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  • Writer's pictureAlissa Fisher

2023 Compass Learning Marketing Panel

Wednesday, October 18th at the Island Port Bar & Grill, entrepreneurs and business professionals of the Shores & Islands region gathered for the 2023 Compass Learning Marketing Panel. The Compass Learning Series, facilitated by Shores & Islands Ohio, is a low-cost continuing education program, focusing on a variety of topics that benefit the Shores & Islands region and partners presented in conjunction with Erie County Economic Development Corporation and Ottawa County Improvement Corporation.

This program featured a dynamic panel of experts who offered insights into the ever-evolving world of marketing. The panelists included Amy Fitzenrider, Senior Vice President at Communica, a full-service integrated marketing firm; Dayton Barnett, Social Media Manager at Shores & Islands Ohio and creator of Dash of Dayton, a viral social media baker; and Meg Corso, Digital Brand Specialist and owner of Exclusively BA, a local marketing and public relations consulting firm. Special thanks to Jennifer Yochem, Assistant Marketing Director from Shores & Islands Ohio, for moderating.

Let's dive into the key takeaways:


1. Brand vs. Marketing:

The conversation kicked off with a discussion on the distinction between brand and marketing. It was emphasized that a brand is a company's essence, the way it lives and breathes every day. Marketing was described as showing up and putting content out there. The consensus was that both elements are crucial, with branding forming the core identity and marketing disseminating that identity to the world.


2. The Power of Storytelling:

Storytelling emerged as a compelling tool in marketing. Dayton shared his approach to using video to narrate events in chronological order, while Amy stressed the importance of storytelling as a means to engage with the audience. She reminded us that social media is not just marketing; it's about having a conversation and considering what your audience wants to hear. Meg highlighted the significance of authenticity in storytelling.


3. Content Creation and Management:

Entrepreneurs often wear multiple hats, and time management and content creation can be significant challenges. Meg suggested focusing on excelling in one platform. Amy recommended establishing your brand presence across platforms even if you're not posting on all of them consistently. The panel stressed the importance of quality over quantity in content creation.


4. Sharing vs. Posting Original Content:

The consensus was that a combination of sharing and posting original content is valuable. Supporting others in the business ecosystem is important to stay relevant and support important partners. Showing messy moments can be good and shows authenticity and humanity.


5. Social Media Platforms:

The discussion touched on various social media platforms, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Twitter was deemed useful for announcements, especially for local media and journalists. LinkedIn was celebrated for thought leadership and recruitment, while Facebook was thought as a great way to reach a broad audience. Instagram and TikTok were recognized for their ability to reach younger audiences.


6. Hiring for Social Media Management:

It was discussed if you are small business with a tight budget, it may be worth hiring high school or college interns for social media management. Panelists recommended spending time with them to ensure they understand the brand and can effectively deliver its message.

7. Posting Timing and Tools:

The panel suggested using optimal posting times you get from Meta Business Suite as a baseline and that it may be useful to run your own tests for optimal engagement. Tools like Hootsuite or free tools per each platform were recommended for scheduling and automating posts.


8. Trends and Additional Learning:

The panel highlighted the importance of staying updated with industry trends, leveraging trending sounds, and checking out what others in your industry are using. They also recommended following thought leaders in your industry for additional learning.


9. Data and Website Management:

Knowing your customers and their contact information, maintaining an updated website, and utilizing blogs were emphasized. Reviews and search engine optimization (SEO) were recognized as pivotal in the digital landscape noting that Google products are often free to use and can be learned through online tutorials. Travis Nash, Content Management System (CMS) Manager at Shores & Islands Ohio, highlighted the significance of setting clear goals for your website, updating it regularly, and creating a visitor plan.

The 2023 Compass Learning Marketing Panel offered a wealth of knowledge and insights for marketing professionals and business owners alike. The takeaways from this event will undoubtedly guide attendees toward more effective marketing strategies in the ever-evolving digital landscape.


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