The annual Turing Fest conference takes place in Edinburgh with this year seeing the first physical iteration of this inspiring event return since Covid.
Turing Fest brings together the best minds and talent in global tech to share learnings, insights and advice on building and scaling up products and business. There are three key pillars that underpin the fest which heavily hint towards it’s start up/scale up beginnings. These pillars are Build, Lead, Grow.
Build: product management, software development, design & UX, data science
Grow: digital marketing & advertising, growth, sales & revenue, customer success
Lead: strategy, scaling, leadership & company culture, operations & org design
Brian Corcoran (CEO at Turing Fest) opened day 1 by welcoming us all by talking about the journey Turing Fest has been on, and how he did think at times, early in the pandemic, that the event may never run again.
This made the 2021 fest even more of a significant occasion for the tech and marketing sectors. This is a landmark event in the industry calendar and it offers a fantastic opportunity for marketers, business owners and tech providers to enhance their knowledge and deliver better services & products when they head back to the office (or virtual office).
As you’d expect we couldn’t attend every talk and there was so much to take away from this event, so grab a coffee and join Jordan and myself as we delve into the range of topics covered and provide you with our key takeaways from some of speakers across this 2 day event.
Turing Fest Day 1 – Highlights
Talk title: ‘How to build a Face melting Brand strategy to supercharge your growth’
Day one kicked off with many rock references that our very own Phil McEwan would appreciate. Leading the early days of LinkedIn’s marketing strategy as an analogy, Jason Miller’s energetic style focused on one key concept: Where does your business want to position and how is it going to own that space’s conversation?
For example, Which keywords do you want to rank for and how do you build the conversation from there? We later found, the running theme throughout the two days of talks was to have one big rock of content, and squeeze it in every situation. Your job is then to amplify, amplify and amplify some more. Jason spoke around how he used Influencers in the early days of his start up and how micro-influencers are a great resource to influence conversations, especially in the B2B space. It’s well worth considering this as part of your content marketing and distribution strategy.
Talk title: Website Sustainability: Knowing the Impact & Taking Action
An interesting talk from the first morning of the fest came from Izzy Smith (SEO & UX Team Lead, Ryte). Izzy brought the issue of website and tech sustainability to the stage which was particularly poignant with the Cop26 happening just a few miles down the road at the same time as the event.
The impact that tech and websites have on the wider global carbon outlook is something that gets very little coverage in mainstream media and in all honesty, is not something that agencies would consider in the day to day, hussle and bussle of delivering projects for clients.
Nonetheless, the carbon footprint of internet systems and gadgets make up around 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To put this into perspective – that’s about the same as the airline industry. An incredible stat that got the whole crowd thinking about the part their own websites & clients websites could play in the mission to achieve net zero emissions.
Izzy discussed a range of tips and tricks to help find efficiencies in website performance KPIs that will ultimately reduce the carbon impact that websites leave in their wake. These ranged from switching to a green hosting provider, compressing file sizes, optimising site navigation, creating a dark mode website to name just a few.
Many of the points raised are key considerations and factors that our SEO team at StrategiQ would already look to implement from a usability and performance perspective, so it was reassuring that these best practices are also having a positive impact on reducing carbon footprint too.
This is an area that will only become more prevalent in the months and years to come as the world comes together in every sector and industry to do their bit towards reducing emissions and seeking a carbon neutral future. There are likely to become more and more incentives and accreditations in this space as well.
Talk title: How to Build a Perfect Website
Jono Alderson’s session about how to build the ultimate website was a key highlight for us on day 1. He started by asking some pretty hard hitting questions such as: If the quality of our websites determines how well they perform, then why are they all so terrible?
From Start-ups to enterprises and everything in-between, Jono discussed how organisations are allowing their slow and sometimes even broken websites cost them a fortune in missed opportunities. Jono walked us through some of the biggest major e-commerce brands in the world, reviewing their website and you guessed it… not having the best websites in the world. The metrics he was using to review? Core Web Vitals and some interesting research and rankings from Pingdom.
Why we found this so fascinating is because Jono later answered the question after reviewing the big bad and ugly, how do you create the ultimate website; and more importantly, what systems and processes do you need to follow to get there? Lucky for our clients at StrategiQ, something we live by is making sure that Core Web Vitals is continually reviewed by our Marketing and Development teams and it was refreshing to see the care that we take with our website builds in action acknowledged as a gold standard in the industry. In Jono’s second half of his talk he mentions the tech stack that fits the best mould for a perfect website. Fortunately for us and our clients, this was music to our ears as he lists off our tech stack for our builds.
- The best CMS? WordPress,
- The best SEO Tool, Yoast?
- The best security set up? Cloudflare.
Although the session was great and a new way of looking at building the ultimate website with some some golden nuggets were taken away, it’s just as great to know that we are the gold standard of website design and build here at StrategiQ
Talk Title:Building Spaceships… in Glasgow?!
The last session we attended on day 1 was from Tom Walkinshaw and as you have just read, it was a bit of a left-field title… it worked with great effect, being one of the busier sessions of the fest. What we didn’t expect was what was to unfold from Alba Orbital, a Glasgow based space company that’s aim is to build and launch satellites that weigh less than 1kg. That’s right, less than 1kg..
The aim of the company is to photograph the earth every 15minutes. The impact of this is incredibly useful for Wildfire analysis, mining and tidal monitoring among other great benefits. Sometimes it’s worth going to sessions like this to show the art of what is possible and some cool things that are a bit left field of your day job. As we came away from the session Charlie and I were talking about application, marketing tools and having our very first StrategiQ Space Client, we will let you know the progress!
A ‘thank you’ to our friends…
The end of Day 1 saw the the StrategiQ team meet up with our friends at Mailchimp for a long overdue catch up – with ‘face to face’ opportunities only now becoming a possibility once again. The ‘indian style’ tapas at Dishoom was much appreciated with the team! The evening also provided an opportunity to meet with agency peers at Sitebulb and Bridge Interactive who were also in attendance at Turing Fest this year. A great evening symbolised once again why these industry events are so important as we move away from a ‘Zoom only’ networking environment.
Turing Fest Day 2 – Highlights
Talk Title: What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There: how to make the move from specialist to leader
Paddy Moogan (Co-founder at Aira) raised an interesting point in the agency world whereby as channel specialists progress in their careers, they will often reach a point where the only ‘next step’ will be to go into management. They could all of a sudden be thrust into a situation where they have had no formal training, they have simply become a very very good practitioner and now enter a world where they have little or no experience. Musing the point that “what got you here, won’t get you there”.
Paddy showed a recent Twitter poll that he ran asking how many managers/team leaders actually had any training or preparation before they become managers….this was the answer:
A key point from the session is that whilst future leaders and managers will not have ‘experience’ in their early career, they can often show signs and traits that will be well suited to a future role in management. But it HAS to be spotted and nurtured early on with the view of preparing that individual for future leadership.
What are those traits to look out for? Well, it’s worth looking what great leaders do:
- They take ownership
- They take accountability
- They empathise
- They show emotional intelligence
- They widen their influence
- They generalise rather than specialise
- They reduce their ego
- They reframe what their personal success looks like
- They care about culture
- They understand the value of diversity
In essence….these are all traits that can be demonstrated and seen in junior members of a team. If you spot it, act on it. Because future growth of any business will hinge on good future leaders. Hiring them in can often be costly and controversial amongst current team members. Future proof your growth by helping those specialists on the journey to become a leader from a specialist.
Talk Title: How to defeat boring in your marketing and get started with Video
Chris Savage CEO of Wistia dialled in via Zoom to give a really interesting remote session about the power of video in your marketing mix, specifically for B2B clients. Chris showed us a few video pieces that Wistia worked on for their clients and also for their own marketing and brand.
The spin here was that they were not big production pieces but actually interesting micro video content to amplify their objective. For example, Wistia created video content that they send out to their new applicants as part of their interview process. The execution? A weather forecast style video, comedically timed with the feelings a candidate would go through when coming to the office for an interview. Nerves, where to go, and the process of Wistia’s post interview were all shown in a light hearted approach.
Why is this important?
You need to give people a reason to connect with your brand, you are going to need to find innovative ways to be interesting. They gave themselves permission to build the creativity into their marketing through video and they are a B2B business. We are also seeing this across Social Media platforms and Brands now such as TikTok.
The key takeaway here is to find small / micro moments to influence and be better with video. The small touch-points with your brand are what matters and if you can push your creativity and approach, you will win promoters for your business, and you might even have some fun doing it!
Talk Title:Marketing Isn’t about who arrives, it’s about who stays.
A quote positioned by Ashley Faus that was a great opener to an even better session. Her analogies were quite simple, she had us thinking about a playground. What is your favourite equipment and order when you go into a playground? The short answer is; there isn’t one. Everyone enters and exits as they come and go, in any order and use whatever they want to. Personally I’d stay clear from the Merry-go-round, it never seemed to agree with me..
If we are to take this analogy to marketing, how do your customers engage with your sales process? Or what about your content? Is there a ‘right’ way? We all have a desired path, but how frustrating is it when you can’t make it to the next stage because of a particular block put on by the company we are trying to buy from or access their content?!
The session was built around this traditional sales and marketing funnel and it being ‘dead.’ Whilst this is a pretty bold statement, Ashley repositioned it to be more about how we can improve the traditional funnel, rather than killing it off completely! In fact, the analogy in question brought in a domed jungle gym as another way of thinking about the customer journey – for reference, it looks something like this:
So instead of a very structured and linear funnel, Ashley suggested that there could be a more dynamic reality that customers must navigate on route to a purchase.
Treat the buyer’s journey as a playground. Still with an objective of having fun, accessing content or making a sale, but make sure your content and set up is right so that there is no right or wrong way to engage with your business.
To do this? Ashley introduced the Narrative Framework with the following steps:
Content Depth – Conceptual theoretical and philosophical in nature, focus on the what and the why of the idea – why would someone want to engage with your content? What value does that bring to them as a person and in their role?
Strategic – focus on the process, tools and key knowledge components that must be included to make the conceptual ideas a reality – How are they going to to use your content and what do you want them to feel and do? How are you setting your content up for success in what its intended purpose is?
Tactics – perspective, step-by-step instructions and specific exercises to help your audience implement the conceptual and strategic ideas – How often are you calling out your audience in your content to do a specific action? Engage online or send to a friend?
Ashley’s presentation continued and went into more depth about the metrics, channel and asset type, however the key takeaway for us was the need to focus on not creating your own barriers to a customers path of action. Whether that is in sales, content or any other aspect in business, make sure you are creating a clear path for your customer to do business with you. Focus on what value you want your content/process to deliver, how its going to do that and what you are going to do. The Marketing funnel isn’t dead, it just needs reworking.
If you missed out on attending this year or Turing Fest simply wasn’t on your radar, we would highly recommend considering getting involved. Turing Fest is perfect for those that are in the Startup space or looking to learn about growing their business. The tracks of build, grow and lead are brilliant for both those working on a new business, growing an existing business or looking to take on a leadership role in the future.
With a high level of quality speakers across the industry, the two days come highly recommended with even having a bit of time for networking and a beer or two! For us, It’s been great to catch up with our Partners at Mailchimp and connect with real live people again! A lot to start thinking about in terms of tweaking our processes and thinking, but Turing Fest 2022, we will see you there.