Earlier this week, I attended the American Marketing Association’s annual conference in Las Vegas as a sponsor, a speaker, and an attendee. As I was 30,000 feet in the air on my red-eye flight home I reflected on all of the wonderful conversations, informative presentations, and new connections made. There was much to digest and take away - most importantly, to never take another red-eye flight again.

Kidding aside, the major topics at the conference included the increasing importance of content marketing, how to get started with search engine optimization, a transition to a mobile-first approach for launching campaigns, building an expert marketing team, and more.

The content was informative but what struck me the most was that these topics haven’t changed much over the years. Yes, new techniques were presented but why are the subjects still the same? The reason is that marketers (myself included) aren’t fully dedicating the time to properly implement the techniques presented. They know they need to do, but they aren’t. They continue to market via traditional channels while trying to test these new waters in their spare time. And, because of that, they aren’t seeing the best return on their tests. So year-after-year, they come back to the drawing board for tips and advice.

Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor of the Content Marketing Institute commented on this point in relation to content marketing. Marketers aren’t effectively rolling out content marketing strategies because they are trying fit this approach into traditional programs, which just ends up creating more stressful to-dos without the clear return. Strategy drives success, not a list of to-dos.

Consumers are sick of email. They are sick of product pitches. They want interactive, short, social experiences that are derived from educational content. But, instead they are getting inundated with educational promotional content to their email inbox. The research has been done and consumers are telling us they want to digest information in these new ways, but our fear of letting go of traditional techniques in place of new techniques holds us back from providing the experience consumers seek.

We will change. Marketers will evolve to survive. I talked about it in my SEO presentation - start by going back to your business goals, include those fresh techniques, and deprioritize some of the older methods.

I know it sounds scary and there is a risk to throwing out the old. But that’s why we test and refine as we progress.

Stay fresh, market smart, and move forward. Let’s all make a commitment to cut out at least one soul-sucking method in 2018. Then, I expect we'll start to see some new themes and topics emerge in future marketing conferences.

For those of you curious - I will definitely be attending the annual AMA conference next year and can’t wait to see the new trends that emerge. Here are some fun photos from the Oodi team and the conference's expert photographer, Pierce Harman.

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