Takeaways from MozCon 2020

By Thursday July 30th, 2020

Our takeaways from the most interesting ideas at MozCon 2020, covering machine learning, automation, and the future of branding and promotion.

Another summer, another MozCon to delight in and learn from. Though it was a bit different this year, with an all-virtual experience (thanks 2020), our marketing team came away with many innovative techniques and new ideas that we are looking forward to implementing, in the interest of continuing to move the needle for our clients. We’ve gathered a few of the most intriguing concepts into this post, so that it might strike an idea or two for your business, as well. Let’s get into it!

Your Competitive Advantage is Your Unique Customer Benefit


  • Competitive Advantage in a Commoditized Industry with Heather Physioc

As industries become increasingly crowded and commoditized, it’s important to do a deep dive into your company’s brand to uncover its unique value in the competitive landscape.

Many companies fall into the trap of creating meaningless, vague mission statements that sound like they could belong to multiple companies. For example, does your company’s mission statement sound like this? “To obtain profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment to our customers.” Yah, a million other companies say the same thing. You need to rethink what your company’s competitive advantage is, or risk getting lost in a sea of sameness in your industry.

When defining competitive advantage, identify your company’s “Unique Customer Benefits” (which puts the customer at the center) rather than “Unique Value Propositions” (which puts the brand first).

Your competitive advantage should be unique, defensible, sustainable, valuable, and consistent. And once you find your company’s competitive advantage, don’t expect it to stay the same as the industry changes. In order for a company to compete and survive, it must evolve.

I like this quote from Heather because it exemplifies the importance of identifying your company’s competitive advantage: “You can’t be casual about competitive advantage. You have to be obsessed.”

Embrace Machine Learning


  • Accessible Machine Learning Workflows for SEOs with Britney Muller
  • The CMO Role Has Been Disrupted: Are You Ready For Your New Boss? with Wil Reynolds

The importance of machine learning is nothing new when it comes to the digital world, but if MozCon 2020 taught me one thing, it’s that it is now both accessible and essential for digital marketers.

In many cases, tools built on machine learning capabilities have slowly but surely supplanted old-ish digital marketing tactics. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, have both built lookalike audience targeting on their platform that has proven to outperform manual refinements. Paid search channels — specifically Google, of course — have gotten so effective at identifying intent based on user queries that general audience targeting has nearly made specific keyword targeting a thing of the past. Even written site content can be broken down and analyzed by Google’s Natural Language API in a way that lets us directly see how Google’s crawler categorizes words, sentences, and even sentiment to inform our overall content strategies – or even write the content for us.

Setting aside the terrifying notion that robots have advanced far enough to sound like us, this means our time as marketers is about to become a lot more efficient with less of it being spent on granular tweaks and more on high level strategies and testing. On top of that, it means marketers that embrace this type of automated learning can operate with more confidence that their targeting, creative, content, etc. will perform, rather than taking the wait-and-see approach.

Think You’re Done Promoting? Think Again.


  • How to Promote Your Content Like a Boss with Brian Dean

In 2010, Time Magazine had just announced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was Person of the Year, and digital marketers were finding great success with content marketing. This content was ranking well on Google and bringing in new leads for businesses.

Fast forward 10 years and content marketing, while still extremely effective, is not so easy. Each month, 70 million new posts appear on WordPress blogs alone. So now, we are seeing a shift from content creation, to content promotion. Brian Dean suggests 20 percent of your time being spent on creating the content and 80% spent on promoting the content, whereas a decade ago, he would have preached the opposite.

However, it’s not just enough to throw your blog on your social media accounts and call it a day. It’s time to commit and get creative. What bloggers or publishers in the industry might be interested in your content? Reach out to them! Create social posts that make people want to click on the link and read more, and make sure to include eye catching images. On average, there are 500 million Facebook stories shared daily, how do you create something that makes people stop and engage?

If you are not going to spend the time and effort promoting your content, it’s not worth the time creating the content in the first place.

To Brand Affinity and Beyond


  • How to Build a Global Brand without a Global Budget with Phil Nottingham
  • How to Go Beyond Marketing for Clients: The Value of a Thriving Brand Ecosystem with Flavilla Fongang

Generating brand awareness isn’t enough anymore. It’s what you do with that awareness that counts. As Phil Nottingham said, it’s changing the mindset from getting people to know you to getting people to like you. Building a roster of brand advocates isn’t an easy task. You need to first find your audience and then create content that speaks directly to them. Empowering your community leads to customer retention, increased lifetime customer value and one of the most powerful sales tools — recommendations through word of mouth.

No Code Automation is the Future


Everyday Automation for Marketers with David Sottimano

Let It Go: How to Embrace Automation and Get More Done with Francine Rodriguez

Marketing automation is here to streamline some of the repetitive, menial tasks that marketers have to do on a regular basis, like audits, competitive research, and large scale data crunching. Many of the talks at MozCon mentioned automation in some form, but particularly exciting are the “no code” solutions covered by David Sottimano. No code means it’s possible to set up without writing a line of code, making automation accessible to everyone!

Putting some upfront investment into getting automated processes up and running can free up a significant amount of time in the long term, time that can be spent on strategic, deep work that further moves the needle for our clients. Some ideas, guidance, and tools can be found here.

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