All of the incredible speakers and excitement (and threat of weather-enforced cancellation) at C3 this year centered around one key idea: that however you are marketing, whoever you’re marketing to, whatever you’re marketing for, your focus should be on people.

Your audience. Your customers and prospective customers. And the content you’re creating should be focused on providing value and helping those people.

Customer-first marketing. Humanizing marketing. Welcome to the new marketing, a charge led by all of the talented people who attended C3 last week.

So without further ado, here are the highlights from our keynotes:

Day 1:

Seth Besmertnik, CEO and Co-Founder of Conductor: Marketing for Good: How Marketing Can Change Lives

Conductor has been developing new features in our product, reimagining our entire sales process, and building a company ethos around people-first culture because we truly believe in practicing what we preach: marketing can be a force for good in the world.

Seth Besmertnik reminded us that people rely on Google as a tool to help them deal with things in their actual lives. If we are creating valuable, useful content as marketers, with the purpose of bettering the lives of our customers and potential customers, results will follow. Traffic will follow. Revenue will follow.

Joe Pulizzi, Founder of CMI: How to Generate Direct Revenue from Your Marketing Program

Too many companies focus on the value of their products and services, and not on the value of the actual content delivered to their customers and potential customers. But Joe Pulizzi has a vision for a new marketing model: marketing that creates so much value for our audiences that it actually pays for itself.

That process starts with a content mission statement that focuses on the outcome for your audience: what can your brand, your organization provide to help the consumers of your content?

Once you have your mission statement, you can develop and monetize those assets to create revenue streams for your organization. Let the value of the content guide you: create things that will make your audience’s lives better.

Ryan Skinner, Senior Analyst from Forrester: Marketing’s Customer Obsession Imperative

Marketers who don’t recognize that marketing needs to live and die by the value provided to customers are swiftly going out of style. Ryan Skinner described how the obsession with customer value is the new imperative for all marketers.

The Age of the Customer is right now, and it’s “time to bring customers as close as possible and as often as possible to the point of creation and decision making for your brand.” This isn’t necessarily something that happens naturally; you need to develop your customer obsession muscle to really make it a foundational part of your marketing strategy.

Adam Neumann, CEO and Co-Founder of WeWork, and Seth Besmertnik, CEO and Co-Founder of Conductor: Fireside Chat

Conductor had some additional big news last week: our acquisition by WeWork. Our CEO sat down for a chat with Adam Neumann live at C3 to discuss the new partnership and what it would mean for the future of marketing.

WeWork is going to help Conductor in its mission to humanize marketing, in the same way that WeWork has been revolutionizing workspaces. Prioritizing making the places we work a valued part of our lives is at the heart of the WeWork culture, and our partnership will allow Conductor to bring the same approach to marketing at a much greater scale.

And let’s not forget our special guests… the Jersey Boys!

Day 2:

Allison Levine, Author of On the EdgePeakonomics: Success Strategies for Marketers from the 7 Summits

Do you ever have one of those days that never seems to end, where nothing gets done the way it’s supposed to and everything seems to take twice as long (at least) as it should? Imagine having one of those days, but you’re also climbing Mt. Everest, and can only take one step every 5 minutes. It might sound extreme, but that experience is going to teach you a lot of patience and perseverance, attributes all marketers need.

Viewing marketing as a team exercise, in which you trust the people you work with, deeply understand the audience you’re marketing to, and have buy-in and visibility all the way to the top of your organization, is essential to success in the future. Whether you’re climbing a mountain or building an email nurture campaign, you can’t do it alone.

Wil Reynolds, Founder of Seer Interactive: SEOpoly- It’s All About Real Estate

We tend to think of organic marketing and paid search as two separate buckets, but that’s not what customers actually experience: they care about finding solutions, not whether those solutions come from paid ads or organic links. Wil Reynolds explained how to use PPC data to build the business case for organic marketing campaigns.

Aligning your content with the right keywords is essential to getting the right people the right content at the right time. Customer voice and customer intent are insights you can pull from both organic and PPC data.

Panel: Duane Forrester, Kelly Watkins, Lisa Kalscheur, Lou Cohen, Louis Gray, Mike Grehan: What’s Next? Marketing 2018 & Beyond

We wrapped up the final day of C3 with a truly stacked panel of marketing experts, who dug into what’s to come for marketing in 2018.  The idea of value, of actually speaking to people as people, was a top priority.

We talk a lot about creating stories and building narratives, and nobody does it better than the marketers we had on New World Stages this year. But we’re not creating stories for their own sake, we’re creating them because that’s what resonates with those millions of searchers out there. We are optimizing our content not for search engines, but for the searchers behind those queries.

And of course, the infamous C3 after party gave us plenty of stories for next year…

Thanks to all who attended; we can’t wait to see you again next year!

But the main thing to remember: marketing (and business) is about people, and every day you should strive to keep people front of mind. In every campaign, every blog post, every decision.

Learn more about customer-first marketing and implementing it on your marketing team.

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