Thursday, February 21, 2008

Greatings from the Online Marketing Summit!

Today was day 1 of the Online Marketing Summit here in San Diego. I feel that this is one of the best marketing summits of the year. It's a place were marketers from all markets could get together and talk about best practices, strategy, and get feedback on marketing ideas. It is a vendorless environment, and the sponsors that presented provided advice and case studies on what worked. In fact if they plug their company we are encouraged to boo them. =oD Leading up to the event we were asked to participate in the OMS forums so that we could get the ball rolling, and give the presenters an idea of what what we wanted to learn about. Some of the topics of discussion were Social Media, SEO, Paid Search, and Email Marketing. I am a big advocate on education, and I think the topic is excellent. If we all get together and go over the issues we can work things out, and build a better environment for the user.

With that said I will step off my soapbox, and get to the good stuff. The day started out with a panel discussion on Social Media and it should be leveraged by marketers. The big idea from that discussion was Social media is still too new to pinpoint the best ways to provide ROI. When it comes to Social Media ROI shouldn't be the focus. The focus should be more on building connections, and providing a platform for communication between you and your end users.

In the SEO session, lead by Ray "Catfish" Comstock we went over SEO best practices. The highlights from the session included using Goggle's Webmaster tools to better understand your organic positioning. Also the best way to optimize your site is to provide authoritative content. Finally the end result for all your SEO efforts should be about the end user.

In the Email Marketing session they covered that you should treat your different subscribers different. You shouldn't market to your new users as the same as you would frequent buyers or lapse visitors. Also you should consider your subject line early in the process.

After lunch I got to lead a round table discussion on online conversion. It was refreshing to know that even though we are all in different markets we all share similar challenges. Some of the challenges included being able to bring in targeted leads, and dealing with internal politics.

The advanced tactics in paid search provided the Ah-ha! point of the day. You should include your channel partners in your search efforts in order to take over the google ad space. Also you should work with dayparting and geotargeting, to increase clicks, and provide a more targeted campaign.

At the end of the day we had another panel discussion where the gurus gave insight on the future of marketing. We all agree that the web should be the epicenter of all your marketing efforts. All of your marketing activities should point back to your website.

Finally we had a town hall meeting were we got to get everything off of chest, and go over what worked for the day.

Day one was awesome, all the panelist had an excellent insight on all the issues, and where the market is headed. The day ended on a high note with cocktails and dinner.

I'm excited to see what's on deck for day 2!