This week’s STF was sponsored by tech-talent firm Chameleon Technologies. The topic was Digital Marketing and it was extremely well attended, by a fairly different crowd than we normally see — lots of marketing people of course. This is a topic I am not very familiar with, so it was pretty interesting stuff.
Our first speaker was Content Harmony‘s Marketing Director, Kane Jamison, who spoke about “Current Internet Marketing Trends & How They Will Affect Your Organization”. He actually posted most of his content over at his blog, which is well worth checking out. It was full of useful information about digital marketing and how it is changing. I really liked his data-driven format, with lots of interesting data points to hang his presentation from.
One of the most interesting things Jamison mentioned (which he doesn’t seem to cover in his blog post) is how the change to more HTTPS Google searches has effected website owners. Links from Google search using HTTP includes search keyword information, which helps website owners tune their SEO approach (“gee, lots of people are coming here looking for XYZ, we can write more about that”). However links from searches using HTTPS do not include this data, which is a reasonable privacy and security protection. Now that Google is moving people to use HTTPS more often (due to more authenticated usage to support Google Plus and other services), this means fewer searches from Google include search keyword information. That is impacting how website owners approach SEO.
Next we heard from Josh Dirks, Founder and CEO of Project Bionic. He started by telling us that he was the grandson of an auctioneer and son of a preacher, and he had a fun speaking style to prove it. His talk was titled “Welcome to Your Social Nervous System”.
Dirks argued that social media is not about marketing at all but rather about customer service and community building. He illustrated this by relating today’s big data and social media revolution back to the days of rural villages, before the industrial revolution. In those days most folks lived in a village of 50 to 300 people and had few secrets. According to Dirk, businesses had to pay close attention to their customers and provide excellent products and services, because there was no escaping their reputation in such a small world. In the industrial revolution this all changed. Huge factories hundreds of miles away mass produced products, and there was no mechanism for them to receive feedback other than the one dimensional channel of communication called revenues. Media was all one-way: Newspapers, TV and Radio. Then the internet and social media came along and re-connected customers and companies. Now word about your business travels fast on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and so on. Businesses that listen and interact with customers online in a dialog are going to succeed in this new era, while those locked in the one-way world of the past will fall behind.
There was also a third speaker scheduled, but they couldn’t make it due to illness. Fortunately, Dirk and Jamison provided us plenty to discuss and think about.