I recently attended BOLO2009 in Scottsdale, AZ, a digital media conference for small-to-mid sized, independently minded agencies, focusing on search, social, mobile, & email advertising. There, I spent two and a half days (plus several late nights) focused on digital marketing: where it’s at, and where it’s headed. As the Interactive Director here at Callis & Associates, I definitely felt in my element!
Since 2008, we’ve been expanding our digital marketing efforts and capabilities. BOLO2009 confirmed that we’re on the right track and while it gave me additional fuel to help us get even further.
Online marketing has evolved into something very different from previous media. Logically providing information to the consumer (i.e., an online brochure) does little to take advantage of truly unique online marketing opportunities. Social media – practically any tool that allows Internet users to share info and become active particpants in their online experience – has changed all of that.
Companies that “get it” have expanded beyond traditional advertising to an audience that has grown ever more cynical and distrusting of ads. These companies see (and often, their competition sees) new, far more powerful opportunities.
So here are a few take-aways from BOLO2009 that you might consider applying to your organization, if you aren’t already doing them:
- Strategize. Whether you’re looking at social, search, mobile, or email marketing (or all of them), developing a well-founded strategy is the first key to success. You’ll save time and frustration by engaging a well-informed, well-connected interactive marketing specialist in the planning process. And remember that social, search, mobile, and email marketing are all about marketing beyond your website – not on it. The company that designed your website is not necessarily in the best position to talk with you regarding these off-site marketing strategies.
- Listen. The marketing megaphone is now in the consumer’s hands. Place it to your ear. Savvy marketers are spending more time listening to their customers – and learning from them – than ever before.
- Converse. Public discussions with your customers create opportunities to connect target audiences to brands. These are not momentary connections, but long-term, meaningful dialogues that nurture customer relationships.
- Act. Every day that passes before your company becomes a part of the conversation can be measured in missed opportunities. There is a tremendous competitive advantage to moving quickly in the online marketing world. As Jim Lecinski, Google’s Managing Director of Sales, said at BOLO2009’s first Keynote speech, “Speed beats perfection every time.”