PubCon Recon – Keynotes of Note
I am a first time PubCon attendee thanks to Andy and Marketing Pilgrim. I am about to get started on the third day of PubCon’s full slate of education in the areas of search engine optimization, paid search, social media, affiliates . ORM, web hosting, content creation, site reviews, link building and domaining. Needless to say there is plenty to do. In fact, it becomes a war of attrition trying to figure out where you can get the most value. Here’s a quick note: this event is being held in Las Vegas. Obviously there are “distractions” available but I will not have any wild tales to tell. Sorry to disappoint. If it’s information about what thought leaders in internet marketing have to say I am there for you and so is PubCon. If it’s a “fear and loathing in Las Vegas” kinda look you want I will sorely disappoint you (my wife and family like that last part though).
To start, the two keynotes thus far have been very interesting. Shawn Rorick is the Director of Marketing, Cirque du Soleil. He talked about the sheer volume of the world’s information and how moving forward we are looking at some radical change in how we interact as marketers with consumers. It was Rorick who started a mantra that I have heard repeated more often than I would imagine here which is to understand traditional media more. The true shortcoming of traditional media at the moment is the inability to measure it well. The world of online marketing allows for greater measurement and thus is more appealing but it truly does all play together. When you as a marketer can make them play together you stand to win big. Can’t we all just get along ?
This was Shawn’s first keynote and he did well. You can even mark this moment as the coining of the phrase Halo Media, which is the task of marketers to take in ALL media under one “halo” then decide what elements are being used by your target audience and not just do things that you “think” you target audience would use. We will be forced to look at all elements because users will have many choices of where and how to consume information as these channels evolve and it our duty to monitor and ID their behavior rather than trying to manipulate it. To sum up, Shawn said forget the rules because there are none. I agree. Another thing he implored people to do, which I have been saying for a while since I come from the sales side of internet marketing, is to interrogate salespeople trying to push their wares on you. I couldn’t agree more. The disconnect between sales and delivery of almost ALL new media and search marketing is frightening and the companies who address this best will flourish.
Day two’s keynote was by George Wright. George is the mastermind of the phenomenally successful “Will It Blend” campaign for BlendTec blenders. Here is a bit of a confession here. I am not a big video consumer on the internet. I just feel that there is SO much crap on the internet from a video standpoint and the more time I spend online translates into less time I spend with actual people (that is to say that I don’t confuse social media activity with the actual act of talking to a human being face to face or on the phone when I am building a real relationship).
Ok, now that I have confessed that, here comes another one: I had never heard of the whole “Will it Blend” phenomenon until George spoke to the PubCon group. You probably think I am out of touch but the reality is that I am more normal than internet marketers know or want to admit. In fact, I’m not sure if I even have a blender in our house so I am truly a prospect. Millions of page views are great but there are millions more that can still be had and, dare I say, that those millions are people who would be great prospective buyers of your product! This is the crossroads of the old and the new media that has been tossed around here a bit. One real funny point in his presentation was the “roasting” of Rance Crain who is the editor-in-chief of Advertising Age. He looked very archaic in his take on why Blendtec just needed to take out print ads to sell their blenders. Mr. Crain (who I actually worked for at one point at one of their city specific publications) you need to embrace new media as much as the other guys need to embrace you. Once again, can’t we all just get along?!
When all is said and done though, what Mr. Wright did with the “Will It Blend” campaign was absolutely brilliant. He took a normal event in the Blendtec building, which is to have Tom Dickson, the founder of Blendtec, destroy items with their blenders to test the durability of the product THEN helped this traditional company understand that people (dare we say prospects?) would like to see that. The results: total blender sales up 700% and a subscriber list of 200,000 evangelists along with millions of more viewers of the videos. It’s almost a bit cultish. Wow. Even a guy who doesn’t watch video online has to recognize that this was a marketing grand slam in both its reach and simplicity. The lesson here is don’t think about your product the same way that you have marketed it until now. Step back, relax and find the real magic in your offering then share it creatively. Congrats, Blendtec. This will be a tough act to follow but I think it can be done because everyone can find something to destroy.
Phew. That’s a lot already and I haven’t even scratched the surface. Much more to come in the days to come. Thanks.