Day 1 Recap of SES Chicago - Keynote, Social Media, Latest on AdCenter and Testing


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It’s our last show of the year and it is in Chicago. How fitting. We’re at the Hyatt Regency at the Search Engine Strategy Conference and Expo. Not only is this a gathering of the best companies in Search, this is also a gathering of some of the most talented individuals in the industry. The Marketers at the companies visiting SES are really what make the industry hum along and grow at the pace it’s been going. I’ve attended three sessions today so far and they all had one thing in common. The questions asked by the attendees are what makes these sessions interesting. They spark conversation, lead to new ideas and ultimately to improvements for all.

9:00 AM: Conference Welcome & Opening Keynote: Guilty Marketers – Wasted & Wishful Multi-Channel Marketing Spend – Presented by Mikel Chertudi, SES Advisory board, Senior Director of Marketing, Adobe

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Mark did a great job presenting and was very clear about what he wanted to talk about – mistakes that most marketers and marketing departments make without even knowing it. He especially reached out to marketers and accused them of making these 7 mistakes.

#1 Failure to define clear objectives
#2 Failure to quantify the marketing department’s achievements. Mark stressed vehemently that for every marketing decision you make, every campaign you get up and running you should be able to back up its results with a number.
#3 Not knowing where you stand and how much you’re bringing in. This one is closely related to #2. It’s easy to make marketing decisions and feel like you’re doing something right, and in reality you may be completely off target.
#4 Too much art / right brain activity. You focus too much on the creative and not enough on things like layout and copy. His argument was that there has been extensive research done on great landing pages, don’t toss it out the window for great design.
#5 Too much left brain / science . His point here was that don’t stick to a blueprint of what works just because blinking, multiple calls to action have worked in the past does not mean it will work for your particular campaign. Think carefully and critically.
#6 Short term vs. long term. Always keep in mind the length of your campaigns and how it will affect your brand going forward.
#7 Don’t be unauthentic. It’s very easy to look at your competitors and be tempted to copy what they do because it seemingly works. This gives your brand an air of unprofessionalism. Again, think critically.

Mark would ask people to raise their hands before expounding on a point, asking questions like “Doesn’t design matter over content? Don’t you agree with me?” Audience members raised their hands and as soon as they did he would blast them and tell them they’re wrong. By the time we got to #7 of the “guilty” list the audience was too afraid to raise any hands, although Mark did manage to get some questions out of us.

At the end Mark left us with 8 things every aspiring Head of marketing should consider.

#1 Use the correct words when talking about your campaigns.
#2 Validate what we assume to know. Just because there’s a number on a report, don’t assume it’s correct. Investigate and be certain that it is.
#3 Have a clear way to measure and track results. Can you measure lead generation all the way to a sale?
#4 Can we attribute attribution correctly? 95% of marketing departments don’t know exactly where sales are coming from.
#5 Understand our measurement limitations
#6 Make sure the marketing department is behaving as a team.
#7 Balance the right and left brain.

He closed out with a link to guilty.marketer.blogspot.com with the advice that if you ever feel you’re making any of these mistakes visit this URL to correct them.

Session 2: Automating Social Media: Creating & Distributing the Message.

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So we had a minor change in title of the session at the last minute. The session became: Automating Social Media Without Becoming a Robot. The session kicked off with some bad news actually. There’s no silver bullet, you can’t really automate social media and be successful with it. Bummer.

On the positive side, our presenter (his name slipped my mind, he was part of a three person panel and had an Australian accent if that helps) had some great tips. He has developed a set of rules fo himself to encourage all interaction with his Twitter. He has decided that whenever someone mentions his articles, good or bad, he will Retweet and according to him this has led to good results in building a rapport between him, his company, and his readerbase.

Our mystery presenter also went on to discuss the different messages different social networks convey. He compared Facebook to being a Press Release replacement. It’s a place for announcements and declarations as well as a haven for asking your user base direct questions. Twitter is more of a spur of the moment network that is a great thermometer for the current temperatures of whatever industries you choose to follow. A great piece of advice that resonated with me was “encourage curiosity”. Make people wonder about your brand and inspire them your followers and likers to ask questions. Our presenter signed off with be appropriate, selective, and above all reinforce quality over quantity.

Next up was Charles Black of Technorati. This section will be short because instead of an informative session, the crows delivered a thinly veiled sales pitch. Charles did have one piece of information that made me think. I quote “Consumers trust blogs more than twice as much as they trust other social media, blogs are only second to the advice of friends and family.”

Last but most entertaining was Aaron Goldman from Kenshoo. This was also a thinly veiled sales pitch. Aaron took the stage and ripped up a damage copy of his book for dramatic effect and to get our attention. He went on and on about Facebook ads, which had nothing to do with our title topic. The only nugget of knowledge that made sense was “Always be branding.” I took this to mean that whatever actions you take, whether at the campaign level or at the image/branding level, make sure your message is consistent and fits your company’s overall message.

If someone asked me to grade this session, I’d give it a D.

Session 3: Adcenter Desktop Preview

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This one caught my attention for one reason and one reason only. It was Microsoft Bing’s Adcenter Desktop. This was a great session because arguably Bing is pretty far behind in the global Search marketing race, but I was very interested in seeing what they were trying to do to catch up.

There’s not a lot to talk about, we were demoed their desktop software, I’d say the bst improvement they have is that it has become VERY easy to import and export campaign information in and out of the Adcenter application.

Second point of interest is that our presenter’s entire job is to listen to the feedback of Adcenter users. That’s it, it’s his whole job. He listens to the complaints that AdCenter users may have and he takes them to the powers that be in Redmond and recommends those changes. This guy does a great job too. He goes through each and every bug and suggestion for improvement. The result is a surprisingly versatile and easy to use platform for power users. That does not run on Mac, but that’s ok because it’s coming. You’re also encouraged to use Parallels or Bootcamp to run Windows inside of OSX.

We also happened to catch a glimpse of our presenter’s email address which had a Gmail.com suffix. This wasn’t a big deal except that at the end of the presentation a colleague of our presenter stood up and pointed out that the presenter is “firmly” a Microsoft enthusiast and that Gmail address was used for the purpose of demonstration. Microsoft’s employees are very insecure is all I took from this and I thought I’d point it out since Microsofter’s felt they needed to take the trouble to point it out to us.

Grade: B+

Session 4: 30 Tools of the Master Craftseman – Bryan Eisenberg

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Mr. Eisenberg started off by telling us he would show us over 30 tools to test and optimize our websites over the course of an hour. Let me tell you that he was not kidding.

Our presenter began with stating the fact that to properly optimize your marketing efforts, you have to have resources dedicated to it. Whether it’s one person or ten, the quality of the people matter, the quality of the tools matter, and the rigidity of the process matters.

www.WebsiteTesting Tools.com is Bryan Eisenberg’s website and he has a list of 167 tools marketers can use to optimize their site’s and their landing pages. Great reference source. If you are at all into optimization bookmark this one, it’s continually being updated as well.

We were asked how satisfied we were with our conversion rates. Most raised their hands to answer that they were not satisfied and they were not dissatisfied either. Then he asked how many of us were converting at 10%. I think only one person raised their hand. We were then told, his words not mine, that “we suck”. Note, this was my second abusive session of the day. 10% should be our goal. We’re also not alone in “sucking”. Approximately 56.8 billion dollars a year are spent on digital advertising, 2% of that (on average) is converting traffic. This is because limited time and resources are the major barrier to improving conversions.

Since this was a VERY informative session, I’m going to list key points. If you’d like to get more in depth about this session reach out to me on our Twitter page and I will fill you in.

Always be testing is Mr. Eisenberg’s mantra. Check out his website above for all the tools to use for testing.

The most valuable thing you can do on a landing page is have a unique value proposition. Make sure your “sell” is what stands out.

Every single ad group you create should have its own landing page for optimal results. Never slice and dice a landing page, remember, “It’s not what, it’s why”.

You need to have an analytics tool, it does not matter which. The point of the analytics tracking is not the numbers. The point is to create a to do list. Establish what you need to do based on the data from the analytics.

At this point Bryan shared 30 different tools with our group, all dedicated to optimization and testing. Again, check out his website above for the full suite of his preferred tools.

Thins emphasized at the end: Message consistency is important. Don’t write a landing page your PPC ad can’t cash. Never, ever, offer one thing and lead the user somewhere else.

Grade: A+

Look out for Day 2’s Recap tomorrow afternoon! See you at SES Chicago tomorrow! If you can’t be there follow the #seschi hashtag on Twitter to keep up live with what’s going on.

Published Tuesday, November 15, 2011 9:41 PM by A.Umer

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