Event Re-Cap: The Art of Marketing 2015

On April 15th, I attended my second “The Art of Marketing” seminar in Vancouver, BC. I found last year’s event to be so inspiring that I actively applied some of the marketing and branding techniques I learned to my career as a Marketing Manager. This year’s “The Art of Marketing” event certainly did not disappoint. In the following paragraphs, I will introduce each speaker and highlight the points that resonated with me the most.

Speaker #1: Dr. Robert Cialdini

psych of influence

Author of “The Psychology of Influence,” President of Influence at Work:

Robert Cialdini spent his session introducing the psychology behind social influence. Though he discussed many principles, the one that resonated with me most was how in order to influence a customer / audience, you must first gain their trust. Once someone trusts you, it’s like a wall breaks down. They will be more willing to hear about what you have to say, and divulge their own information in return.

Cialdini introduced how to build a level of trust with your audience / customer by mentioning a weakness. Here is where psychology comes into play: as an influencer you are afforded some power immediately after you mention a weakness. It is right THEN that you should present your best argument. When you’re honest and transparent by admitting your weakness, you will gain trust.

Here are some examples of recent advertising campaigns that use a weakness to gain trust:

Avis: “We are number 2, but we try harder”

L’Oreal: “We're expensive, but you're worth it”

Buckley’s: “We taste horrible, and we work”


Speaker #2: Nir Eyre

speaker_nir_eyal hook

Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyre introduced us to a marketing / customer retention pattern called “The Hook.” The Hook forms consumer habits by having them execute a behaviour with little or no conscious thought. The cycle of habit forming behaviour is very interesting, and surprisingly simple.

Here are the four steps that a product or service needs to provide in order to “hook” a customer.

The product / service must have a Trigger, a call to Action, a Reward immediately after the action, and an Investment that builds value.

This got me thinking about how my company could apply “the hook” during our lead prospecting or nurturing process.

Social media is an example of a product that executes all four steps of “The Hook.” Take Twitter for example, the trigger would be the friend who told you about it, the action would be creating a twitter account online, the reward would be getting your free twitter account, the investment would be building your followers… this is making the service more valuable to you.


Speaker #3: Martin Lindstrom

martin L

 New York Times Bestselling Author of Buyology, Brandsense, Brandwashed & Recipient of TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People”

Within two minutes of Martin’s presentation, it was clear that he is nothing shy of a brand genius. He walked us through the research he has done globally to help build brands that speak to people’s emotions, culture, fears, joys, even their “inner age.” He also presented his “CLUE” process for creating brands that resonate with your audience.

C= Culture

L= Local

U= Understand


Before Martin’s presentation, I was aware that eliciting emotion as an advertising technique is effective, but I’ve never really thought about how much local culture could play a role in effective branding. Martin shared a great example of how he used CLUE to open the most popular grocery store around. He spent time learning about the area’s culture, local quirks, and history. Then he designed the store to show that it understood its customers, and invited them to actively engage with the store while shopping through games, tours, crafts, etc. This created an engaging customer experience that spoke to their culture, beliefs and personalities.

Speaker #4: Jackie Huba

Customer Loyalty Expert & Bestselling Author of Monster Loyalty: How Lady Gaga Turns Followers into Fanatics

Jackie was the perfect speaker to bring energy back to the conference room at around 2:30 PM. She marched onto the stage dancing to Lady Gaga playing in the background. Now, if you’re like me, I didn’t know too much about Lady Gaga, but it turns out she is arguably the most impeccable marketer and business leader in pop culture today.

Jackie’s presentation was all about how focusing on that 1% of your audience / customer base who are mega or “die hard” fans. These people basically market your brand for you, because they are so excited about it. Most brands / companies don’t pay enough attention to their “1%-ers.” Instead, they focus on getting noticed by the customers they don't yet have loyalty from. Lady Gaga grew her fan base by paying attention to that handful of fans who just loved her. She created special fan pages and engaged with them, gave them access to pre-sale concert tickets, etc. Her mega fan base grew, and she created a following that worked to portray her strong message all on their own. She calls these fans her “Little Monsters.”

This got me thinking about my company’s target audience. For example, we have a few followers on social media who are always liking and sharing our posts, i.e. promoting our brand voluntarily.  As marketers we should recognize this and figure out how to reward these customers / followers by providing them with something exclusive. They are the ones who will spread the word for us, and promote us to others…

Speaker #5: Chip Heath


New York Times Bestselling Author of Made to Stick, Switch & Decisive & Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business

Last but not least, Chip Heath began the last session of the day. During my degree program I actually studied Chip & Dan Heath’s book “Made to Stick,” which provided me with some excellent marketing tools.

Chip shared his insights on what it takes to be a good decision maker. He touched on a few key points that I can certainly apply to my career, including his “WRAP” theory:

W = Widening your options

R = Reality test your assumptions

A= Attain some distance

P= Prepare to be wrong

I especially liked “prepare to be wrong.” this encourages you to think about all the alternative decisions there may be, and to think about why you might be wrong if you chose one decision vs. another. It forces you to have an open mind and consider other options. Preparing to be wrong will also ease the blow if it turns out that you are.


Overall, The Art of Marketing, 2015 was a fantastic day-long event. With over 1000 professionals in attendance, I believe that Vancouver is now more educated on how to be expert marketers and communicators because of this event. The Art of Marketing, powered by Microsoft will also be in Toronto May 25, for tickets visit:

Any questions or comments, feel free to share in the comment box below!

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