Scottish Marketing Association on the digital future

Mark GormanStewart writes: To Denholm Associates in Leith, courtesy of the Scottish Marketing Association, there to scoff and quaff free food and wine. After a while its chairman Mark Gorman was good enough to point out that I was there to take part in a discussion on the future of digital marketing and not to break gluttony records. (I would like to take this opportunity to thank the security staff for being so restrained in removing me from the crisp bowl.)

The panel, Mike Coulter, Eliza Dashwood, Scott Howard and me, were led by John Campbell up a spiral staircase to the lurking audience as the theme from Rocky blared out from loudspeakers. (Might have been the music from Question Time but I’m not sure, having been mixing my own brand “Leith rosé” from the drinks cabinet.)

The standard of debate was very high and I think the audience of 30 marketing types were interested, judging by the fact that the stayed put instead of stampeding for the exit.

Needless to say, I emphasised the centrality of online content to the future of marketing. Aside from a lively debate about whether what was happening online now was the biggest upheaval we’d ever see, the panel agreed on some key points:

  • Digital agencies need to give better service to clients, learning from their “offline” antecedents.
  • The agencies of the future need to be nimble so they can, in Mike’s memorable phrase, “dance on the waterbed” that is the changing landscape.
  • The barriers between marketing, advertising, PR and SEO are shifting.
  • Analysis and measurability are key, especially in these straitened times.
  • Content is crucial (yay!).
  • The users are in charge in a way we’ve never seen before.
  • The iPhone means incredible things for the mobile market.

We all agreed that that last point is an entire discussion on its own.

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Why the iPhone will change the world

iPhoneWe are now even more convinced the iPhone will change the world.

This is not because we have been seduced by its good looks and supereasy user interface- though we have.

Nor is it because of the recent unveiling of the 3G iPhone. It was an expensive flawed device before its new features were announced. After them it will be a slightly less flawed, slightly less expensive device.

But we were never wowed by the iPhone because of its technology. We predicted that it would change mobile because of Apple’s marketing clout and the effect that would have on Apple’s competitors. If you disagree, try to remember how many people owned MP3 players pre the iPod.

What’s got us buzzing now is the news that the iPhone is changing how users behave.

According to no less a source than Google, 50 times more search requests come from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset.

If other mobiles also make web access a common feature (and they are), Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations, believes the number of mobile searches could soon be greater than the number of web searches.

User behaviour is changing again. We had Web 2.0, now mobile becomes a major platform. Search will be a major driver. And search engine optimisation is moving towards “natural search”, ie looking at the words on the page.

Is your content ready. Would you like it to be?

Content Marketing cast transcript – Mark Gorman

For those of you interested in reading the full interview please download the Content Marketing cast e-book. Hope you enjoy and if you have any feedback on the interview we would like to hear from you.

Transcript of w00tonomy Content Marketing cast – final part

Each day this week we are publishing one of the questions and answers from the Content Marketing cast interview with Mark Gorman. At the end of the week we will provide all the question and answers in the form of a w00tonomy e-book. Hope you enjoy!

Stewart: Looking beyond Scotland to where perhaps the online market is more mature……What are the innovations that you are excited about online at the moment?

Mark: Well, there is a new innovation every day, isn’t there! Some of which are completely meaningless, completely useless and are just a fashion items. We saw big excitement amongst my circle of friends last year about the rise of Facebook as it moved out of the student generation into a wider group but already the talk is Facebook……well that was so 2007. So, I think that the danger is that there is a lot of bandwagon jumping going on, and that the bandwagons people are jumping on don’t necessarily have any strong marketing role in the mix…they’re just a bit of fun. Really, the industry…the digital communications marketplace needs to settle down a little bit I think and find real strong communications tools, vehicles and sites coming through.

Stewart: If you had to pick an online property or innovation you felt was going to last, that was of use…What would it be?

Mark: Well having just dissed Facebook, I think that there is potentially, the applications that work with Facebook, once you get rid of the killing Zombies type applications and look at the social networking opportunities that lie there…may well give it a great deal of resonance. But there is some fairly fundamental biggies out there. I have been reading recently about a thing called “The Grid”…that says…this is a thing coming out of Cern in Switzerland where the worldwide web was invented…and says that this will give instant access to the internet and is a new form of internet. I don’t know enough about it but it does sound very interesting and it does for me touch on a pretty major issue which I am starting to see…and I think that part of it is down to the impact that BBC iPlayer has had. iPlayer, great idea but it sucks up bandwidth. From personal experience it looks to me like there is major contention issues coming through even on 8MB width that you are getting from your local BT server…whatever. If that is true and that starts to grow, it’s going to really frustrate people about the opportunities that the web brings and it’s going to drive people away because we all remember what is was like using a 56k modem…which just didn’t work. So that I think is an issue.

Stewart: …and finally…if you could ‘kill’ any website, which website would you ‘kill’?

Mark: Msn!

Stewart:Good man…..Mark Gorman, thank you very much.

Transcript of w00tonomy Content Marketing cast – part 2

Each day this week we are publishing one of the questions and answers from the Content marketing cast interview with Mark Gorman. At the end of the week we will provide all the question and answers in the form of a w00tonomy e-book. Hope you enjoy!

Stewart: You mentioned the fragmentation of the media and obviously that has been driven by the growth of online….How do you see the Scottish online landscape?

Mark: It feels very young…it feels quite inexperienced and it feels driven by creative energy, technical expertise and technical innovation.The concern I have about the digital industry in Scotland is that it doesn’t feel particularly embedded by marketing people, it feels more embedded by creative and technical people….and that’s great because a lot of the online opportunities are technical but when you’ve got to go out there and spread marketing messages to people, I think if you lack that skill base in marketing that could be something which hampers our industry.

That is perhaps just because we are in the early stages and there is a lot of people growing up and into those roles but I would like to see more of a focus on the quality of the strategic thinking about the message, rather than the medium.

Stewart: So what are the pitfalls of just focusing on the medium rather than the message?

Mark: That the content is irrelevant, or the content is naive, or the content doesn’t engage with the sales message and the rest of the marketing mix…as in a more mature sense.

Q&A w00tonomy Content Marketing cast – part 2

Each day this week we are publishing one of the questions and answers from the interview with Mark Gorman. At the end of the week we will provide all the question and answers in the form of a w00tonomy e-book. Hope you enjoy!

Stewart: You mentioned the fragmentation of the media and obviously that has been driven by the growth of online….How do you see the Scottish online landscape?

Mark: It feels very young…it feels quite inexperienced and it feels driven by creative energy, technical expertise and technical innovation.The concern I have about the digital industry in Scotland is that it doesn’t feel particularly embedded by marketing people, it feels more embedded by creative and technical people….and that’s great because a lot of the online opportunities are technical but when you’ve got to go out there and spread marketing messages to people, I think if you lack that skill base in marketing that could be something which hampers our industry.

That is perhaps just because we are in the early stages and there is a lot of people growing up and into those roles but I would like to see more of a focus on the quality of the strategic thinking about the message, rather than the medium.

Stewart: So what are the pitfalls of just focusing on the medium rather than the message?

Mark: That the content is irrelevant, or the content is naive, or the content doesn’t engage with the sales message and the rest of the marketing mix…as in a more mature sense.

Transcript of w00tonomy Content Marketing cast – part 1

Each day this week we are publishing one of the questions and answers from the Content Marketing cast interview with Mark Gorman. At the end of the week we will provide all the question and answers in the form of a w00tonomy e-book. Hope you enjoy!

Stewart: Mark, tell me about marketing in Scotland…where is it?, Where is it going wrong?

Mark: well, marketing in Scotland is probably best described as a collection of SME’s…hundreds of small companies making a great contribution to the Scottish economy…over £330m at the last count, of gross value add. So it’s an important aspect of the economy and it creates a great deal of added value to operators, businesses within the Scottish economy who use our services. So, it’s a very creative collection of small business doing exciting things.

Stewart: So, we have this sector which makes an enormous contribution to the Scottish economy for its size….How do you see it developing within the next five years?

Mark: I guess the whole issue that faces marketing in general is the fragmentation of the media. The opportunities, for small companies are fantastic as it allows us to pick up niche opportunities…but on the other hand we are seeing the disappearance of the broadcast media. ITV is struggling desperately, the newspapers…its well documented that circulation is going down dramatically and that makes reaching wider, broadcast audiences very difficult. However, the counter to that is, that there’s millions of opportunities arising on a daily basis from the media. My concern is that, as an industry being small and disjointed we don’t really have a common voice….and I think our government fails to recognise the added value that we bring to the economy in Scotland. I would like to see us engaging more closely with Government, finding ways for us to be helped as an industry to take forward that talent and to really exploit it to the full.