Hosting My First Event // Digital Talk Ep.13

Digital Marketing and tech industry podcast, Digital Talk, episode #12 banner.

Digital Talk is the easy to consume podcast for busy digital marketers. The series aims to keep you in the know with the latest digital news and trends. From what was originally a weekly digital news summary, host Lachlan Kirkwood, now delves into engaging discussions covering a myriad of emerging digital topics.
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Episode #13

A little over a year ago, I’d thought of an exciting new event for Digital Marketers. I wanted to create an experience where enthusiastic Marketers could come together as a community, build real relationships, and share their knowledge with others. That’s when I thought of the Digital Marketing Hackathon – an opportunity for attendees to really challenge themselves and put their skills to the test.

With a background working in tech startups, it’s quite common for my Developer colleagues to volunteer their own time over weekends to attend Hackathons. A Hackathon is an event where Developers are provided with a theme or case study, from which they then build a real-world product to cater for.

As I regularly attend Digital Marketing meetups in Brisbane, I found the format of these events to be a little repetitive. It’s often the case that Marketers will have the chance to mingle with other industry peers, before hearing from a panel discussing a particular topic. By all means, I truly do find these events valuable, but there’s no such event that caters for Digital Marketers looking to connect on a deeper, more personal level. There’s just nowhere for us to come together and showcase what real work we’re capable of producing. That’s why I seized the opportunity to create a Hackathon for Digital Marketers, as it would provide the perfect setting to share and learn from like-minded industry peers.

I presented each of the participating teams with a case study, requiring them to prepare a real-world marketing strategy that they’d then pitch to a panel of judges. The case study focused on a hypothetical company called Visuala, who was looking to take their new SaaS product to market. Visuala was a data visualisation platform that allowed users to connect and visualise disparate data channels. With a budget of $20,000, the teams could leverage whatever resources they wanted in order to roadmap a 30, 60 and 90 day marketing strategy. As the event focussed on the importance of data-driven Digital Marketing, each team had to clearly showcase and justify their strategies with real data insights into engagement rates and user acquisition costs.

I had set up dummy ad accounts for the teams to work in, as well as prepared visual assets that could be utilised as ad creatives. The teams were also encouraged to use any other platforms or tools they had access to.

Screenshots of the data visualisation platform, Visuala

The Hackathon ran over the course of two days, including a Friday evening and a full Saturday. On the Friday night, the attendees had the opportunity to network and form teams, as well as sit in on an industry-leading panel discussing the importance of data within Digital Marketing. The panel was a fantastic way to excite everyone for the following day. I was fortunate enough to have none other than Laura Campbell from Deloitte Digital, Danielle Lewis from Scrunch, and Samuel Irvine Casey from Max Kelsen participate in some amazing discussions.

Lachlan Kirkwood moderating a data-driven Digital Marketing panel

The Saturday was set to be a full day where the attendees collaborated within their teams to hack away at the case study. Throughout the day I took the time to touch in with the five teams to get an insight into their strategies and answer any questions they had. I was so impressed by the level of diversity between each teams strategies.

As time prevailed, the day turned to night and the teams each pitched their marketing plans to the panel of judges. It was amazing to see everyone’s hard work come to life, and every presentation was truly commendable.

The Winning Team

Although all of the teams did an incredible job, at the end there could only be one winner. It was a close battle for the top spot, which was secured by team Numero Uno. Notably, the winning team was closely followed by team ABLL by just two points!

Winning team from Brisbane's data-driven Digital Marketing Hackathon

The result came down to the team’s ability to not only correctly identify the right market personas best suited to the core product, but also their use of enticing ad creatives accompanied by predictive conversion data. The team also made use of a sales funnel, where they clearly identified how many top-of-funnel users their ads would need to reach in order to later drive enough conversions to break even. By identifying the average industry conversion rates between funnel stages, they were able to make an informed assumption about how many users would convert at the bottom of their funnel. By combining this number with the product sale price, they were then able to determine when exactly in their marketing timeline they would break even.

Digital Marketing strategy forecast

The team was also the only one who created a real video asset to be used within their product ads. Under the time constraints, this was an impressive effort. You can check out the winning team’s full presentation deck here.

Other Notable Strategies

Each team provided their own unique strategies, all of which were insightful and accurately informed. One of the most common trends among all the teams was the use of influencer marketing. With access to Scrunch’s data-driven influencer marketing platform, teams were able to identify engagement rates from influencers and determine how that would convert into real product sales.

A screenshot of Brisbane's data-driven influencer marketing platform, Scrunch

It was also common for teams to prioritise ad spends at the beginning of the campaign and pay more for higher quality leads through leadgen ads or webinar sign-ups. After educating users about the product, the remaining budgets were often used to retarget custom audiences based on past engagement.

Overall the Digital Marketing Hackathon was a huge success. Each team did an incredible job of roadmapping a digital strategy that leveraged data for driving real product conversions. After working for eight hours straight, it was such a rewarding experience seeing each team’s hard work come to life.

I’d like to give a huge shoutout to all of the event sponsors, including Scrunch, Affix and Deloitte, for helping bring this event to life. I couldn’t be happier with how the event ran and I already can’t wait for what’s next!

Group photo at the Brisbane Digital Marketing Hackathon

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About me: 

I’m a twenty-two year old Digital Marketing & Conversions Specialist based in Brisbane, Australia. With a passion for all things digital and tech, I aim to connect and learn from as many like-minded digital enthusiasts as possible.