In planning for the keynote panel at Online Marketing Summit at SES London next month, I began taking notice of what many big brands are doing for 2010 and their willingness to talk about it. So, when we sit down with IBM, the British Museum, Yahoo, and MRM, the goal will be to share. Share what's really happening inside the organization, who's sponsoring the new and untested waters of social media, how to get internal teams to collaborate and drive greater return, why these brands are outpacing competitors, and the success stories that can inspire us all.
There are some interesting commonalities among big brands. So, in advance of the summit, which takes place Feb. 15, 2010, here are three insights to wet your whistle:
Social media hangover. Most brands and marketing teams are suffering from what I've heard termed the "social media hangover." Don't pretend you don't know what I mean. You remember the college days when you woke up in the morning in a strange place wondering where you were and what you did the night before. Right? The social media hangover is wondering how that Facebook Fan Page you have is driving customers? Is it loyalty? Revenue? Or, how about that blog that you and the team spent countless meetings huddled around a conference table talking about and wondering, "how will our brand be the next destination for all information about our industry?" And don't forget those conversations about viral video. Yes, you can probably blame your agency for that, as video's biggest proponents are big agencies that still wish the day of the 0:30 commercial was king.
In essence, I hear big brands saying, "OK, now what?" We are doing it and we understand it's the cost of doing business, but now what do we do with all these new programs and efforts launched? More so, it's already become passé to have someone preach about how we need to get on the social bandwagon before it's too late. Now it's time to get on board and quick!
Back to basics. Friends at Cisco mentioned last week that the fact is, during a recession we're all forced to look at what works versus what we like or are accustomed to. This has been a big boon to e-mail marketing and search and, surprisingly, even the unproven grounds of social. But, I believe the foundation of this thought is crucial. Focusing on what matters most will ensure you can drive the greatest ROI (define) from the new emerging areas that will matter as you execute. For example, if your e-mail marketing program is not properly segmented, targeted, and aligned with deliverability best practices, the e-mails you send to engage your audience in your new social strategies will be greatly reduced. And on it goes...if you don't have a good SEO (define) strategy about how best to leverage user-generated content and blog content, then you're not putting these huge assets to their best use.
It is time. The most fascinating thing about all of this is the undercurrent of understanding across all departments within almost any company (let alone big brands) that it's time we get this Internet thing right. It's time to clear the path for those needing executive buy-ins or budgets to get it and get it now. And to that, the real challenge begins...where to place your bets?
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Aaron Kahlow serves as chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit and its related educational arm, the Online Marketing Institute. Having delivered hundreds of keynote speeches and seminars nationwide, he is one of the more well-known faces in the online marketing and advertising space.