The hottest topics of the year and how you need to be taking advantage of them.
As marketers, the end of Q2 means time to start thinking about the fall planning and budget season. For the folks at the past 10 cities of the Online Marketing Summit, there are some resounding themes and ideas worth sharing. Here are the top seven killer ideas for fall 2010 based on discussions led by marketing experts from around the nation:
7. Prioritize social: It blew me away when I put the top experts to the test and asked, "What would you take off the plate of most marketers if forced to choose one?" and the answer universally was social media. Social freakin' media! We are being pounded with articles and Webinars saying "Do it, do it, do it!" and these same experts are saying social media shouldn't be a priority.
My take: Agreed, it's quite distracting and until you have the foundation of a solid website, and search, e-mail strategy, and analytics in place, your time is put to highest and best use on those areas vs. say, creating another fan page on Facebook.
6. Is privacy overrated?: Since there's been so much buzz about privacy in the news regarding Facebook and Google, we had to address this as well. With much debate, there seems to be a consensus that as marketers and consumers we have much more to gain by being open and transparent than trying to protect our privacy. Facebook having data on us and serving us more targeted ads or Google using our information for personalized results seems to be a decent trade off.
My take: By being a real person and connecting on a real level with business constituents, you can go so much further in building lasting and new relationships than say, someone seeing a post on your wall that is less than flattering. As once was said: "Get comfortable with yourself, then get comfortable with yourself on Facebook."
5. Mobile neophyte: Apple may have changed the game with the iPad and iPhone, but what is the value of creating another app? As long as you go into mobile under your testing and research budget, then you will be in good shape, as the return is a long shot.
My take: This is a medium we must figure out, but let someone else make the mistakes, then invest when the path is clear.
4. Analytics death: There has been a strong push back on analytics with marketers. It's not to say that analytics isn't important, but if all decisions came back to what the analytics told us, then marketers wouldn't be needed. Creativity, gut instinct, anecdotal data, why customers do what they do, and emotional response cannot be addressed by looking in rear view mirrors of analytics reports.
My take: Like all things in life, it's a balance. Yes, let analytics help steer you in the right direction and keep it all in the bigger perspective of a long-term plan, not just short-term ROI.
3. Real time: Real-time search in Google results is brutally difficult to harness and not even the search engines have it figured out. Trying to catch the wave of getting seen in real time is like trying to catch the biggest wave of the day while surfing...just catch the wave you can and don't worry about the biggest, because the ride is short anyway. Basically, our expert friends at OMS are telling us, keep an eye on it, but there's not a whole lot to be done there, and wait till Google gives some guidelines. Because, by definition an algorithm can't be served up in real time.
My take: Tweet away, but don't think it's going to get you more visibility in the search results. Tweet for the sake of your Twitter followers and buzz.
2. Secret sauce: Taking directly from our workshop instructor, Joe Pulizzi, find your "Secret Sauce." As he defines it, that's the intersection of what your customers are really looking for and your unique value proposition. Focus your content (e.g., blog) strategy around such and then you'll have some compelling and engaging content worth touting.
My take: No need to do any social media efforts unless you have some good content to share. Just don't do it. You'll denigrate your brand and water down what's really important.
And, drum roll please...the number one idea you must grasp for 2010 is...
1. Education: Yes, my own personal favorite, but what it really means is that no one tool, no one consultant, or idea, or new tactic will get you to the next level of execution and ROI. It's a commitment to educating your team, your company, and of most of all yourself that will really make the difference. It motivates us all when we learn something new, it builds consensus when everyone is coming in from the same understanding, and it allows for good decision making. It's simply the difference between doing it and doing it right.
My take: Well, that was my take, so we'll leave it at that.
I look forward to seeing the rest of you on our East Coast (Boston, NYC, Philly, DC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami) and Texas (Austin, Dallas, Houston) swing of the Online Marketing Summit and promise many more insights to come.
Disclosure: ClickZ is the host of Online Marketing Summit city tour.
Aaron is off today. This column was originally published on July 8, 2010 on ClickZ.
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After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - an e-learning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.
Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.
Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his e-learning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.
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