The NMA Online Marketing conference was two days of stalls, marketing and multi-media, buzz and… more marketing. It was probably my first full-on encounter with the marketing industry and it wasn’t pretty from where I was standing. It is a strange world, for someone coming from the online underworld, as I call it and from the
dark "user side". I am far closer to the target ‘audience’ than to the marketers and I got to see the tricks of the trade used on hapless ‘consumers’. The exhibitors hall had a whiff of desperation about it, with a notable exception of Latitude, who were doing a rather brisk trade.
The most enjoyable part of the experience was walking around the stalls finding out what the various companies exhibiting in the stalls do. Most of it was the same stuff – search optimisation, keywords, e-commerce websites, monitoring of clicks, hits and the usual "slicing and dicing, dividing by four, bringing in the sheep". Now the fun bit was asking the people questions like: So, why do you do this? What’s in it for the users? Do you use RSS? Oh, why not? But you do know about it, right?
At this point Jackie would leave the ambushed stall with her gaze respectfully averted in the presence of the tortured… she later told me that she felt quite sorry for them. I had no idea, I thought I was doing them a favour. I recall one particular conversation:
I see, so you have a new approach to email marketing campaigns. You use html in your emails? Well, there is another way, you know, if you want people to get updates about something. Just provide an RSS feed? Yes, it’s very simple, in fact and quite effective. You’d like to know more? OK, here’s my card, send me an email and I’ll forward you some information about it…
So as you can see, all good clean fun at the expense of the big-budget-hogging ones.
The presentation at the Brand reputations session yesterday afternoon went fine. Next time I need to focus more, there was too much content and too little time. Fortunately, the chair (from NMA) was nodding at the right places, which was invaluable when drawing mostly blank faces with terms like The Long Tail and Chaos Scenario.
Interestingly enough, the other two speakers were right on the money when it came to management of brand reputations online. This was a pleasant surprise given their distinguished background in the industry – Chris Satterthwaite of Chime Communications and Fergus Hampton of Millward Brown Precis. They both told the marketers in the audience that they should forget about trying to control the message online. So far, so good.
Jackie and I have spent some quality time observing and commenting on the proceedings, which was particularly relevant in the view of her new position as the head of marketing for Latitude, a company with a vision and enough sense to get someone like her. This is marvelous news all round, as she will get to use her skills inside the industry, guide a company with potential to through the trends that are hitting (and shaping) marketing online and be an even more effective ally to the Big Blog Company and the network than so far (if that is at all possible!). Btw, Jackie has an interesting mission of putting the traditional marketing out of our misery…
I am sure you’ll hear more about it from me and Jackie herself..