Digital Evangelists Roundtable, Round 1

This past Thursday night I was lucky to be part of group of people got together to talk about the state of digital advertising, technology and what the future holds for marketing in the digital age. John Haake, from Eyeblaster, was the host at ValBella.

The evening wasn’t presented as an Eyeblaster event though. No one talked about their technology or what they were selling. It was just a discussion amongst people who care about making progress in the way marketing is done in the ever-changing digital space. We’re in the middle of a full-on collision of forces shaping how products are created, designed, built, marketed and sold and each person at our little gathering brought a unique perspective on a piece of the action.

This first night’s gathering we spent a fair amount of time talking about what’s going right and wrong in the spending of media dollars. Although it may sound obvious, one comment really stood out to me on how the digital world of media differs from the “traditional” way media was bought. Before the digital revolution when a TV spot or magazine ad ran that marked the end of the media buyer’s job. The planning had happened; the buying had happened. What little work that was left was to make sure your spot ran or that the magazine reproduced the color of your ad properly.

In the digital age though, the moment your interactive pieces go live only marks the end of one stage of a multi-stage process. The beginning of the job was the initial planning and buying, similar to what was done traditionally, but because of the ability of digital to adapt to what you’re finding out in real time, there is a huge amount of work left to do to get the most out of your media spend. Ideally, that doesn’t mean just the media plan is adapted over time, but the creative executions as well. This concept is pretty easy to understand in terms of an online banner campaign where banners are rotated over time based on what’s being clicked on and how a banner’s click through rate changes the longer it is in market, but there is a much bigger scope of information that can be evaluated on a large digital buy and the complexity can lead to many opportunities being missed along the way. I’d love to explore this optimization topic more next time from the point of view of media, account, creative, and brand planning.

The word “widget” was mentioned approximately 112 times, but I lost count somewhere in the mid-60s. Why was “widget” talked about so much? It’s a buzz word of the moment that’s started to stick with people across the marketing industry. The term has stuck, but not a definition of what it means is pretty vague. One person’s widget is another person’s gadget is another person’s embedded video. Whatever you think it is, to get the most out of the widget concept means agreeing on a what you or your client is talking about. Again, here’s another topic that I think we can explore further.  

We’ve got the initial introductory meeting done. I think we’ve done well by getting to know each other a bit. We’re collectively trying to come to a decision on what to do next.   I think “optimization” and “widgets” will definitely be part of the next meeting. It should be fun.

See Ben Weisman, who invited me to the evening (thanks, Ben!), has also written about the night on his blog here. Check it out. Also thanks to Ben and Gefen Lamdan for the photos used above.

Who was there? Amy Auerbach from PHD, David Berkowitz from Marketer’s Studio, Matt Enos from Tribal DDB, Amaya Garbayo from Mindshare, John Haake from Eyeblaster, Liza Hausman from Gigya, Alex Jorissen from Eyeblaster, Lindsey Kollross from MEC, Gefen Lamdan from Eyeblaster, John Morton (me) from johnfmorton.com LLC, Linda Payson from Avenue A | Razorfish, David Pogue from The New York Timess, Adam Romero from Agency.com, Adam Shlachter from MEC, Troels Smit from Eyeblaster, Doug Stivers from Beyond Interactive, Persia Tatar from Media Post, and Ben Weisman from Eyeblaster, Digitas, Bucky Ben Consulting and Dogmatic. (Yes, Ben is a busy guy!).

Comments on this post.

John, great summary, it was really great to meet you, looking forward to more chats about widgets and more . .

By Liza Hausman on Apr 14 2008
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