9 things I learned at the Google & MediaCom digital marketing event in Manchester

On Thursday I took a trip with colleagues to the all-mod-cons MediaCom offices in Manchester for a special client-only event featuring a number of sessions led by experts at Google and MediaCom.

Kicking off the day I had some fantastic treacle drenched waffles for breakfast, fish, chips and halloumi for lunch and, peppered throughout the event, a big bag of pick ’n’ mix. It was wonderful. In between all of this, I learnt some things about digital marketing.

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The MediaCom offices awaiting the arrival of the day’s guests. Image by @kboneva.

1. Google knows loads about us as consumers
Through its huge portfolio of products, Google is able to piece together quite a detailed picture of who we are, where we live and what we are interested in. You can find out what they know about you here.

2. Data can be used to automatically select relevant adverts for individualsTHEY
If the aim of marketing is to reach a consumer with a message that will strike a chord with them at that particular moment, then programmatic marketing techniques make success far more likely. This technology picks up on signals such as recent searches, check-ins and location settings and serves consumers adverts that it thinks, statistically speaking, they will be most interested in at that time. Clever huh?

3. Consumers prefer adverts that are relevant to them
While it can seem a bit creepy that the brown brogues you found on Urban Outfitters are now following you around the Internet, research shows that more than half of consumers see personal relevance as the key reason why they would engage with an advert. Having a strong data foundation enables brands to more effectively target people with the right adverts.

4. Technology cannot replace great ideas
While it’s easy to get carried away by fancy technology, it’s important to remember that with consumers being hit by an estimated 5,000 marketing messages each day it’s harder than ever to ensure that your message is one that resonates. Getting the idea right will always have more impact than choosing the right channels. Start with the creative. The amazing Always campaign #likeagirl illustrates that perfectly. And 54 million views don’t lie.

5. There is a recipe for creative meetingsTHEY
To be effective, creative meetings should: take place in the morning, enable physical space, have a leader, have a relatively small number of people present and be between people who are comfortable to speak openly with each other. Using the sieve method, the first half of the meeting should value quantity of ideas over quality, with greater focus given to the better ideas in the second stage of the meeting. The flow method is all about killing off your inner critic and letting your ideas flow like insults in a rap battle.

6. Brands need to be ‘mobile first’
It appears that lots of brands are misinterpreting their data and assuming that because most of their sales still occur in-store and those that are online tend to be through desktop, their mobile site is not that important. However, figures show that while people may buy less often through mobile than through other means, their smartphone is now the device they use to surf, read, research and, ultimately, decide whether to buy that product.

7. Video will soon account for more than half of the Internet
The Economist estimates that by 2018, 60% of web traffic will be accounted for by video. Marketers need to make video a focus now.

8. Brands must use analytics to their full potential
Through Google Analytics, brands can now build a more detailed picture of their customers’ (increasingly complex) journey to purchase. So rather than looking only at final click attribution (which interaction led to the final sale), brands can now build a much richer picture of which communication led to their first interaction with a new customer and which other activities assisted in the conversion. These learnings can help brands to tailor communications accordingly and help them take a big picture view when deciding which areas to invest in.

9. In a way, nothing has changed
We can’t deny that there have been huge technological advances in recent years and, as one expert said, digital marketing is now data driven and technology fuelled. However, the one constant message coming through from Google and MediaCom throughout this event was that good marketing is still about getting the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place. Digital just makes that process a little easier.

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