So last month, I blogged about the seismic shift in today’s marketing landscape, and a whole new game changing way to think. What started out as a critical process to help guide the marketing plans for Martin & Co’s client roster turned into months of global research with mind-boggling results. Suddenly I realized that this information was not only essential to our agency, but to the entire Specialty Equipment Market Association, of which I have been actively involved for over 25 years.
I knew I was late to the game, but also knew I needed to find a way to share what I had learned through my entire team’s diligent discovery process. Having served on numerous SEMA councils, committees and the board of directors, I knew that the many thousands of SEMA members who had yet to discover these game changing insights could learn a great deal from our research. And once I contacted SEMA’s education division, there was unanimous agreement, some shifting of schedules, and a seminar date and time was slotted for SEMA Show 2014 for us to present Harnessing the Power of Today’s Communication Tools.
What we thought might be a topic of great interest proved to be just that. Over 200 people signed up in advance. I opened with an overview of how we used to go to market, how much the rules are changing, and most importantly why they are changing. We discussed how as marketers, we always capture attention where people search for information – which traditionally was in a print magazine, on TV or a website. Today however, instead of trying to decide what publication or show might have answers to their questions, people are going directly to Google typing open-ended questions.
Thanks to Google’s ever changing way to answer those questions, up pop organic search articles to answer it based on the value of the information the articles contain. The point is that now, we don’t have to rely on an editor or publisher to tell our story. We GET to publish information on our own websites BECAUSE consumer habits have changed; people are searching more online & Google will help them find content if it is relevant, informative and valuable. This new marketing opportunity is called content marketing. If you can define the intersection between what you want to communicate as a brand, and what the customer wants to learn & will share, that intersection will drive your content marketing plan.
This gave many audience members an A-Ha moment. I then turned it over to the panel, which consisted of a who’s who of industry media experts including Luanne Brown of eTool Developers, who discussed the vital importance of getting your website perfected with the appropriate platform, accurate data, and mobile responsiveness in order to handle this new opportunity to use your website as a self-publishing tool.
Stacey David, host and producer of Stacey David’s GearZ discussed the impact of digital on television and the importance of showcasing your brand personality and authority as an expert in your field. He went into detail on why product integration is such an important component of any television buy, and the enthusiasm with which his audience receives it. Up next was Jeff Nasi, Sr Director of Digital and Integrated sales with The Enthusiast Network. He went on to share how the digital phenomenon has impacted the print industry with lower quantity but higher quality magazines. He pointed out that the focus for digital needs to be more on results than measurability and discussed why non-search content is still so valuable when expert editors write about and in turn provide legitimacy to your products.
Jeff Lee, M&C’s Digital Marketing Director along with industry personality Chad Reynolds, co-owner of BANGshift.com rounded out the media panelists’ insights by sharing the correlation between digital shifts and vehicle launches. They went on to dive deep into the impact social media has had on the industry, the active role you must play in editorial content, and the importance of targeting your customers and competitors like a sniper. They concluded with the vital importance of not selling all the time, but having fun and humanizing your business by showing your passion. Passion after all, is what drives this entire industry. Marla Moore, Marketing Director of Coker Group then shared with the audience how Coker has utilized content marketing over the past year to fully round out their annual marketing plans. She underscored this vitally important fact: if you develop relevant website information and add a distribution strategy to be sure people find it, you are guaranteed improved SEO.
After a brief summary, the floor was opened for questions. And let me tell you! There were plenty. In fact if the doors were left open, we’d probably still be there.
Slides from the presentation here:
Watch the Seminar – recorded at SEMA 2014 here: