The CMA - Canadian Marketing Association - just held their 2005 Digital Marketing Conference here in Toronto. Although I was a part of the organizing committee (I even presented today in a session on Blogs with Macleans and National Post journalist, Paul Wells) it was really all about you.
That's right, as expected, speaker after speaker kept reinforcing the power of the individual and how Web 2.0 is really affecting marketers in the online environment. I think Brent Lowe-Bernie, President, ComScore Media Metrix and Chair, IAB Canada summed it up best in his presentation, State Of The Canadian Nation And Online Marketing In Canada, with these two points:
1. The consumer is totally in control.
2. Consumers are way ahead of the advertising agencies.
Isn't that the beauty of the Internet and most technologies that have the ability to be used as a marketing tool? Don't you love the fact that marketers can't figure it out because we're now able to delete commercials, time shift to when we want to watch, customize our cell phones to have a Family Guy ringtone but an Anne Geddes wallpaper and simply hit the little button with a "x" in it if we don't like a website?
So the challenge becomes how do marketers engage consumers with the right messages in the right context? I think Bryan Eisenberg (author of Call To Action) puts into place a systematic way of helping make the experience better by understanding that "clicks are people too," and that by creating a better online environment you can create something more relevant and that will lead to much more transactions. Otherwise, as Eisenberg says it's like "waiting for your cat to bark" (which is also the title of his next book).
Another key learning came from Dan Pink (author of Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind). Pink was interviewed by Canada.com Editor-In-Chief, Tim Doyle, as the luncheon keynote and dropped this gem: "stories are the new branding." We've heard Seth Godin talk a lot about this in the past (check out the book All Marketers Are Liars) and Pink really gets it. Marketing has truly become about the ability to sell through the "back-story." It's a whole new point of differentiation and online marketers are now on the front-lines because the story is best told when the people listening can interact and explore.
From rich media, Blogs and wireless marketing to online advertising, branding and email marketing, the 2005 Digital Marketing Conference was a full-day of learning, listening and networking. It was a stellar line-up with killer content.
I think we (as consumers) are all going to be happier as we get closer to getting better stories, the way we like to read them.