10 Takeaways from Pubcon 2021

In 2019 I made a choice to register for Pubcon 2020 in Miami after a recommendation from the fabulous Lisa Buyer. A few weeks before it was supposed to start in March, the entire world shut down. It was the first of many events canceled. After about a year and a half, the rescheduled conference finally happened, although it probably looked a lot different than previous conferences. There were masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer galore.


Pubcon began over 20 years ago in a London Pub (hence the Pub Conference became Pubcon). Today they offer in-depth advanced educational sessions for marketing and web specialists in a wide breadth of topics. The goals of the conference are to educate, inform, inspire, network, and have fun!


I soaked up three days jam-packed with sessions and took 13 pages of notes. Lucky for you, I rounded up my ten favorite takeaways to share on the Goat Social Blog. Let's dive in!


Kassie's Top 10 Takeaways from Pubcon 2021


1. Neuroscience in Ad Copy - In Roger Dooley's session, he broke down the liking and unity principle. An example of the Liking Principle would be to include dogs in an ad to appeal to dog owners. Whereas the Unity Principle is "liking on steroids." The Unity principle moves beyond surface-level similarities. It promotes the human nature of wanting to belong. A great example I relate to is being a Florida State University Seminole. Knowing this and applying it to campaigns can have a more substantial impact on success.

2. Influencer Marketing - In Lee Odden's Session, he fought for the cause of why B2B businesses should use influencers based on three ideas: Silenced social reach, information overload, and overall consumer distrust of brands. Social media is competitive, and organic social impressions are declining. Using influencers can maximize the reach. Social media has also become a dumping ground for information and influencers can help break down this information overload by promoting content and brands more naturally. Consumers also know that brands can say whatever they want online. Therefore, hearing an industry leader or someone with a large following, whether a celebrity or a micro-influencer, can help earn consumer trust.

3. Social Proofing - In Stephan Spencer's session, he explained the need for social proof and how to apply it to your website. Social Proof includes highlighting interviews, videos, links, publications, and testimonials in your digital media. This "proof" can set you apart from the competition and add credibility, especially in competitive markets.

4. Content - In Michelle Dvorak-Held's session, she dove into how every piece of content we share on the global internet defines where someone is from. For example, favor vs. favour in a caption or dollars vs. euros on the shopping tab. Being aware of nuances can open you up to business all over the world.

5. Marketing to People - In Elmer Boutin's session, the best marketing practices were discussed using a human-centered and data-driven approach. How can you give the customer a brick-and-mortar experience in the digital world? Being authentic and human can help achieve this. Many brands come off as robotic or stale when online, so being aware is a big step.

6. Paid Campaign Hacks - In Navah Hopkins' session, one of my favorite takeaways is front-load brand value in videos. We know as marketers that it's hard to capture attention and keep it, so you need to put the value at the beginning of the video in case the user only watches the first 10-seconds. It makes sense! We're in a generation that doesn't even watch commercials, so why should someone watch a video ad on social media? Give the consumer a reason.

7. Facebook Advertising - In Alex Houg's session, the dreadful iOS14 update was discussed and what it means for Facebook ads. The best tip from that session is to optimize for on-platform events. If the data is restricted, collect leads right on Facebook and Instagram and encourage actions directly in the platform, such as Instagram Shopping and engagement.

8. Tacking iOS14 on Facebook - In Michelle Morgan's session, she also tackled the iOS14 update and made me feel better by saying even if Facebook is losing insight, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are losing sales; you need to track differently and be aware.

9. Standout in the Crowd - Tim Halloran's session mentioned that native-looking content with low production outperforms high professional content in social media campaigns. The more your ad can blend it like an organic piece of the content, the better. For example, a TikTok ad needs to have the feel of a TikTok video. This can be achieved by editing in the TikTok app and by adding trending music accompanied with killer dance moves.

10. The COVID Consumer -John Lawson's session covered how the consumer has evolved drastically during COVID. My favorite quote from him was, "Money Moves... Figure out where the consumer is going." It's true! The money isn't disappearing, but the way people spend money changes. From taxi cabs to Uber, hotels to Airbnb, you can succeed if you stay on the latest trends!


In summary, Pubcon was exciting and I am so thankful I was able to attend. As a young entrepreneur and business owner, I was inspired networking and listening to successful marketers. COVID has taught us that there is something so special about in-person events and interaction, and I hope to continue to see conferences return, and I cannot wait to attend another one soon.



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