Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Marketing Conference stresses that good marketing requires carefully conceived Internet "publication" strategy

Today I attended the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Conference at the Gannett facility near Tysons Corner, VA.
Robit Bhargava opened the day with “Ten Top Digital Marketing Trends” before a very full auditorium. I got there a little late, and didn’t know hot breakfast sandwiches had been served.

Sean Murphy, an EVP of Customlink described his T-shirt business, which can produce T-shirts with any customer inscription, and talked about the first million dollar day. He talked about “Untrends”, starting with over dependence on likeonomics of social media.  “Search is still king” he said.  He also mentioned “WYSIATI, “What you see is all there is.”  That is, what a potential customer sees.

Jennifer LaFrance spoke from McCormick and Co, and noted that “comedy is a series of anecdotes, relevant to the audience.”  That sounded like she was talking about comedy films or SNL videos.  I had just shown some people my movie review of “10 Rules for Sleeping Around”, which sounds a bit like “20 Online Marketing Tips You Can Use Next Week” (Julia Quinn, from Amtrak).

There was a panel “The Intersection Point: Where Content, Social and Sales Collide”.  Stacey Piper from ICF was on the panel; I had worked for that company indirectly when I worked for Lewin in 1989.  Piper mentioned the experience with the benefit of some upper level employee’s personal blogs, which I had always seen as a potential for “conflict of interest”, as I mentioned to her in a brief conversation afterward.

Marty Moe, president of Vox Media, gave a pre-lunch Fireside Chat, and explained the new media company.  I challenged him from the audience on the idea that one can really present the reader with “all she needs to know”, with complex and changing issues like gay marriage and the security of the power grid.

By lunchtime, a certain theme had developed among all the speakers.  Marketing teams needed to think of themselves as like publishers. They needed to provide customers with all they needed to know, and not just with press releases.  I had always been told that "writers" need to learn to sell (or at least write "what other people want").  
Right after lunch, some digital ad agencies showed their work. Viget showed an interactive “app” that could show baseball footage for any position as a way to market for Dick’s Sporting Goods.

In the afternoon, a presentation by Mike Tirone, Digital Marketing Search Strategist R2, “The Future of Search Marketing Starts with Content”, talked about the changes in search engine optimization, noting that Google had changed its algorithm 18 times in 2013.  There is more emphasis on quality of content, from “verified writers” (which may explain with results from Book Search often lead off), the analytics from sites listed (such as bounce rate), and sometimes some social media interactions of the person (although that seems murky; how would this even be done?)  

More than one speaker mentioned cross-networking, the need to mention work of other people with whom you could collaborate, particularly in arts and media (like film and music). 
I mentioned that there is much more emphasis in channeling resources to people with “needs” (and asking strangers to "step up") through the Internet than was possible when I was growing up. 

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