. Whether people purchased directly from Amazon or learned about Terry Bicycles and then went directly to the bike site, the bike business grew as a result.

Check out the conversion rates with Amazon compared to other popular mediums:

Source: Using Amazon as a Media Platform for your Brand by Phillip Diehl, Terry Bikes & Alec Newcomb, ScaledOn


Making it up as you go – and still killing it

While the efforts of a team, good or bad, dictate the outcome of any given project it’s never more critical than when your job is to promote a sports team even if they’re having an off-track season.


“Team performance determines everything.”

 – Kelsey E. Doherty, Red Sox


If you’re a Red Sox fan, you might recall the #DoDamage campaign from last year. You might also recall the World Series win!

Kelsey shared some of the types of posts that win the hearts of the Red Sox nation and how she and other team members determine the campaigns.

Interestingly, much of what they do centers on being keen observers to what is happening in social media, and how people are responding, and then making educated guesses at next steps. Instead of planning out a year’s worth of campaigns for example, they develop them on the fly throughout the season. This is an interesting take on being and creating in the moment and not planning so far in advance that you’re stuck with a plan you can’t adjust.


Creating delicious content for social media

Sadly, there was no Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to eat but there was a funny and entertaining video that Nicole shared. It was essentially an announcement for their new line of lactose-free ice cream, and it was shot with employees (not actors) in their office on a small budget. This proves that you don’t need a 10-person film crew and a massive budget to make great content.


At the time of this post, there are 3.7M views on YouTube.

Also, they have a clever depiction of a marketing funnel so I’m sharing it here for all my other marketing nerd friends and colleagues:

Source: Defining the Role of Social Media for Your Brand by Nicole Driscoll


Marketing books, tools & sites mentioned

I also presented Best Practices for Lead Magnets that Convert. I’ll be writing about that in depth in a future post. Make sure you sign up to be the first to read it and any other marketing nuggets of wisdom we have to share down the road.

Learn more about the Professional Development Program at UNH. Read highlights from last year’s conference.

Did you attend the conference? Did I miss something worth sharing? Add to the comments below and remember to share to help other marketers and business owners.



Header Image Source: University of New Hampshire