8 Thoughts on the Digital Marketing Conference

Last Monday, I spent the day at Marketing Magazine’s digital conference. It was a pretty good day and it was great to see the level of interest people in our industry have about the space. Sorry it took me so long to post about it, but here are 8 random things from the day:

1. Tim Armstrong (VP of Google, The Americas) has a pretty good sense of where the advertising industry is going. When asked what he thought the future looked like, he said (paraphrasing) that he thinks too many people focus on the front end of advertising (the strategy, the creative) and not enough about the back (campaign optimization, using data to resonate among your target, constant refinement through learning’s after the campaign has launched). Couldn’t agree more.

2. Local search is growing – a Yahoo exec stated that 1 in 5 searches is now local. What does that mean? 20% of searches deal with someone who is looking for a location near them (a car rental place, an Italian restaurant, etc). What can brands do to play more in local search? Well, first they can get into normal search…

3. Brady Gilchrist is passionate about the digital space – I’d never met Brady before (founder of one of the first digital agencies in Toronto), but he is super-knowledgeable on the space and a hilarious presenter. He’s a strong advocate for digital-specific agencies, had some harsh words for the current state of advertising and some great book recommendations (including SEO for dummies). Check out his agency.

4. Everyone Loves Mitch Joel – he did a good lunch presentation with NY Times journalist Rob Walker and if his agency – Twist Image – doesn’t gross $50 million in 2009 something’s up. I still have no idea how he has time to write the longest blog posts ever and record a weekly (hours long) podcast. But keep on rocking!

5. CP+B Interactive CD Jeff Benjamin has done some pretty fantastic work – from subservient chicken to Volkswagen, you can’t argue that this is one of the best integrated idea shops around right now. I bumped into Jeff at the DMA’s and asked him what he thought made a good account person. He said that in his time he’s worked with a ton of bad account people because they only “take and take and take”. They’re too focused on meeting a deadline, satisfying a client and lose focus of the fact they are part of a team. Jeff said that when it’s late at night and the creatives are working that the account person needs to be there to “get” – a fact, help answer a question, whatever. Just be a part of the team.

6. My new favorite TV spot (shown by DDB’s CEO Chuck Brymer):

7. We need a decent Social Networks case study – for the last 18 months, every Facebook employee always cites the TD financial group as it’s success case. There are no business results, minimal numbers (twenty-five thousand fans) and little discussion around the ROI of a group like this. If we want to push social networks to our clients, we’ve got to get better at providing examples of success.

8. At least one person reads Adjoke – PJC and I were sitting a table during a presentation and noticed a delegate in front of us surfing our blog during it. Pretty sweet moment.

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