Second That Emotion to Give Your Website and Marketing a Neat Hook

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At a SIPA Annual 2018 session last June on Creating a High-Performance Culture Across Your Company, Brian Crotty, CEO of OPIS, spoke about identifying star potential in your employees.

"The first thing is you give them a task that gets done and you never hear about it," said Crotty. "Then you give them more and more. They take feedback well, seek it out and become risk takers. They're willing to get out there, fail and learn from it. It's also a person that other employees gravitate around—that's the one I need to keep an eye on."

While this year's SIPA Annual 2019 (June 3-5) organizers work hard to meet the high bar that has been set, let's give a refresh of key takeaways from SIPA Annual 2018. And speaking of star potential and with the Grammys still fresh in my mind, let's give it a Motown feel:

Websites - I Second That Emotion. "I think emotion is underrated in any kind of marketing, particularly with websites," said Rick Wilkes, OPIS director of marketing, during a session titled Transforming Your Website into a New Prospect Magnet. "On the new OPIS site you see a refinery at sunset, and that's the best a refinery is ever going to look. You'd be amazed in stock photography how many fuel places are within sunsets. It's very soothing. So it's a big bold image [and the words,] 'We help you buy and sell oil and gas products with confidence'—and the confidence is the emotional hook there."

Monetization - Money (That's What I Want). The theme for SIPA Annual 2019 is an unabashed Make More Money. At SIPA 2018, David Foster, CEO of BVR, talked about data monetization. He pointed to Getty Images, which now monetizes the search questions they get because 90% of visitors are not coming to license photography—they only want to look at pretty pictures. He said that value can be added to data in four areas: extraction, refinement, delivery and products. "Two data points is an article, three is a book, and four is a database."

Sales - I Just Want to Celebrate. "[All of our] people must be ready to be tasked to support our next sale," Tim Hartman, CEO of Government Executive Media Group, said in his opening keynote. "If a sales person has a problem, and you don't jump to help solve that problem, that's a problem for us... Think ambitious experiments and trust each other." And then celebrate successes.

Webinars - Just My Imagination Running Away With Me. In a session on webinars, Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live and virtual events, Education Week, said there's one component that you may not spend enough time thinking about: the title. "It's the content that matters, and the title is the most important aspect of that content," he said. "We recommend to our advertisers to come up with a really good 5-8 word title. Think search, keywords. Then in your webinar descriptions use lots of calls to action and tell why people should attend."

Retention - What Becomes of the Broken Hearted. "I had a young marketer who I loved—we gave her pay increases, title changes, but she still took another job," recalled Heather Farley, COO of Access Intelligence. "Sometimes they just want to be someplace different. [To counter that,] we've created hybrid roles, trying to go off-script. We listen [to what they want] and tell them, 'We can work that out.'"

Marketing - Reach Out (I'll Be There). "It's all about the readers," said Joe McEntee, associate director for IOP Publishing. "We think we know them inside out but we don't really know them in as much detail as we think we do. You [most likely have a] diverse reading base. There's a dichotomy between readers who want to explore to the full extent and readers who want to just dive in and sample. The lesson is to keep talking to those readers." They also run sponsored content. "You have to move on the opportunities as they arrive."

Collaboration - It Takes Two. "I love that I now start with a clean sheet of paper," Robin Crumby, co-founder and managing director of Novatum Group (and formerly Melcrum), said. "In order to be successful in the workplace today, we can't just be good at [one] job; we need a range of skills and to work as part of teams and collaborate."

Leadership - You've Really Got a Hold on Me. "I don't think there's enough leadership development," said Christopher Mairs of Leeds Equity Partners . "[The star is] not just the person you get on well with. Corporations have changed from developers of talent to consumers at work. There's a massive opportunity to have [a better] process in place. You need leaders in place who can take on challenges."


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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…