My Midwest Interactive Surprise

  |  November 6, 2007   |  Comments

Nearly 700 marketers gather in Minnesota to hear about multitasking's downside: workplace interruptions. What does this mean for interactive strategies?

A number of months ago I was asked to speak at an event for the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, known as MIMA. Had I heard of it? Nope. To be honest, I didn't think there was much of an interactive presence in Minnesota. Wow, was I wrong.

At MIMA's annual one-day event a few weeks ago, nearly 700 interactive professionals from the Midwest and other parts of U.S. gathered to examine some great topics. As a too-frequent seminar attendee, I was really impressed by the other speakers and the conversations among attendees.

Two Keynotes, Two Perspectives

Lee Rainie, 2007 MIMA Summit keynote speaker and director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, introduced the idea of interactive work environments full of "absent presence." Rainie's oxymoron describes the essential multitasking self: you're physically present but mentally absent. You want to be vigilant about everything Web, but the volume of information is simply too great.

Looking at the virtual multitasking issue from another angle, Jason Fried, another MIMA Summit keynote speaker and founder of 37signals, a Web-based company, said, "the e-mail you don't even know you're getting is more interesting than the meeting you're in."

Fried's main idea: to accomplish something, people need uninterrupted time. Constant meetings and interruptions aren't productive. He recommends prohibiting direct contact during some periods during the work week and personal life.

These two presentations ring true when thinking of the many things people do while visiting a Web site. Of course, we'd like to believe they're fully engaged and focused and will take time to explore our sites. We all know from our Web-surfing habits this isn't the case. It's imperative, then, we optimize sites so they fit the schedules of our customers and prospects. We must give them what they need while helping them work toward the specific things we want to them to do for us as a company to be successful.

These issues, when viewed through a Web analytics lens, can prompt you to change your approach to analyzing data and tuning survey questions. Start with the site's simplicity; do people easily find the content they're looking for? If people, when fully focused, can't find what they're looking for, what happens when they aren't present in their task? Now think what that's like when they're distracted by other tasks and have eight tabs open in their browser -- you and your seven competitors. This really drives home the importance of ease of use, simplicity, and simple navigation.

Integration

Another conference session that caught my eye and triggered a lot of discussion involved a reference to a recent Forrester Research report stating that U.S. interactive marketing spending is expected to triple over the next five years, reaching $61 billion by 2012. Interactive technologies are expected to infiltrate all media channels, dissolving the barriers between traditional and interactive marketing. It's interesting to explore what this could mean over the coming years. At MIMA, I hopped into a few conversations and heard good ideas about what this may look like down the road.

This got me thinking about the importance of understanding a Web site's impact. Not only understanding how people convert on a site but also how the site impacts behaviors after people leave and through a company's other channels. As I've written about in past columns, it extends far off your corporate site on review sites, blogs, and other social-networking communications. Again, understanding all these interactions, what's happening, and how to leverage the power of these interactions will begin to truly separate companies that "have Web sites" and those that leverage the overall Web channel.

While I don't often recommend specific conferences, I was so impressed with the MIMA event, I strongly encourage you to check it out. You can visit the MIMA's Web site, which includes a lot of the conference content, including presentations and podcasts.

ClickZ Live Chicago Learn Digital Marketing Insights From Leading Brands!
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda, or register and attend one of the best ClickZ events yet!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Burby

As President of the Americas at POSSIBLE, Jason is responsible for leading the long-term stability and growth of the region. With more than 20 years experience in digital strategy, he is a long-time advocate of using data to inform digital strategies to help clients attract, convert, and retain customers. Jason supports POSSIBLE's clients and employees in driving new engagements and delivering great work that works. He is the co-author of Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions.

Follow him on Twitter @JasonBurby.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Jobs