SES San Francisco is now in the books. A week later, we’ve been able to think through everything we heard – the show featured over 70 sessions and 150 speakers – and now it’s time to turn theory into action. So where do we start?
More than anything, SES confirmed the integrated nature of marketing and digital communications. SEO, paid search, PR, design, video, social media, mobile apps – they’re all undeniably linked, and as you’ll read, the latest stats and research back that up.
So, without further ado, let us present the 7 Must-Know Marketing Takeaways from SES San Francisco:
- There’ll be 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020. SES Producer Mike Grehan dropped this stat in the show’s welcome session, and it perfectly captures the challenge marketers are up against. Always-on and always-connected means customers can engage your brand at any time in any channel, and that makes it more important than ever to have a unified and consistent message across your entire marketing mix. You can’t choose which channel customers will come in contact with first, but you can deliver powerful, cohesive brand experiences across all mediums (digital communications anybody?).
- “Persuasion is a sequence of emotions that take a prospect from interest to action.” A simple truth shared by keynote speaker Susan Bratton, but a good reminder for us marketers. Too often we get caught up in singular items – a catchy headline, an attention-grabbing design, a perfectly worded Tweet – forgetting that effective engagement is an ongoing process, not a one-time push.
- The power of blogs. Technorati’s Chief Strategy Officer Charles Black shared some eye-opening stats: Consumers trust blogs more than twice as much as any other type of social media. 65% of readers say they access blogs specifically to get an opinion, while another 52% say blogs influence their purchase decisions. That’s a huge number – how does your blog (and reputation in the blogosphere) stack up?
- Mobile is booming…but don’t be scared. A few more stats to think about: Mobile search has grown 84% in the last year. It should approach 3 billion queries PER MONTH by 2012. And it should outpace desktop search as soon as 2014. Intimidating numbers, for sure. But as Yahoo’s Senior Director of Mobile Sales Strategy Paul Cushman says: “Here’s a secret. Mobile isn’t a mystery; it’s the Internet, just smaller.” The takeaway? Use your gut – it’s still marketing.
- Mythbusters. In terms of total queries, YouTube would rank as the world’s second largest search engine – if it actually were one. And yet, most marketers place YouTube way down on the marketing totem pole. Why? Two common excuses: 1) YouTube is only for kids and 2) YouTube doesn’t work for B2B companies. In actuality, though, the opposite is true – demographics show strong viewership across all ages (scroll to bottom of linked page), and a quick glance shows thousands of brands – from every sector – making their presence known.
- A call to action is only a QR code away. As Sabrina Horn noted in her interview on Twitter metrics, people are naturally curious – marketers would be smart to play to that. Think about QR codes. They can be placed anywhere, branded however you want and drive any type of offer you can think of. But best of all, they play to a consumer’s inherent desire to know more: “What’s behind that barcode?”
- Convergence is everywhere. The most popular site to visit on mobile devices? Search engines. Consumers who see a display ad and then later click a search link for the same product? 56% more likely to buy. Customer response after being exposed to an ad in the paper or on the radio? 37% turn to mobile for more info. Always-on media isn’t just a challenge – it’s an opportunity. Customers are actively looking for information, and responding to their needs in the channels most convenient to them can dramatically improve return and response.
Heading into the conference, our goal was simple: dive deeper into how discrete marketing channels overlap, interact and influence each other. We definitely came back with tactics and tips, but more surprising was the overwhelming amount of data supporting the integrated digital communications model. But then again, maybe it shouldn’t have been so surprising; after all, it’s what brand marketers are telling us too.
So then, what does it all mean? It means we have work to do. Integration – and the ability to deliver impactful, cohesive messages across all channels – isn’t just a theory or something that’d be “nice to have.” It’s the reality of the marketplace we operate in. It’s a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity, a chance to be creative, adventurous and innovative in the ways we reach customers. That’s exciting, and with the lessons from SES behind us, we’re ready to go.