Ad:Tech San Francisco Recap & Takeaways (#adtechsf)

Ad: Tech SF 2013Last week I headed out west for ad:tech San Francisco. It was my first time at an ad:tech conference and I was fortunate to be able to both enjoy the show and speak on a social media panel.

The conference offered some excellent sessions on content, social media, mobile advertising, display, and more. It also had some very cool startup spotlight sessions where companies went in and pitched brands, including General Mills and Wonderful Pistachios.

I came away with some valuable takeaways from the show worth sharing. While I’ll get to those takeaways in a second, I want to start with the session I was a part of, “Social Media: Integrating Paid, Owned, Earned.”

Session Takeaways

The panel kicked off with Ekaterina Walter, Social Media Innovator, Intel discussing the convergence of paid, owned, and earned, and was immediately followed by myself; Wendy Lea, CEO, Get Satisfaction; Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, CMO, Mindjet; and Wayne St. Amand, VP of Marketing, Crimson Hexagon.

Each of the speakers discussed either how they, or their customers, were integrating paid, owned, and earned in their social media campaigns. While it’s always interesting to hear what other companies are doing, one of the major takeaways for me was something that’s near and dear to my heart: customer satisfaction.

Utilize Your Customers

Wendy Lea of Get Satisfaction, a helpdesk and customer community tool, reiterated how important it was to use the earned media you already have right in your back pocket: customer feedback.

Happy customers are your biggest asset and it’s up to you to get them talking about you, whether that be with their friends, on their website, or on social media. Get them talking. Engage with them. Reward them for their support. Customers want your business to be successful because it helps their business be successful.

Wayne St. Amand also followed up with a quote that I thought was brilliant: “Social media is the largest source of unsolicited customer opinions ever.” Everyone is a critic, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing; always remember to use customer feedback, whether positive or negative, to your advantage.

Search Data + Social

A big part of my presentation focused on the idea of integrating the search data you already have with the social campaigns you’re running.

As search marketers, we work extremely hard to make sure we’re targeting the right keywords (i.e., the keywords that our audience is both searching for and converting through) in our paid and organic campaigns.

The key is to take that keyword data you have and integrate it into your social campaigns. When identifying influencers and engaging with your audience, target people using the keywords you know work versus the broad keywords that might reflect your industry.

Here are the slides from my presentation:

Ad:Tech Takeaways

As I mentioned above, I also was able to attend a number of other sessions and came away with some valuable info:

Integration Is Key

Whether you were sitting in on a social media panel or watching one of the keynotes, the theme was the same: integrate.

The companies executing successful marketing campaigns are creating cohesive multi-channel campaigns to ensure they are reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right message.

For B2B marketers in particular, this is especially important as you lead the customer through the buying cycle. The messaging the customer is given during the discovery phase must be different from the messaging they are given at the evaluation phase. The key is, however, the different messages must work together to create one cohesive message.

For businesses, this means the content team must be working with the social team, which must be working with the paid team, etc. Make sure your marketing teams are integrated!

“Content Doesn’t Live in a Vacuum”

This quote came from Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter Group and goes perfectly with the takeaway I mentioned above. Rebecca noted that content is important to everything you do as a marketer and should not live on its own.

Content needs to be integrated with paid advertising, owned media, and earned media, particularly social. On top of that, content must go beyond the written word. It’s more important than ever to have audio and visual content people can listen to, watch, and share.

For businesses, this means creating content marketing strategies. Companies must focus on why they are creating the content versus simply creating content. They must also then evaluate their content strategy to ensure they are hitting the desired goals and adjust accordingly.

Social Advertising Is Here to Stay

During the past couple of conferences I’ve attended, I’ve paid particularly close attention to the social advertising panels. One, I find it fascinating and, two, my own experience with it wasn’t great and I’m always interested to see how others fare.

What I’ve been hearing and seeing, and what was once again prevalent at ad:tech, is the idea that social advertising is evolving—and it’s working. For example, Facebook Exchange now offers retargeting capabilities to let you reach customers who’ve already been to your site. The Facebook-promoted post functionality is garnering great reviews from those looking to drive traffic to their sites.

For B2B marketers, this presents an opportunity that many thought was not there. The average age of the Facebook user, for example, is growing older and the ability to target these users is getting better. For this reason, social advertising could become a much bigger player in the B2B space.

Overall, there was a lot of solid information at ad:tech and excellent insights into the marketing trends of 2013 and beyond. If you were at ad:tech and have your own big takeaways or thoughts on the social media session, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I’d love to read them!

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