Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Atlantic Internet Marketing Conference (AIM 2007) Day Two

Another information rich day at AIM 2007. Today's focus was more on the technologies and tools available for companies and marketers to do what it is they do attract and retain customers.

Here are the highlights of the presentations that I attended, followed by my thoughts on the day and the conference.

Secrets of Successful Web Sites

The presenter was Rob Swick, Senior Strategist, AlphaSearch (and one of the driving forces behind AIM 2007).

"The main thing is to make the main thing the main thing" - Mike Lipkin. In other words - focus on what it is you do and do it well. here are the main things for a successful Web site:
  1. Planning - Create a plan
  2. Create (borrow, steal) rules
  3. Strive for structure and simplicity
  4. Home page is the main page
  5. Understand the team, what they do
  6. Fill the Funnel - grow the relationship - be found
Some of Rob's rules:
  1. Navigation buttons - 7 or less
  2. Tools go in the "tool nav"
  3. People don't read, they skim
  4. Earlier pages promote internal pages
  5. Show it
  6. White is your friend - whitespace and white backgrounds are OK
  7. If you are not capturing e-mail addresses you are wasting money
Panel Discussion - Understanding Internet Technology
  • Managing client expectations is the most important thing - know exactly what a Web page will and won't do
  • Keep things fresh and updated
  • Simplify technology for clients
  • Understand costs involved in site design/video production
  • Communication is essential
  • Bridge the gap between client wants and reality
  • Panel was somewhat anti-geek/anti-technology, more focussed on business processes
Electronic Personality and Positioning

Presenter was Wilma Hartmann from Applecore Interactive

Web sites that work have their own personality - it's all about identity alignment

The total online experience is carried on the following four pillars:
  1. Design
  2. Content
  3. Navigation
  4. Functionality
There are things you can control about your Web site and things you cannot control or can only influence:
  • You can control
    • Domain URL
    • Search Engine
    • Links
    • Partners/affiliates/listings
    • Online advertising
    • e-News/e-Mail
    • Traditional Marketing and advertising
Web 2.0 is like nailing jello to a wall - you have little control
  • You cannot control
    • Blogosphere
    • RSS
    • Podcasts
    • Social marketing/chat
    • Rooms/newsgroups
    • Unsolicited listings
  • You can influence
    • Bologosphere
    • RSS
    • Podcasts
    • Social marketing
    • Unsolicited listings
Emerging Web 2.0 values:
  • Authenticity
  • Democracy
  • Innovation
  • Co-creation
How do you protect your brand in this fluid environment (thriving in a co-creative world)?
  • Monitor (Google/Yahoo, yourself)
  • Influence (be a part of Web 2.0)
  • Stay true to who you are
Future decisions for emerging media - do we or don't we. For example Sweden has set up an embassy in Second Life. Adopt what works with your personality

Digital Content and marketing in the Multi-Platform World

Presenter was Graham MacDougall, Director of Digital Media, DHX Media

A changing media landscape - much more complex and fractured environment- digital media formats/devices/tools

Major changes in how people access media

Content/Distribution Models
  • Blogging - personify brands
  • Podcasting -fivefold increase in revenue from 2006-2011)
  • Social networking - 1 out of 4 Internet users access a social networking site once per month
  • Rich media - Flash, video
  • Music - now 10% of total music sales
  • IPTV (Internet Protocol TV - Joost, Apple TV, JumpTV)
  • Mobile - 20% of users browse Web from cell and smart phones, but slow growth for now
Graham highly recommended Jakob Nielsen's book The Web Bible - Prioritizing Web Usability

Viral Marketing

Presenter was Sarah Oldford, Online Media Manager, Colour

"You don't find your audience - your audience finds you"

There are now many ways to reach out online. Viral marketing is the phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass on a marketing message
  • No defined viral campaign strategy
  • No solid best practices - it's constantly evolving
  • There is however, trying too hard
  • Avoid copying/mimicking existing viral campaigns
  • Viral marketing is hit or miss
  • Start with the brand
  • Look to your marketing messages for brainstorming
  • When you have a relevant, fun idea then talk about online
Who has done it well?
Panel - Which Medium For My Message?
  • Understand your audience
  • Think like your customer/consumer
  • Capability of organization to support channel selected
  • RSS - push content
  • Blogs - highly search engine friendly
  • Tagging - Digg, del.icio.us, technorati
  • Rich media
  • Text
  • Cell phones / smart devices
These must all be used appropriately - need to use more than just one technology and possibly multiple formats of the same content (Real, Quicktime etc.)

Blogs are trust mechanisms

Panel - The Good, he Bad, and the Ugly

The final session of the day, the panel reviewed several Web sites of attendee companies and others. They were mostly unkind, finding fault with most, which was interesting, because several of the reviewed sites were created by panel members (which just goes to show you that if you put four Web developers in a room, you will get at least six opinions).

My Thoughts

It was another information packed days. It is apparent that the marketing world is aware of Web 2.0 and is doing its best to take advantage of these tools and technologies. There is still a gap between the knowledge of the marketing professionals and business owners. many are still trying to come to terms with the potential impact and benefits of Web 2.0 and social networking on their businesses.

It will be interesting to see where marketers go next. With the media markets now so fractured, marketers must decide which channels to use to get their messages out. It looks like the Internet is rapidly becoming the channel of choice, and that all types of devices and approaches to making customers aware of what is available will be the next frontier...


Pallavi said...

It's a nice article I understand whitespace and white backgrounds are OKIf you are not capturing e-mail addresses you are wasting moneyPanel Discussion - Understanding Internet Technology. To more information visit the site business brainstorming

Ian H. MacLeod said...

Thanks for the feedback - glad you found it useful - it was useful for me to help absorb all of the conference information

Julia Stone said...

Hmm.. take a look at newbie iptv site www.viewmy.tv, its got some pretty interesting features.. definitly worth a look if youre interested in this type of thing.

Ian H. MacLeod said...

Thanks Julia, I'll take a look at it.