SMX West 2014 Highlights

SMX West 2014 Speaker

Last week, I was honored to speak at SMX West 2014 during their Small Business, Big Results session. During this session I shared three strategies, outlined by client case studies, that could help small brands find efficiency in their paid media (see the full presentation here). I also attended the three days of sessions so I could further my knowledge and passion for digital marketing. Kudos to SMX for adding their new Digital Marketing Summit track. The high-level strategies and insights provided the greatest use to someone in the industry, like myself. Below are my takeaways from some of these sessions.

From Content Marketing to Media Company

In this session, Brian Clark explained how today, brands are becoming their own media distributors. Large brands such as Coca-Cola have created their own media channels for pushing their content. On the Coca-Cola Journey site, Coke has transformed its corporate site into a brand publishing site, making publishing a part of its identity. This is because Coke understands that today, it’s not about marketing. It’s about creating a strong experience through a brand by means of entertainment or through providing people with interesting, relevant information.

To make this work for your brand, you don’t have to be a Coca-Cola of the world (I mean, who other than Coke is?). Brian also shared a great example of a mom-and-pop wine shop in New Jersey creating their own media channels to grow their business. Their son first started cataloging the taste of different wines and sharing his knowledge of wine through videos on a small site he created, Wine Library TV. On this site, he produced and share interesting content to an audience who was hungry for information. His site wasn’t built for marketing, but it did have a “buy now” button. Because of this, people were digesting his information, sharing and coming back to the site – becoming followers and customers. In five years, Wine Library grew from a $4 million business to a $45 million business, proving that creating quality content and distribution channels for your content can work for companies of all sizes.

The Display Ad of the Future: It’s All About You

During this session, Tim Mayer spoke about where display advertising is today and where he sees it going. Much of this focused on resonance and relevance. He said that first, advertising focused on resonance – advertising images and messaging to illicit emotion, making users recall the ad and the brand, and relevance – focusing on advertising to the most relevant audience networks. Tim says that for successful advertising in the future, you need to focus on both resonance and relevance. You want to reach your audience with the right message at the right time, meaning your message will vary to consumers at different points in the consumer journey. Example: if the user’s stage in the consumer journey is unknown, deliver standard offers and general brand messaging. If you know the user’s interest in a product, deliver messaging aligned with product, location, etc. Finally, if you know the consumer is in the buying stage of the journey, use messaging to upsell and cross-sell to drive incremental sales and revenue.

Email and the Audience Imperative

Jeffrey Rohrs hit on many of the same points as Brian Clark in his presentation. Yes, content is important but how are you going to push that content? He reminds us that we already have a great asset outside of publication in our email lists. My favorite quote from this presentation is, “Content without an audience, is a tree falling in the forest that nobody hears. Publication is not distribution. You need an audience to care. Otherwise you have to pay for it.” So, when you’re creating content and pushing to your audiences, remember email. They have subscribed for it, they want it – 93% of people have subscribed to brand’s email lists; only 38% of people will like a brand and only 12% will follow a brand.

The Future of Local Search is Here

Justin Sanger is a local search boss. He was the epitome of what made this Digital Marketing Summit a success, saying that if we’re still talking about NAP, we’re behind. He says, “Search is tired. Local search is tired. Google doesn’t want to rank the pages that are most optimized; that have the most links. Google wants to rank businesses, not pages – businesses where people are having positive experiences.”

In his session, Justin explained how local search takes trust. You need to have both familiarity (I know these people) and authority (these people have the info). Often, familiarity is established through not only our personal experiences with a company, but with our friends’ experiences with companies. Because of this, Sanger said, we should be focused on optimizing experiences, not pages. If you optimize experiences, then you build familiarity with your brand. This will create a stronger opportunity for reaching new customers. (Needless to say, we here at Nina Hale, Inc., think that a good place to start optimizing experiences is by optimizing your pages.)

All in all, the conference was great. I recommend visiting SMX’s Slideshare profile, as well as checking out my awesome deck on Paid Media Strategies for Driving Efficiency, embedded below. Thanks to the SMX West team for having me speak and for another great conference!

 

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