Here are further nuggets of wisdom from day two of last week's New Media Marketing Conference hosted by IQPC, seasoned with my own opinions.
Vincent Maher, strategist at the Mail & Guardian Online, took us through the newspaper's web strategy and implementation over the last 12 months. Starting with News in Photos, and culminating in the MG.co.za site redesign, it is interesting to hear the thought process behind one of South Africa's most innovative online team. It was also heartening to hear that Maher was given a budget of R0 to get going, and that he managed to pull rabbits out of hats to come up with a cohesive set of online tools that just work. You can read about the strategy in the synopsis.
Zoopy video of Vincent Maher's presentation
Mike Stopforth from Cerebra took us through 10 simple, but vital, tips that you can implement when setting your own social strategy. They might seem simplistic at first (be yourself, don't re-invent the wheel) but it amazing how often we overcomplicate matters and get confused in all the chaos. The talk was concise and well-delivered, and you can read the synopsis here.
Zoopy video of Mike Stopforth's presentation
Elusive youth market
Tyler Reed is twenty years old, and is therefore well-suited to talk about how to use technology in general and social media specifically to address the elusive youth market. He made the point that the youth were born into the new technology, and treat it as a de facto offering. He confirmed that cellphones are indeed the next big thing, and he emphasised that the youth is not put off by the small screen, which I personally always see as a huge limitation.
The talk was an interesting perspective on market segmentation, but I saw many similarities between Reed's reliance on technology and my own. So maybe at the end of the day, technology can be a common denominator.
Zoopy video of Tyler Reed's presentation
Lize Esterhuizen, from Stellenbosch University, took us through the university's aim of "total connectivity", and gave specific details on how the students use their inhouse social network to complement campus life. I was very impressed by the offering: students can do the expected things, such as connect with friends, but they can also talk to their professors, manage their student account, book their meals online and find a job. The network seems to be impeccably thought out and is of obvious benefit to the students. It is also monetised by third party advertising. As a fellow delegate said, we all wish we had this in our student days!
Zoopy video of Lize Esterhuizen's presentation
Paul Jacobson, a new media lawyer, took us through some legal issues that need to be kept in mind as we become more and more active online. Specifically, Jacobson addressed four issues: freedom of expression, content licensing, privacy and unlawful competition. Although by his own admittance, he just scratched the surface in his 40-minute talk, the message was clear: be very aware of your online activity, but do not panic. You can read the synopsis here.
Patrick Collings introduced us to the world of virtual reality, specifically Second Life. I have wanted to experiment with Second Life for quite some time now, but I have found that bandwidth constraints inhibit the experience. Collings confirmed this by saying that South Africa is just not a significant player in the world of virtual reality. That is a pity, since Second Life has made at least two people US$ millionaires, and has attracted attention from the IRS as to all the money being made there.
Collings specifically addressed the issue of what brands should do about Second Life: their initial foray into the virtual world were not successful, and they have to be more innovative about their marketing intrusion. This is early days for virtual reality, but it will for certain be a technology that will affect us in the future.
Allan Kent from Saatchi & Saatchi AtPlay gave us a very interesting presentation about how agencies are approaching the new age of advertising. He confirmed that the consumer is now driving a lot of the marketing efforts, and that brands have to think out of the box. He pointed out that new technology, such as our PVR decoders, are making the 30 second commercial a less-than-effective medium to spread the word.
Kent then showed us examples of interactive campaigns from across the globe that used consumer participation or that that embraced the new media tools available. An example of this was the Endless Summer campaign for Engen, which used MXiT to incentivise kids (back row passengers on long trips) to convince parents to fill up at Engen. Always entertaining to see good campaigns, and to hear about the thinking the goes into their execution.
Zoopy video of Allan Kent's presentation
Leon Orsmond finished the conference off with a bang, but perhaps not a very good one. He managed to alienate a lot of the audience, and came across as a bit obnoxious. I think that was his goal, so he must be thrilled.
His message was simple: advertising as we know it will be dead in two years (and if it isn't, it should be), and we are all acting like sheep by creating boring, monotonous campaigns that just do not work. As you can imagine, he hates banner ads. I enjoyed his presentation style, as well as his collection of "new terms" that are going to define our near future culture. These include "jump the shark" and "shoot the puppy".
Eve Dmochowska is the idea facilitator at IdeaBank (www.ideabank.co.za)and keeps her time busy strategising the Internet space, deciphering the world of Web 2.0, and publishing the Internet Guide magazine (www.internetmagazine.co.za). She can be contacted at .
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