Digital marketers need to get their house in order.
That was the key take-home I had after spending three days at the Shop.org Online Marketing Conference which took place in Hollywood, Florida from Wednesday night until yesterday afternoon.
First off, a special thanks to Pinny Gniwisch from Ice.com and Michael LeBlanc from CanWest Interactive for recommending me as a speaker to the Shop.org group. Because of their recommendation, I was asked to keynote the Shop.org Online Marketing Workshop this week.
The biggest challenge I faced when walking the two hundred and fifty online marketers through my Six Pixels of Separation presentation was how to build community and content around a working model that is strictly focused on conversion.
And that's where we need to build the most important bridge (challenge) that faces online marketers today: how do you build community and create content when the main driving force of the website is to focus the consumer on the purchase... as quickly as possible?
Amazon does it well - leveraging consumer reviews and other enhanced features while always making the process of ordering as simple and effective as possible. eBay does this incredibly well as the community actually "is" the reason we buy (if the community thinks a seller sucks... they're done, no one will buy from them). Then there are websites like Lego (I had a chance to speak with one of their online marketing people at Shop.org) that allows individuals to engage the brand in a whole other way, join their community and still have the ability to buy.
In a world where the "commerce" is more important than the "e" in "e-commerce," these online marketers are open to social media. They are actively working it and trying to figure out how to do more of it. They're aware that the Google AdWords could one day dry up and that, in the end, their brands must be connecting to their consumers and allowing their consumers to connect to each other.
It was interesting. In most scenarios, we're trying to figure out how companies can get online and leverage social networks. In these scenarios, most companies are online, robust and converting millions of dollars online and scared of the implications on those bottom-lines by adding in more community and content.
Speaking of bottom-lines, Shop.org is an extremely dynamic organization. Great companies - all focused on the online space by engaged Marketers who are passionate about the opportunities and potentials ahead. They're focused on communities of people who are looking to buy and, hopefully, after this week's Online Marketing Workshop, they're also looking at other ways to engage through different kinds of content and social media tactics.