For years now, online marketing professionals have stressed the importance of the human element, particularly in social media. The point was elaborated on in a keynote at the Online Marketing Summit in San Diego today, where an audience of B2B and B2C marketers listened to Federated Media CEO John Battelle and special guest Anne Holland, who runs Which Test Won, discuss how to apply this concept to branding.
Note: If you're not familiar with the Online Marketing Summit, WebProNews discussed it with founder Aaron Kahlow (who was also present at the keynote) recently at SES:
As the audience waited for Battelle to arrive, they engaged in some time-killing chit chat with Kahlow, revealing some specific goals for strategies they'd like to learn more about. These included social search, baselines and benchmarks, linking power and strategies, trends in social media, international SEO, and conversion optimization.
This keynote dealt with principle foundations of online success. Holland said its about finding and identifying the "pain point" of the business, and how you position your product to fill that pain point. This includes looking at the existing marketing, seeing what is strong and what isn't, and looking at conversion points and landing pages. Holland says to find the obvious problems, and look at how you're measuring conversions that add up to money...not metrics like page views and opening rates.
Battelle says to engage in a conversation with the advertisers, and look for points for engagement with the company. Make sure you understand the framework of the product, because not all things work for all clients.
Holland says that if you're a known brand, it's been proven over and over that your search result will get a higher click rate and your landing pages will get higher conversion rates. That is the value of brand awareness, but marketing online isn't all about hard conversions and numbers of clicks. Brand marketing is very valuable, she says. The big brand wins, and becoming the big brand is immensely important. "Branding matters!" she declares.
Battelle says that large brands get to be large brands by projecting themselves. They run their business in an extremely mechanized fashion, and they forget sometimes that a brand is only what one person says to another person about the brand. He says the tools around now allow more and more people to join the conversation, and encouraging people to join the conversation about the brand is key. The most important thing to a brand, he says, is using the tools and leveraging opportunities for more people and employees to create and grow a conversation about the brand.
Holland stressed the importance of going and looking for customers. This means finding out where they are, whether that be Facebook, LinkedIn, or anywhere else. Look at what they're doing there, and figure out how you can be where they are.
Battelle made it a point to mention that advertisers are people too, and that sometimes marketers forget that.