Friday, September 01, 2006
Barcamps, unconferences, pubcons... and now, geek dinners!
Mitch Joel is a sought-after speaker, online impresario extraordinaire, and founder of Twist Image, an online marketing powerhouse in Montreal. As a result of his boundless energy, Mitch knows a lot of people! Who else could fire out a quick email over the weekend and have 17 world-class geeks show up for a steakhouse dinner on Tuesday night in August?
A couple of the main takeaways for me, from the raucous chatter:
1. Authenticity in filtering. My tablemates, Leesa Barnes, Michael Leblanc, Goody Gibson, and others, got embroiled in a deep discussion about the credibility of the crowd - the various bumps in the road towards developing good online filters and giving voice to to consumers. No simple regurgitation of homilies here. There are many barriers to the full realization of crowd wisdom. What if some of the main consumer opinion sites get acquired and subsumed? Are the various user rating systems *really* doing a good job of sorting out lies from truth? This conversation reminded me a bit of ongoing and nuanced themes emanating from the likes of Steve Rubel (recall, Rubel, the PR expert, doesn't believe that fictional characters can credibly blog, and is constantly pushing the issue of blogger authenticity).
2. Multi-pronged marketing. While the big agency folk at the table conceded that the economy and mutual back-scratching that have grown up around the "30-second spot" are largely unhealthy, and that advertisers are doing something about it (Pontiac is launching one product entirely online - no TV), the mainstream thinking is that the change isn't as fast as people think, and that the schmoozing and conservatism of the traditional agency world isn't done with just yet. You can't rule any channel out. Marketers need to come at cluttered spaces from all angles because, well, where there is so much clutter, what else are you going to do?
3. The incredibly modest, reclusive unknown founder of the mesh conference (it's like a Web 2.0 unconference for Toronto natives), Stuart MacDonald, turns out to live in my neighbourhood, so I got to snare a ride home. To go from hearing war stories about his past days with Expedia (do you have *any* idea how much a company like that spends on search advertising in a year?) to trading notes on the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival ... truly sublime. The mesh conference is going to rise again next spring.
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Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.
And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.
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