Inspiration in the Nation! Live From The Marketing Nation Summit Day 2

Modern Marketing


The Marketing Nation Summit has come to a close! As I sit here on my couch (in my pajamas) writing the day 2 recap blog, I am feeling very inspired (and exhausted) from the whirlwind that was Marketo Marketing Nation Summit.

This was my fourth Summit and it is amazing to see how far we have come! As the marketing landscape continues to shift, each year keeps getting better and better. There is so much to talk about when it comes to modern marketing. From building complex multi-channel, multi-device relationships, to having 1:1 personalized conversations, to the Internet of Things, and more, The Marketing Nation Summit always has insights from the best and the brightest.


This year we had a diverse set of keynotes (including a musical performance from John Legend), a kick-butt set of thought leadership sessions, an amazing Great Gatsby-style party at the San Francisco City Hall (tres chic), an exhibit hall filled with valued partners, and of course, the best of breed marketers from around the world.

I wanted to focus my recap on today’s keynote session since it moved so many people and really left me feeling inspired. Take a look at some of the reactions across social:





The Era of Engagement

One of the consistent drum beats during Summit was the concept of engagement marketing—a strategy based on building valuable, personal relationships with customers through messages that resonate in the right place, at the right time. The morning keynote, kicked off by Marketo’s CMO Sanjay Dholakia, went into more detail about what engagement marketing is and what it means for the marketing nation.

Sanjay breaks it down in an incredibly easy format—the ABCDE’s of engagement marketing. Let’s take a look:

Engagement marketing is about engaging people:

  • As Individuals: Today’s buyers need hyper-relevant communications. And as a marketer, you need to provide individualized messages that resonate.
  • Based on What They Do: Engagement marketing should be based on behaviors—what your customers are actually interested in. Demographics are simply not enough.
  • Continuously Over Time: You need to build these relationships on an ongoing basis, getting to know your customers throughout the customer journey.
  • Directed Towards an Outcome: Engagement marketing is about relationship building towards a goal—moving your buyers through the stages of their journey.
  • Everywhere They Are: You must move seamlessly between online and offline channels, desktop, mobile, and social. You must be present where your customers are interacting!

If you want to learn more about each of the ABCDE’s in more detail, be sure to check out our ebook The 5 Principles of Engagement Marketing!



 Inspiring and Reimagining Education

Next, Sanjay introduced Salman Khan, Founder and Executive Director of the Khan Academy, to discuss his version of “inspiration in the nation.” For those who are not familiar, Khan Academy seeks to educate and inspire students. Their mission is to “deliver free, high quality education to everyone.” The Academy does this through their series of relatable videos, screen captures, and software programs. Sign me up!


Salman shared what inspires him and how the Khan Academy came to be. His story was truly fascinating—in short, the idea for the Khan Academy came from his passion for helping his younger cousins become better math students—a subject they were struggling in at school. What started out as a series of phone-calls, quickly moved to YouTube videos created for his family, and eventually turned into a full-time project where he worked to reimagine and disrupt the world of education. His courses are meant for the student (anyone, anywhere) to learn at their own place as an additional supplement to their scholastic education.

He spoke about how people generally fall into two categories—a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe they are who they are. As an example, a person with a fixed mindset might believe “I am simply bad at math.” People with a growth mindset are more likely to step out of their comfort zone and embrace failure. A person with a growth mindset might think that “I am going to try math and it is OK if a fail because I know eventually I will learn.” In addition to helping students with subjects like math and science, the Khan Academy also sets out to help students develop this growth mindset. According to Khan, “failure is only another word for growing and we are born to learn”.

Salman also showed a few success story videos from students that the Khan Academy has helped grow in their education and careers. One student video showcased a student that had dropped out of high school twice. He found Khan Academy and ended up graduating as the valedictorian of his class. He then went on to Princeton and eventually interned at the Khan Academy, where he recently was offered a full time job. It was an amazing success story and a true testament to looking at eduction from a different angle. There is no one-size-fits-all approach.

So while Salman’s speech wasn’t explicitly about marketing, it was about inspiration, thinking outside the box, and the entrepreneurial spirit—all subjects that we, as marketers, must think about in our day-to-day.

What an awesome event! I can’t wait for next year in Las Vegas! What was your favorite takeaway from this year’s Summit? And what are your looking forward to next year?