Nine brilliant lessons from SAScon 2015


By Ruth Hartnoll
This year’s SAScon featured some great lessons for marketers.

Some old truths presented themselves; if you want to keep marketers happy feed them sweets and give them promo stress balls.

But some other lessons also came to the fore.

Here are nine valuable lessons from the Friday sessions; see how you can apply them to your own marketing efforts.

1. If you want your staff to engage with your brand, tell their spouses what they’re doing at work

The Talk: Get a better idea of how to use social media in a fun way, and how to measure it.
Lesson From: Yossi Erdman at

One of the most energetic and engaging speakers of the day was Yossi Erdman from

As a company that specialises in fridges, freezers and other white goods you wouldn’t have thought they’d produce some of the most valuable social media lessons. But they did.

Yossi explained that while their customer service was excellent, their drivers and delivery crew were letting them down. People were leaving messages on Facebook stating their annoyance. So decided the best way to change this was to show the feedback the drivers were getting to the drivers’ spouses.

They delivered a pamphlet every month to the drivers’ homes, showing both positive and negative feedback. Soon, the drivers’ partners started scanning the book. They wanted to see if their husband or wife was doing a good job.

Needless to say, customer service improved exponentially, with the drivers encouraging customers to leave feedback with their names on Facebook. Brilliant!

2. Sometimes the most helpful advice can come from the audience

The Talk: Women in Digital
Lesson From: An audience member

The Women in Digital talk was responding to a survey carried out by The Candidate on the state of women in digital.

Are women getting into directors roles? Are they earning as much as their male counterparts?

In the companies surveyed there were 1,131 men in management roles, compared to 441 women. Only 9% of women surveyed were developers, with a strong leaning towards ‘soft skills’ such as PR and communications. In light of this the audience were lively in their responses.

The most practical advice, however, came from an audience member who suggested women become school governors and speakers at universities to educate the next generation that women play a pivotal role in marketing. It was almost universally agreed that education was the biggest downfall for both men and women in digital, and this was a key area that needed to be addressed, especially by women.

3. Have people throw balls at you if you want to be memorable

The Talk: Content Beyond Infographics. (Should really have been called: Ballsy Content and Newsjacking)
Lesson From: Jon Burkhart

Anyone who attended Jon Burkhart’s energetic, helpful and entertaining talk on newsjacking and ballsy content will remember it.

A lot of the advice was hugely helpful.

But what I’ll definitely remember is throwing balls at him – his ‘ginger balls’ – whenever he showed us a ‘ballsed up marketing idea’. I have the ball next to me now. It’s staying on my desk.

Main blog image via Jon’s Storify on SAScon.


4. If you want to win over an audience, swear throughout your presentation

The Talk: Quality Content on Scale
Lesson From: Stacey MacNaught at Tecmark

Our own Stacey MacNaught gave a hugely helpful talk on producing quality content on scale featuring a wealth of advice you can follow and implement in your own marketing efforts.

And she also offered another lesson: if you swear a lot in your presentation, people will engage with you more. Stacey even managed to have her Nana swear – and she wasn’t even there.

You can find her whole presentation, with recommended reading and swearing Nana, on Slideshare.

5. Put a trust message on your homepage, not a sales pitch

The Talk: Get a better idea of how to use social media in a fun way, and how to measure it.
Lesson From: Yossi Erdman at

The incorrigible Yossi also taught us about brand image. decided to change their homepage from products and offers to their TrustPilot reviews and social following (which is mightily impressive for a company that sell fridges and freezers).

Suddenly became about its customers, not its products. Simple, but effective.

6. Journalists are lazy: talk to them in short sentences

The Talk: Working With Publishers
Lesson From: Journalist Angela Epstein

While Angela Epstein was one of the most contentious speakers of the day, she also offered some of the most helpful and practical advice.

Her years in journalism have taught her how to deal with agencies and brands in an effective and beneficial way to her own work; she’s good at what she does.

Her advice was simple: offer information to journalists in truncated sentences. They’re lazy.

7. Go against all the traditional writing rules; give your story away in the first line of your press release

The Talk: Working With Publishers
Lesson From: Journalist Angela Epstein

Another great piece of advice from Angela: when writing a press release, use short sentences and tell them what you’re talking about quickly.

Don’t make the job hard; tell your story immediately.

The exact opposite of this is true in most other forms of writing, but journalism is a beast onto itself. People need information quickly. Give them it.

8. If you want people to engage on social media, ask them to count something in a picture

Image via’s Facebook.

The Talk: Get a better idea of how to use social media in a fun way, and how to measure it.
Lesson From: Yossi Erdman at

Yossi also explained that asking people to count something in a picture resulted in some of the most engaging content on’s social media campaigns. It sounds stupid, but it really works.

Thousands of people respond to these types of posts, despite the answer already being there 1,000 times before their own. People love free stuff.

9. Jump around a lot if you want to be remembered last thing on a Friday

The Talk: Content Beyond Infographics
Lesson From: Jon Burkhart

Jon Burkhart taught us, again, that keeping the attention of marketers is hard – especially with the pub beckoning.

Jon’s response to this was to jump around a lot, as well as having balls thrown at him. I’d recommend it.

Plus, it makes great photo stills.

What did you learn at SAScon 2015? Tell us in the comments below.

Feb 28, 2013
Daniel Morehead

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