MarketingProfs B2B Forum is going virtual... with a twist. Don’t miss it.

This past Tuesday, I journeyed up I-35 to Dallas (well, I went by airplane, but I imagined the ribbon of traffic on the Interstate below) from my home base in Austin to attend one of Silverpop's new B2C consumer marketing summits, the Digital Consumer Marketing Summit.

Leading off the afternoon’s event was the ubiquitous industry speaker and writer, and iPad-toting Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald) - seriously, he toted that iPad a lot. His compelling presentation was on 'Sideways Marketing.' Unlike many acronym-laced kickoff speeches, Loren kept our attention (I feel like I can speak for all 100+ of us in the room) rapt with pertinent examples of his theme, namely how fast the universe has spun away from traditional marketing to what he calls 'C-to-C-to-B’ - consumers who talk to friends (consumers) and then to businesses. It was a nice twist on the endless social media themes out there, I appreciated his well-attuned-to-reality viewpoint.

One point that stood out to me was "customer service is the new marketing." He compared it to Joseph Jaffe's funnel-flipping concept wherein "retention is the new acquisition." Loren then elaborated on his “3 new P’s of marketing” - People, Place, Publish. Under "publish" he stressed that content is the new king… we can't sell the steak on sizzle anymore - they want steak. Let them eat steak!! (OK, that last line is mine, but Loren is free to use it). The takeaway is that marketers should publish content that educates and solves problems. It seems content marketing is not just the domain of B2B marketers. Smells like an opportunity for MarketingProfs, after all we have lots of great content and many advertiser relationships...hmm.

Other highlights of the day included:

* Jack Jia (@Baynote) delving into how thinking about brain science and the chem-trails of ants should inform your decisions on how to leverage the power of like-minded consumers. “People are animals of context,” he explained persuasively. And we are ant-like, apparently, though I'd argue most of us are not nearly as industrious - you can take an analogy only so far. He laid out their approach to divining our individual purchase intent based on what the hidden Baynote beacons relentlessly learn about our collective web behaviors. Basically, Jack is trying to speed us all to that Minority Report future. Though, hopefully, the version where the dot-com’s beat out the dot-gov’s for control of our minds. See this Forbes write-up for more on Jack and Baynote’s fundamental concepts, plus how one major retailer has had success with it.

* The irrepressible Dylan Boyd of eROI (@dtboyd) followed with a very compelling talk around why developing mobile apps is much less effective than it is sexy. ‘Focus on the mobile web,’ he urged over and over. And over. Really, he said it about 79 times. If there was a drinking game going on just based on this, no one would have been conscious in the room before he finished.  So the deal is that, apparently, developing apps by mobile platform is pretty costly ($50k-100k a-pop, ouch) and you can't just do it for Apple's platform unless you really know your customers are there in numbers, which odds are you don't, especially if your market research is based "Gee, everyone in our company has an iPhone, so..."  Therefore, since the mobile web browsing experience a) can mimic most of those cool app-features already, and b) reach everybody regardless of device, and c) is so common and growing ridiculously - even those sad, nine remaining Palm users (cheap shot mine, not Dylan’s, but he’d probably top it) - then the heck with it, skip app-dev and go M-web-dev..

He shared a great site for anyone to check out companies that are doing interesting things in mobile: http://www.mobileawesomeness.com/ This site clearly wins the "best website name I’ve heard all year award." He even gave us a peek into his company's latest version of their mobile website, asking for feedback and honestly sharing some thoughts good and bad about it.

* Lastly, Scott Silk, CEO of SeeWhy (@ScottSilk), stood between us attendees and cocktail hour with an exploration of remarketing techniques. I’m a former CheetahMail guy and I’ve heard countless presentations on this topic since 2004; yet, I have to stay that still I got a few new thoughts/nuggets. For example, his recommendation that marketers fire off that first triggered remarketing email 15 minutes after the cart is abandoned (not an hour, not 6 hours, etc). Then follow with your second remarketing email 23 hours later... then, finally, if no action is taken, send the 3rd/last email 6 days and 23 hours later. Why 23 hours? Apparently, we predictable consumers tend to be online (and shopping) at the same times of the day. Ants again. Why that fact depresses me, I'm not quite sure. I think I was hoping for a more interesting, possibly sinister, reason, like maybe a connection to Mayan 2012 prophecies involving the number 23. Alas. Scott also urged that the initial email adopt a ‘service tone’ – resist the hard sell initially, and only offer a discount at the last email. Of course, like any tactics – test, adjust, retest, repeat.

After that last presentation, Dylan and Loren split the final MC role and worked the room for a planned extended Q&A. Which I thought was smart - blocking out time just to get a room of that size talking with each other can balance out the "Ok, we have 59 seconds for questions" typical Q&A at the end of most individual presentations.

Concluding thoughts...

1) One pleasant and smart young human that day sat across from me at my table during the sessions - one Elissa Nadel, Marketing Coordinator at Archipelago Learning. She proudly showed me both MProfs apps on her iPhone. Keep it up, Elissa, you’re a great FOMP!*

2) I’m happy to say that both SeeWhy and Baynote are currently advertising clients of MarketingProfs. And eROI is about to be, as Dylan vowed to me that they will exhibit at our SocialTech event in San Jose this October… alright, well, he promised to ‘consider’ doing that. I'll take it. C'mon, Dylan, you know we're going to rock this event.

3) It's encouraging to (re)discover how many B2C marketers I met who were not only aware of MarketingProfs but were true fans. And it wasn't the old token expression, you know those kind spurred by the nervous thought "Oh, crap, this guy is from MarketingProfs so I better say I read/love their stuff even though I haven't been on that #*$& site in 9 years!" I usually politely probe any complements, asking what in particular they like, etc, so I'm able to sniff out the vapid from the serious. And, truly, most are honest about their opinions, especially if they haven't been actively engaged with us for awhile. So the point here is that while we certainly skew B2B overall in our readership, it was a positive reality-check on just how far and deep our content and brand have penetrated all kinds of marketers over the last decade.

4) And:  if the Silverpop DCM road show will be coming to a city near you (check that list again), then attend. It’s free, brief, worthwhile... and your fellow humans presenting and attending are good ants.

As a MarketingProfs' rep primarily responsible for finding, feeding and growing happy advertiser and sponsorship clients, my first goal of attending was to see and meet the presenters, a.k.a. guys listed here who could and should spend their precious marketing budgets with us. But, too, it was a great way to escape the home office and interact with some fellow humans of the B2C marketing variety.

* Footnote: ‘FOMP’ = Friend of MarketingProfs

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