#CZLNY: ClickZ Live Convergence in Search Marketing

I attended ClickZ Live New York last week looking for signs of convergence between search, social media, and mobile technologies; but I was only able to attend the first day of our new, rebranded conference. I have attended several Search Engine Strategies conferences (way back since 2005) and even then, I predicted online search would fundamentally change because of personalized search (Google search history and Web history), click-to-call, what were the beginnings of social media, and now the rise of augmented reality and such new mobile technologies as Google Glass and iBeacon. Now was the time to see the “forth of convergence” coming from businesses that are evolving with all the new technologies and knowledge that has been shared over the years.

My notes are more like sketches rather than factual presentations of what people said during the conference; I feel there is enough of that, plus all the sessions were taped, so literal transcription, while valuable, was less important for me as others were taking copious notes, so I did not need to.

By the way, I really like the new ClickZ mobile app created and sponsored by Acronym. The app helped me structure the information, post about my experiences at the conference, and engage with the community that attended the same session I did (as well as read about what happened during the sessions I missed).

The first sign of convergence, for me, came from my friend Bill Hunt’s presentation on Understanding the Voice of the Customer. The “joining” of online search and social media has meant business people need to be thinking beyond specific business units or line of business and to the entire business operation, including the technologies that power it. It used to be that business strategy was first worked out, then IT/technology was employed so as to power the business strategy, but that’s not workable any longer, as changes in technology affect the business bottom line – and it could be as simple as the number pages in search engine indexes that get reduced due to some technical glitch made in the organization, but that radically affects business income. With me personally, outside the session I attended, I asked Bill to discuss his Advanced Keyword Management Software, which is able to solve some fundamental technology problems with operationalizing search engine optimization with a converged approach to business data along with common sense.

I also attended a session on remarketing and behavioral ads with Andrew Goodman, Christopher Hansen, and Lisa Raehsler. From a convergence standpoint, I could easily envision a time in the near future when conventional remarketing in display networks along with dynamic remarketing is mapped to customers walking in or by a brick-and-mortar store, being tracked by iBeacon or some similar type of Bluetooth technology. I believe by next year at this time, we will see remarketing taking place based on our digital footprint captured as we move around in the physical world. While that reality might seem spooky to some, I don’t think it can be avoided, but I certainly think we can learn harness these technologies to the good of people, so it’s not all marketing and more profits, but improving our bottom line and quality of life.

In the remarketing panel, it was also clear that converging people and algorithms produced the best campaign results – that if you depended just on algorithmic targeting, your remarketing campaigns would not be anywhere near as effective as when knowledgeable subject area experts are employed along with machines and technologies. Another convergence the remarketing panel uncovered sounded more like a tactic, that marketers ought to target customers on mobile devices using retargeting, but convert them on the desktop where the campaign execution could be much better controlled and monitored.

I attended a session later that afternoon on targeted social advertising with Jay Hawkinson and Paul Langtry because it seemed to tie in with the programmatic ad trading platforms that I have been studying, along with my students at Baruch College, this semester. While nothing really spoke to me at the session, I learned a lot more information by talking with Hawkinson shortly afterward at the “Meet the Experts Roundtable,” where I went over to the “SoLoMo” table (SoLoMo stands for Social Local Mobile). While talking with Hawkinson I noted how much the success of his work (and company, Sim Partners) depends on having a holistic/converged knowledge of customer data. Also, we discussed a little bit about the uses of platforms like Geofeedia for local search discovery and iBeacons for retargeting.

Well, that is my coverage of what I like to call the “ClickZ Convergence” or how all of the technologies are coming together in a way that they all augment each other, and add to the bottom line.

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