When asked, "How important is content in digital campaigns?" Tom explained, "Content has to be created with the target audience in mind. It's very important that you create content that can be consumed easily in small chunks. It's a fact, most people do not read. They scan, especially on smaller devices. Content that includes visuals like information graphics and short video segments are being consumed, shared and is delivering results for our clients. In the next five years, more content will be created in multiple mediums and a majority will include video, audio and the written content will have to be concise, personalized and highly relevant.
Alaina asked the panel if clients should consider redesigning their websites to be responsive? All but one member of the panel agreed that responsive design is a requirement for any company that wants to reach their target audiences, especially those on tablets and mobile devices. With Google's April algorithm release the search engine will now penalize websites in the search results if they are not mobile-friendly. Tom reinforced the fact by commenting on Google's goal of delivering the top search results based on best practice user experience, highly relevant content and optimized website pages that deliver what the visitor wants and expects.
Near the end of the session, a question was posed to the panel asking what digital creatives could do to set themselves apart to secure positions in the top digital agencies. Tom advised everyone in the audience to do more than graduate with a graphic design degree. Digital creatives need to learn to design for the responsive web; they need to understand the business of the business and be able to show digital work that represents their skill set. To stand out in a crowded job market, show people what you can do. Be creative, find unique ways to connect and show your work. Tom mentioned how a job seeker did research on Minds On and Tom specifically. The person created a quick video resume and near the end he challenged Tom to a ping pong game. It was obvious this candidate read Tom's profile and applied what he learned to get noticed. He did. He got the interview. He didn't get the job, but because he was willing to do the work to get the work he made it farther in the interview process than 90% of the other job seekers.
Tom's final words of wisdom for the audience was, "Never stop learning. Learn to be self-directed. Don't wait for someone to tell you what you should be learning. Find out what you're passionate about and learn how to do that better than anyone else."
Imagery provided by the American Advertising Federation.