Minneapolis Online Marketing Summit - Three Deep Reflections
In addition to our live Twittering the #OMS event in Minneapolis, several Three Deep team members recapped the top 3- 5 things they learned on Tuesday at the Online Marketing Summit. Below are our observations. To view presentations and education materials presented at the June 2nd, 2009 conference in Minneapolis at the Depot, please visit the OMS site.
I felt a little like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting at this conference when he gets into a war of words at the "Haaavhaaad Baaaah" with a man who has far more formal education than he does. It turns out that for all of the formal education held by the Harvard man, he could have gotten the same amount of education for $1.50 in late charges at the local library. How do you like them apples?
All jokes aside, I feel that while this conference was worthwhile from an interpersonal networking and knowledge reinforcement front, I really didn't feel as if many new ideas were brought to light during any of the sessions I attended. Perhaps it's because I read a ridiculous amount on the topic of online marketing, or perhaps it's just that the conference promoters underestimated the knowledge of online marketers in the Minneapolis area? Or maybe our skill set is just a little more advanced than the target conference attendee; but somehow I find that hard to believe.
After the presentations were done and most attendees were long gone, I found myself and two other Three Deeper's out to dinner with the conference promoters. While discussing the target market of this conference (which is clearly a moving target), I expressed empathy that it's not an easy task to judge the knowledge level of conference attendees and use this information to provide the perfect session to visitors. It's just not possible to do in a one day event.
At the same time, I think that the entire Three Deep team gained confidence in the fact that our company is clearly representative of a full service online marketing agency, and we are ahead of the curve in many ways. It also opened the door for Three Deep to take on a greater role in contributing to the community through thought leadership articles and speaking engagements. Many of us have set goals for ourselves to increase the profile of our company in the greater Minneapolis/Twin Cities area, as well as the Midwest region and beyond.
Overall, I found the event to be very worthwhile, but for different reasons than the conference promoters may have intended. I plan to attend several more local and national conferences in 2009 and beyond.
- Other than the social networking presentation by Lee Odden, I thought our Three Deep team could have presented most of these online topics with better material, more depth and richer substance. We all need to work on a plan to get more involved in these communities and do more networking/speaking.
- The continuous wheel diagram of online marketing was good.
- Repeat customer
- The pillars of successful online marketing programs
- Roof – Social media
- Pillar 1 - Search
- Pillar 2 – Email
- Pillar 3 – Analysis
- Foundation – Website (I would add CRM database as a foundation)
- Per Lee Odden pitch, always remember to start with audience, not a specific tactic.
- One area that I felt was sorely missing (beside topic depth) is that no one really talked about great integrated campaigns and customer data management or how you bring traditional media and all these important offline and online marketing tactics together in a cohesive and measurable way.
First, I agree that our team could have presented most of the OMS topics. I thought the email marketing topics were very basic and introductory, maybe that is what they were geared for, but they did not go into anything that provided great insight. I thought the Designing Your Email Program From Online Outreach to the Welcome Message and Email Marketing Campaigns were so high level or introductory that they really were not worth my time. With that said, I did think the The Medium Is the Message: Advanced Strategies for Email, SMS and Voice Marketing Success was pretty good, I thought Chip House provided some unique things combinations with email. The takeaways I had were:
- The concept of Email Plus:
- Email + CRM
- Email + Social Marketing
- Email + Analytics
- Email + Video
- Email + SMS text
- Email + Voice Messaging
He offered some good examples that I thought were interesting, especially the combinations that we have not ventured into yet.
- He reiterated the three concepts of email:
- Serve the customer/individual
- Honor their preferences
- Deliver timely relevant content that improves people’s lives - I think we do that, but can always improve on delivering timely relevant content.
- Email isn’t optional
- Email is social, social is email
- Email and social media combining
In 2009, an email marketer should focus on where the message comes from, the medium in which the message comes from may be just as important as the message content itself.
- One more, I liked the pillars of successful online marketing programs, simple but very true.
I focused more on the email track, so here are my findings I found interesting. Not all are facts, some are just newer ideas in email marketing:
- Home Depot does “live offers” in their emails. These are served up at the time of the open of the email. It is much like <client name redacted>’s Interaction Advisor, but it happens at the open instead of send. It is an interesting technology that can help if you want to target time of day or day of week
- Goodmail is trying to push embedded video in email. For example, certain AOL consumers have selected that they are willing to receive video in email, and thus Goodmail can deliver video to their inbox via the email channel
- Social forward is becoming much more of a popular function compared to Forward to a Friend
- Many companies toying with opt-in via sms. Example: “text MINN email@example.com to 38767. Hit send, then you will get an email to that address with the option to opt-in and download a whitepaper”
- Email campaigns for brand that have search boxes on their sites: Use those top keywords from the searches in your subject lines and you will see dramatic improvement in open rates
- Make more use of the welcome message. Example: Shopbop had good welcome message (top five ways this email will change your life). builds excitement, and then has a "start shopping" link and offer at bottom
Twitter (from Lee Odden’s presentation):
- $1mil revenue for Dell off of Twitter. All it cost them was someone monitoring and writing tweets
- Can be used for sharing links, networking, reinforcing relationships, promotion, repost blog comments, personal updates, crowdsourcing, group communication, microblogging events, pitching journalists
- Twitter best practices: provide value to followers, monitor what is being said about company and respond accordingly, leverage for research, show business personality, be clear who you are
- Worst practices - don't go overboard with updates. don't automate all content or friending. don't follow thousands in short time. don't sell in tweets instead talk value of product. don't autofollow back or auto direct message
Here’s the things I took away, some ideas/some questions to consider - mainly in terms of what we should look at internally or what opportunities we should push for our clients:
- How can we change our dashboards to be relevant to a C- level executive? How can we convert page views and engagement metrics into actionable business based benchmarks (primarily in non e-commerce applications)?
- How do we leverage social media for <client name redacted>? There’s an opportunity to become the #1 community for moms regarding infant/child nutrition. Some ideas below (some of which have been discussed before, some will be addressed by updated navigation but now we can reference these ideas coming from “industry experts” and not just our opinions):
- Getting the healthcare experts to start blogging vs. published articles
- Recruiting additional content creators
- Reaching out to the “mommy mafia” and provide a platform to discuss nutrition and feeding
- Post all their ads on their YouTube channel
- What other tools are available? Yacktrack.com to find conversations about a company. Not sure if this is any better than technorati but it’s one we should check out both for our brands and for ourselves.
- While I know others do this, I should start monitoring 3 or 4 blogs and post responses to help drive traffic back to us
- Something we’re working on: creating a central spot for company materials (case studies, etc.) to be accessible when we need content for the site
- How can we use social media in different ways. The OpenText session had a great example of the LA Fire Dept.
- Used Twitter to monitor locations to deploy units during recent wildfires. Proved faster and less chaotic than 911 call center routing
- Used Google Maps mashups to facilitate deployment, routing units around obstacles and determining fastest routes to fires
- Used Yahoo tubes (?) or newsfeeds to monitor other city issues and prepare for deployment (potential terrorist attacks, etc.)
- Used opt-in text messages to provide alerts to subscribers regarding deployment situations (based on zip code or selections made during registration – schools, businesses, etc.)
How can we utilize the technology beyond the norm?
- We could teach a session regarding demand generation and lead nurturing. If we can take the next step with contractors or <client name redacted> sales force we’ll have a case study that answer the question nobody could (who’s doing this well).
First of all, I agree with everyone that said that we could have spoken on most of the topics that were covered. With that said, I am going to be making a greater effort to attend these type of events around town to familiarize myself with the community, starting with the monthly MIMA events. There may be times where the content of the event may be elementary or something we already excel at, but that still gives us a great opportunity to network and position Three Deep as an authoritative digital agency.
Other things I learned include the following:
- Social media marketing is not for everyone. The best way to determine whether or not to engage in this channel is to use monitoring tools to examine the “buzz” that a brand is creating. I have researched these tools a bit, and have listed a few below.
- Catfish opened my eyes to a few SEO elements/ideas that may have previously gone overlooked. These items include reversing breadcrumb navigation for use as page titles, and avoiding the use of capital letters in URLs. I have SEO reports in the works for <client 1 and client 2>, and both of these sites will benefit from these findings.
- Twitter is a powerful tool. It was basically my first time using Twitter, and I quickly discovered the value when tweeting about the sessions I was attending and keeping an eye on anyone that was discussing anything pertaining to OMS. By doing this, I began to form a network (of followers) built solely on like-minded professionals with an interest in interactive marketing. I am currently planning a case study/blog series on SEO, and Twitter will certainly help us virally present ourselves as experts as this project progresses.
Additionally, I was turned on to a number of events, organizations, and blogs that will help me develop myself professionally, thus ultimately benefiting our company. Thanks again for letting us attend the event; it was really a great experience.