The Future of Digital Marketing (Event Summary)
Posted June 19, 2011on:
This past week I went to the Econsultancy Future of Digital Marketing event. The speakers spoke on everything from online video to publishing to community management. We had around 15 individual speakers taking us through the now, next year, and then “beyond.” Talks ranged from about an hour long to 7 minutes.
But there were some highlights and a general pattern emerging from the talks. First the highlights.
Top 3 Best Speakers
Before I name names, let me clarify, there was a lot of great stuff presented during the event. For the sake of space, I’m just picking three, in order of appearance.
Alex Gisbert from Expedia: Alex spoke on e-commerce, one of the most pressing topics today. I enjoyed his talk for two reasons.
- Alex did not talk about website design, he talked about widgets. He was talking about the open API but in a way that you didn’t have to speak techese to understand.
- Like many speakers, he spoke about his company, showing off. Unlike many speakers, when he showed off, it was useful for us as the audience and not just good publicity for Expedia. He made his company into a useful case study.
Alex’s message was also simple. He basically told us that if we needed to sell something, we shouldn’t care where it is sold. Expedia has Expedia Everywhere, where they allow third parties to embed their open API into many other websites so that users can make their travel plans wherever they are on the web. Apparently, Expedia is already getting most of their traffic from embedded widgets on other websites. Now they just have to do more.
Dave Wieneke @usefularts: Dave is an entertaining speaker, which did his ideas justice. His message, again, was rather simple: the internet, and content, is everywhere, so we should not be restricted by platform. Examples he used included a Mercedes iPad app that allows salesmen to close the deal right inside the vehicle, even signing. He also pointed out that 22% of all fixed line traffic during prime time goes to NetFlix in the US. Not too shabby.
Part of this movement away from fixed-platform utility is the rise of the mobile. Dave pointed out that Pandora, the American Spotify, receives 2/3 of its sign-ups directly over mobile. In France, you can even shop and pay by smartphone in a Group Casino grocery store.
Internet is everywhere, so we can now expand past the original platforms for our services. The usual example is for publishers, but I enjoyed Dave’s service-oriented approach.
Emma Jenkins @emmajenkins: The previous talks I’ve highlighted were rather lengthy, but Emma’s was only 7 minutes. She tackled virtual goods, a rather complex and doubted area even within digital marketing, in those 7 minutes. That takes talent and guts!
She organized her talk in a very simple and classic method – she spelt the word “Virtual” with the first letter of each of her points. But they were good points. So good, I’m actually just going to list them.
Value: Though we may not understand it, people plop down real money for virtual goods.
Investment: People are collecting these items, and prices are rising. They are investment pieces!
Real: So what if they are pixels? They are still rather real to those who buy them.
Two point one billion: the estimated amount to be spent on virtual goods next year.
Universal: No one demographic is buying them. It’s everyone.
Affordable: They are priced so everyone can get in on the action.
Legitimate: And all of this makes it a legitimate business space.
I enjoyed Emma’s speech. It kept me engaged, partly because of her simple format. But it also supports the idea. I can understand the doubters. Though I was familiar with the subject before Emma’s talk and knew that it is a lucrative market, I still felt that it’s a bit weird to spend money on pixels of World of Warcraft gold. And I played World of Warcraft. But after hearing Emma’s explanation on why my personal preferences don’t matter, I’m sold. I still doubt I’ll buy a virtual tractor, but I won’t laugh at those who do.
The Big Theme of the Day…
…was mobile, or at least not being married to a platform. You might have guessed this from my first two highlighted speakers, but it was heavily prevalent in many other talks, some of which were entirely about the future of mobile. We even had a talk on augmented reality by King Yiu Chu of Layar.
More than just mobile, however, the idea was that your service, whatever it is, be accessible regardless of the platform. For instance, another speak, Andy Hobspawn, spoke on the Internet of Things. This isn’t really about mobile so much as everything being connected. Even online video was linked to mobile with the potential to view it everywhere, on multiple devices.
And that’s what I took away from the event. That even if you have a website, make sure that your website is viewable on non-PC devices and perhaps via other website, and provides a service in those places. It’s a simple idea, but after living in a website-world for a while, it’s a rather big one.