The StrategiQ team has experienced some brilliant thought leadership this season. In October alone, we’ve attended brightonSEO, eCommerce Expo and SearchLove. While we all love the chance to get together, we go along with clear goals:
To increase our knowledge – by learning from the industry’s brightest and best.
To give us courage – to push boundaries in our own day to day work.
To be truthful about what’s possible – and to recognise when we need to work with partners.
To create a culture of limitless thinking – which translates into benefits for clients.
And that’s why the people who go along to these events don’t just get to sit back, but are active participants – either creating their own reports (like the one below) or getting up on stage themselves to share their expertise.
So without further ado, here’s the round-up from digital marketing conference MKGO, which took place Friday 21st October in the very cool surroundings of MK-7 – the home of Red Bull Racing.
Big thanks to all the speakers and organisers @Aira for having us!
MKGO: top 3 takeaways as voted by StrategiQ:
Andi Jarvis, Strategy Director, Eximo Marketing – @andijarvis
Strategy v tactics – which is more importanterer
This intriguingly named session pokes around the oft-held assumption that in marketing, strategies trump tactics. In fact, Andi argues, marketing strategy needs to be “bothism” and needs to include brand building AND sales activation. To put this into context, ask clients: if we were here in a year’s time, how will we get more budget? Ask questions. Force them to build a picture of what they would like if you can’t get a strategy. Then, go into marketing planning. It’s vital to focus on the right metrics – who cares about the strategy or the tactics – if it doesn’t create revenue, then both activities are pointless.
Build the brand but also get sales in.
Tactics are great for testing and learning.
For more on this, check out our post: Are you confusing ‘strategy’ with ‘tactics’?
Robin Lord – Associate Director of Innovation & Strategy, Aira – @RobinLord8
Hi, could you quickly send me a forecast you’ll regret later?
As a SEO, it doesn’t make sense to “forecast” in the same way that an FD does. We can’t completely predict the future, or what will happen to businesses. That said, forecasts never offer guarantees, but are a tool to help in a judgement scenario. Use regression based on traffic, trends and seasonality.
These tools are useful:
Steps to a great forecast:
Stephen Pavlovich, Managing Director, Conversion – @pav
Advanced experimentation for fun and profit
In the 1980’s, Macdonald’s launched a pizza to compete against Dominos and Pizza Hut, but it backfired, costing them millions. These days, we can experiment without fear, testing smaller aspects of our product marketing before committing the full budget.
Experimentation is a great way to manage risk. For example, testing the reception to new features before making them widely available. Don’t forget to give it time. A minimum threshold – say 4 weeks – allows you to track traffic and make a call on whether it’s the right decision.
Hannah Smith, Founder, Worderist – @hannah_bo_banna
Pattern recognition & other stories (or how our brains distort reality)
If you see a campaign that is about beer that gets a lot of links, then you naturally think beer is a great topic to do a digital PR campaign on but beer isn’t the reason why the campaign did well! Pattern matching can be erroneous, and can lead to unsuccessful campaigns. We feel comfortable when we spot a pattern.
False information sticks! Your brain fails to hold onto what you have previously learnt.
Here’s some pointers to help you break ‘pattern recognition’ and in turn make your next campaign more successful:
Eva Cheng, Digital PR Consultant, Evolved Search – @EvaChengPR
How to build relevant links: even if you’re short on time
Relevance is key. A small number of highly relevant links is more powerful than a load of links for links’ sake.
Everyone is creative but in different ways. Try and make it interesting to you personally, expose yourself to creative inspiration, spark conversation, sign up to newsletters, train your brain with change of scenery. Write it down cognitively, also chat and direct messaging.
Tips for link building:
Check out forums such as Reddit to gain first hand information. Scrape ‘what people said’ from reviews – you can also scrape hashtags.
Making a plan
Get a mix of colours / personalities / background to push the boundaries of digital PR thinking. Start with bad ideas first, to get them out of the way. Pick a topic and have a laugh to lower boundaries.
Ask people around you who do know the topic if they would like this content. Run each piece through the following strength test:
Can you sell your concept in a few sentences?
Can you cover 3 verticals in this campaign?
Then, sense check to other people in the industry, ask a PR
It’s always useful to have a reactive calendar as a backdrop to kickstart campaigns. For example: awareness days, seasonal occurrences, release dates for specific products/reports. You can also:
Match your onsite content to trends
Create a bank of journalists / experts you can call upon when you need them.
Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research, Amsive Digital – @lilyraynyc
The whirlwind of Google Updates in 2022: what happened and how to respond
Helpful Content Update: what happened?
Significant impact on unhelpful content – Google targeted adult, grammar and lyric sites, as well as content duplicated on two or more sites without fresh context.
The impact was site wide, so even good content could be affected
Didn’t necessarily target AI content
English search only (although other languages to be rolled out in due course)
Product review update: what happened?
This has actually taken the form of around five separate updates.
Do include links to multiple sellers
Page-level if just one page product reviews
Google is leaning on E-A-T principles
Anyone can publish product reviews.
There will be more of these review type updates to come.
September core update: what happened?
Google is getting much better at understanding search intent.
How to react:
B2B Content Marketing Investment
The marketing flywheel
Engagement – more engagement – promotion
It’s officially the end of marketing attribution.
For marketing leaders:
Wil Reynolds, Founder, Seer Interactive – @wilreynolds
Do SEOs belong at the TikTok table?
How can SEOs get a seat at the table when everyone in marketing wants to talk about Tiktok? SEO still works but it’s seen as less valuable than 10 years ago due to the rise of social platforms being used as a search engine.
Google has 20 years’ of search data showing the intent behind keywords: so use that data to inform your Tiktok strategy.
If the PPC team is spending ad budget on search results full of image intent, that PPC budget may be wasted, but it won’t stand out next to a carousel of images.
Read what the SERPs are telling you
A heavy image based SERP is a strong indication that you should create Pinterest content for that keyword.
A heavy Youtube based SERP is a strong indication you need to create Tiktok content for that keyword.
What value do SEOs bring to the TokTok chat?
Rand Fishkin, Founder, Sparktoro – @randfish
Digital marketing trends you need to know for 2023
The death of the social networks and rise of the entertainment networks.
The surge in TikTok’s usage has disrupted the market but it’s not currently subject to major regulation like other platforms i.e Facebook are.
There have been various predictions about the death of email or SEO, but rarely anything dies once it’s been adopted into the mainstream.
B2B is also changing, but at a slow pace
On average people use 7.5 social/messaging apps in a month (Hootsuite study). Despite TikTok’s growth, Linkedin and Twitter are still growing. So create a marketing flywheel and work out which channel strategy works best for you.
Apple is now an ad company
Apple makes it more difficult for non Apple ads to track users, whereas Apple’s user experience makes it very easy. This is considered by some as an antitrust signal.
Marketing budgets will be cut during recession
CEO/CMOs are naturally concerned with the current market and are worried about cash flow, so there will be a cut back in spend in some areas.
Platforms won’t let you click out
The goal of platforms such as LinkedIn is to keep you there – so just because people are on there doesn’t mean you should advertise in that space.
Linkedin posts without links get 6 x times more engagement because you aren’t encouraging people to click out. You are better off posting, waiting 24 hours then adding a link via the comments.
Although we lose clicks via organic search, we can gain clicks from the social media platform by creating more branded searches.
Marketing attribution will be harder to track
How can activities like podcasts be tracked? We need to go back to monitoring lift in impression for branded keywords around key marketing campaigns.