[Recap] Google ThinkPerformance 2012

I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the Google ThinkPerformance 2012 in Toronto (Oct 25) to learn about insights of the digital world from Marketing Professionals and Googlers. Besides receiving a brand new Nexus 7 tablet with my registration, I took away some valuable insights on the current digital world.

The keynote presentation was outstanding in my opinion. If you have not yet had the pleasure of seeing a presentation by Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, I suggest you figure out when he is coming to your town next and take the time to hear him speak.

Mitch’s presentation was on the current state of digital marketing. While his points were extremely relevant for anyone, anywhere, he did emphasize how Canada as a country, is lagging in the space. Here is a brief recap of the keynote presentation and my take on each point.

Theme: WTF (What the Five[ish])

New Opportunities

Digital Marketing offers a whole new space to play in. As a country, Mitch describes our current situation as being at a stand still.

We are not in Hell, we’re in pergatory, which creates uncertainty” ~ Mitch Joel.

The challenge of new opportunities is getting out of your comfort zone. Traditionally, marketing dollars are spent on the same materials, print catalogs, billboards, magazine ads etc. Marketers can guestimate the return these tactics can bring, but digital marketing is measurable using metrics and data from analytical software and programs such as Google Analytics (don’t forget, Analytics is free).

Direct Relationships

“The person who should own the relationship, is the person who is showing the best value” ~ Mitch Joel

These have always been a factor in successful business management. In a brick and mortar scenario, upset customers go to the retailer and reseller. Operations would put in place customer service and returns programs to retain customers and compete with other retailers. In the digital world, social media platforms for one example gives the customer the ability to reach the brand directly.

Utility

New Real Estate: Mobile and Tablet Technology.

“Utility leverages loyalty” ~ Mitch Joel

One of the most interesting things in the presentation was that Mobile and Tablet retailization is already here. People are glued to their all-in-one devices and are now using these tools to identify, research and shop the best products, prices and sales right from their own homes.

My take on this section is that digital is not going to ever kill traditional retail. It is going to change it. Stores have already started becoming more interactive (I love smashing golf balls into that screen and watching it slice into the digital woods) and checkouts are becoming more simple (just tap your card and out you go). Utility provides the technology to create experience.

Passive vs. Active

Because the digital world engages just about everyone, we have developed into passive and active users. This has also created a new type of marketing. Social Media is a perfect example of combining the two into passive activists. Think about the user who follows tweets but does not do any tweeting, this is a passive activist. Engaging these audiences is key to your marketing strategy. But be careful, you don’t want to bombard people with advertisements and irrelevant content, why do you think people change the channel during commercials.

One Screen

This point was by far the most interesting one in the presentation that puts into perspective the way marketers should think. Right now there are three different screens that marketers focus on, Mobile, Television and Computer. While everyone is spending so much time building strategy that best accommodates 3 screens, we really should be concerned with One Screen.

“The only screen that matters is the one infront of you” ~ Mitch Joel

The vast improvement of technology over the years has incorporated everything into one. You can listen to music, surf the web, map out the world, make phones and so on right from your smart phone, tablet or computer.

Conclusion

These points all underline one main thing for marketers. Reach the right customers at the right time. You may never know where people are in the buying funnel, but understanding the way the digital world works will help marketers devise strategy and messaging to meet their business goals.

Other Speakers at Google ThinkPerformance 2012:

Fab Dolan
Product Marketing Manager
Google

Deepak Khandelwal
VP Global Customer Services
Google

Marshall Self
Head Of Media Solutions
Google

Note: I will be recapping the presentations within the next couple of weeks.