Digital Marketing

BOLO Recap

By November 3, 2015 No Comments

Each October for all but a couple of the past seven years, members of the Callis team have traveled to central Arizona to attend BOLO, an annual digital marketing conference specifically geared to small to mid-sized agencies. It’s a perfect opportunity to stay on top of new trends, share thoughts and opinions with some of the brightest marketing minds to be found, and develop relationships with great vendors.

This year, Callis team members Megan Hartman and Chris Young both attended the two-day conference. Interestingly, this year’s focus was less on digital tools themselves and much more on how consumer’s use of digital has changed the way they consume and the way we must market to them. Here are some of the most interesting nuggets that came out of the conference:


  • We are at our best when we are hackers. A hack is defined as the most imaginative and effective solution to a problem.
  • You can’t be creative if you must be right 100% of the time. Give/get permission to be wrong 1/3 of the time, and you can be creative. Otherwise, you can never try the new and bold.
  • What is the ROI on creativity? Just because it isn’t easily defined doesn’t mean it isn’t there. What is the ROI on your conference room table? Your phone system?


  • Enjoy the relentless pursuit of making stuff better:
  • When you see a problem, ask a why question. Each time you answer it, ask another why question to dig even deeper… ask why five times. Then ask “how might we…” to make it better.
  • Fix the basics first; make things simpler.
  • Aggregate marginal gains. Look for easy 1% improvements… lots of them!
  • Show how your product makes things better for others… not for you!

Connecting with Consumers (People)

  • Pushing people to buy has quickly transitioned to enabling people to buy. Provide them with the information that they need to make a decision. Provide them with the tools to do it easily and with confidence. Give them compelling reasons to choose to do business with your brand.
  • People are people, not consumers. Thinking of them as consumers tends to dehumanize them. Think of them as people, and you’ll be more authentic in your communications.
  • Use programmatic tools to reach niche audiences at scale. When the major media options were limited to TV, radio, newspaper, and magazines, you could target consumers (people!) by placing them in large buckets with others who they didn’t relate to. This model largely no longer fits, because the model of how people consume media has changed.
  • Influencers provide a bridge to consumers. Work with influencers when it makes sense:
    • Ads using influencers are 30% more memorable and 40% more trusted.
    • Social media influencers are typically driven by passion, not profit. They won’t take a product they don’t believe in. If they do, don’t try to provide them a script: they won’t want it, it won’t be authentic, and it won’t work. Their value is in the audience that they reach and have authority with.
  • Play the long game. Remember that some luxury purchases are decided 15-20 years before the actual purchase is made: “Someday, I’m going to own a Jaguar.” Know what marketing is designed for immediate ROI and what isn’t, remember that both are important, and don’t confuse the two.
  • People are becoming accustomed to their own everyday stardom. Growing personalization leads consumers to have an expectation that they should feel like celebrities. “Dear customer” doesn’t work today. Offer the VIP experience whenever possible.

Social Media

  • Remember who you are when it comes to social media: not every company should be concerned about their number of subscribers. People tend to subscribe in order to engage with a community. As the presenter mentioned, there is a certain national fast-food chain that doesn’t have that many social media subscribers, nor should they: there is no community of people that want to hang out with others who really like that particular restaurant. That is not a thing!
  • Don’t just port your ad message to social media. It doesn’t work.

… And One Idea That Seemed to Carry Throughout the Conference

  • Be authentic. Be truthful. You are who you are, and your brand is what it is. Consumers know that. Embrace who you are, and let it show.

We attend multiple conferences through the year, always coming away from them refreshed and refocused, with new ideas for ourselves and our clients alike. This year’s BOLO conference was no exception. We look forward to helping our clients put the concepts discussed into action in their own marketing efforts. Let us know if you’d like to talk about any of the points mentioned above. We love to talk marketing!