Saturday, October 3, 2015

Digital Summit Phoenix 2014 Originally posted April 8, 2014

First and foremost, thank you for the opportunity to attend the inaugural Digital Summit Phoenix as a representative of Vertical Measures.  The opportunity to keep learning as this internet marketing industry evolves is a delight. Not just blowing smoke with these comments. Let me explain. March 31st (Day One) After registering shortly during or after the lunch hour, all attendees gathered for the opening keynote speech from well-known author C.C. Chapman.  To be honest, this was my first time hearing him speak, and his insight on content marketing as his speech was titled “The Beauty of Content”.  Chapman explained that concept of content marketing is not a new concept, and that creating content is an easy task. However, creating ENGAGING content is hard. To be successful, you must embrace that you are publisher, and know you are a storyteller. Despite all of these great points from C.C. Chapman, the main takeaway was to own, and operate your own website. Why? Well, the content shared on Facebook or any other platform is using space that is ‘for rent’.  Big companies such as Facebook, have the buying power to buy start-ups and other technology companies to have their platform evolve over time. Chapman then suggests content marketing requires the understanding that the more you create the easier it gets over time. Incorporating a new habit of taking pictures that could be a metaphor while out and about in your life can be visual content gold. This speech was incredibly engaging and insightful as the final comments were to trust your gut, be good humans, don’t be lazy, be smart, remember who you are, and most importantly have fun! Next session was a panel discussion about “Leveraging Digital Expertise to Bolster Your Brand” featuring Scott McAndrew of Lane Terralever, Kyle Crafton of McMurray/TMG, and John Deschener of Deutsch LA.  Despite the obvious recent introduction of each other as well as us, the audience, there was an interesting discussion by the panel.  Figure out your brand strategy such as ways to reach people, solve problems, and ascertain the reality of your goals. At some point, you have to start making something for your audience, money accountability, sharing ideas to see where they go, and break the lack of commitment.  All of these were great tips for those trying to establish their brand, but the panel failed to address ways to ‘bolster’ a brand.  However, during the question and answer part, transparency, expectations, and conversation with clients as well as the audience were heavily stressed.  This panel seemed to help those who attended in different ways based on the issues concerning brands, and the industry’s evolution. The following session about “Creating Communities” was interesting, because it began with a passionate speech by Michael Duah highlighting stories=relationships.   By Duah’s definition, story is the shortest distance between human beings and the truth, which leads to transformation, and story-giving. Duah heavily stressed making a space for gifts, NOT engagement.  All of these perspectives were eye opening, because it added more to the storytelling claims of content as well as social sharing.   Karina Kogan followed his speech with a speech about “Creating Communities for Good: Harnessing the Power of Digital Media”.   The main takeaway of her speech was that everyday consumers learn about a social issue through media, and will that content lead to action that leads to community and finally impact. Kogan suggests using the power of stories to create communities like social causes for example. Both speeches highlighted creating communities, but ultimately lead to my curiosity of how to sustain the impact and these communities. The world of digital is ever changing, and like my personal ADD nature, lacks patience. The final session of the day on my agenda was a panel about “Digital Marketing Trends for 2014” that included our very own CEO Arnie Kuenn.  The discussion about the mobile audience reaching 1 Billion via Facebook and other applications was stressed. The comparison of radio to TV to digital marketing was heavily discussed by the panel. Despite the abundance of content on the internet, marketers are required to raise their game. Thus, there isn’t this “content shock” being reported by many in the industry. One of the best ways for your content to be shared is by “word of mouth” still.  Google+ is more of a social layer for Google to learn and grow from. Yahoo is GREAT at curating content for its users, but their version of YouTube may never catch on.  Digital marketing has become about ways to accommodate how consumers use multiple screens to find and engage with content, thus the pressure for content development to be really innovative is looming.  Search whether Google, Bing, or Yahoo has become about recognizing content relevant to your normal search or likes.  iHeartRadio has found a great formula for personalization for its users, and has become a blueprint for other services. Audio is still has important today, as it was many years ago in history. April 1st (Day Two)                 Day two started bright and early highlighting “SEO Case Studies” with a speech from Melisa Saint Michael of RockFish Digital.  Google’s algorithms of Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird have changed SEO.  Keywords are no longer as relevant for search, and quality content creation is the key. Yes, this seems to be more of a continuation of the content marketing discussions from the day before.  Search is no longer linear, and relies heavily on semantic clues according to Saint Michael.  Local SEO has increased in importance as well as ways to compel consumers to click. Basically, the speech stressed search, context, and mobility for content to be received well moving forward.  The actual case studies were conducted based on coupon demand, and the specific behavior of consumers. The team at RockFish, categorized them into savings extremist, saving enthusiast, and savings pragmatist. They found that their motivation in finding coupons online was very different, and role of the channel paid an important part.  “The Secret of SEO” by J.D. Peterson concluded 70% is organic searches, and that it’s important to win local SEO with SERP binding.  My main take away from this session was that yes, local SEO is important, and content is extremely important, but again content marketing is the way to increase SEO reach. Only knowing little about advertising, “Digital Ad Strategies” was next on my agenda.  Scott Eagle of Conversant was next to speak. Eagle’s speech was focused on the myths we need to stop believing. Personalized marketing is a key to a great advertising campaign, not reverse as believed before. It NOT difficult to demonstrate digital’s impact on brick & mortar sales, thus digital is great for closing a sale and creating demand. Vendor marriage turns out to be much better than vendor dating. Using simplistic models like last click attribution get us closer, not “close enough”.  YouTube advertising has become a great advertising medium for marketing funnels, thus bringing more important engagement.  Pay attention to your audience, expression, participation, and their signals.  Main take away is that not discount video and digital advertising strategies any time soon. “Moblie Marketing Opportunities” is the next to captivate my attention. Understanding the mobile and digital landscapes is key to enhancing your current strategies.  Google is turning search and PPC toward mobile users. Facebook has turned into a great platform for native advertising and targeting as majority of the user base accesses through their mobile device(s).  Cookies tracking via cross-platform ads make for emerging mobile marketing opportunities. Remember that mobile devices are the only medium that consumers are consistently taking with them everywhere.  Therefore, geo-marketing has become very important for the mobile landscape.  More innovative ways via animated ads or applications target mobile users. Lunch Keynote speech from Roy Sekoff the founding editor of The Huffington Post, was extremely engaging/entertaining. However, it basically reiterated the importance of LIVE video conferencing via Huffington Post Live or Google+ Hangouts; a new way of advertising his successful “news” outlet to all attendees. Yet, it allowed for a great segway to the next session about “Online Video Views”.  Matt McManus & Geoff Bishop shared their insights from their work at PBS.  They defined success of video views through audience growth and engagement. Make sure to share great content (content marketing discussed before at the conference), to be everywhere, measure everything, partnerships matter, & talk to your users.  Along those lines, Todd Hartley of Wirebuzz explained that the likelihood of producing a viral video is slim. Create video in-house with a brand message along with many videos to help audience. Hartley suggests these videos will become a giving tree of how to’s and FAQ, force you to be authentic for your audience. To be incredibly honest the next panel discussion about “Big Data for Marketers” turned out to be a discussion of how to create and track big data.  We “learned” more about analytics, targeting demographics, in other words, nothing really earth shattering.  This was a shame, as I wanted to dive deep to better understand big data. Lastly, the following session combined a update of Twitter world as well as goals the team at Bing has for search.  Twitter has become medium to get closer to interests, and social TV has become huge.  Personally already knew this from experience watching TV and Tweeting at the same time.  Jason R. Dailey wanted to acknowledge the “Bing It On” campaign, enforce authentic content, and explain why search engines have changed to accommodate mobile search. Overall, Digital Summit Phoenix 2014 reiterated how Vertical Measures is way ahead of the curve in terms of content marketing.  Despite the specific topics of each session, many brands, companies, and agencies are doing what they can to find the next big “thing” in digital, whatever that may be. Statistics and demonstrations in the sessions proved that consumers evolve just as much as the industry.

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