In March I attended the SES conference & Expo at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. I have to say there was plenty of information being dispensed by means of express clinics (1+ hour learning seminars) to small groups and much larger venues with panels of speakers to appeal to bigger audiences.
First of all, if you read any of my post you probably noticed that I do attend many trade shows and expos dealing with marketing both traditional and online. However, in this day and age online marketing seems to be the big thing that individuals and businesses seem to focus on. The only traditional marketing trade show that I attend is the annual DMA (Direct Marketing Association) show which this year is to be held in Vegas and I probably will not attend this year.
The downside to online marketing is actually the medium itself, it constantly evolves, new standards are rapidly created and web development is constantly changing. It is like trying to hit a moving target that moves at lightning speed.
In order to stay afloat with your online programs, you need to learn new jargon, track new technologies, learn coding and understand formats. There is a need to constantly review the programs that you implement like SEO/SEM, social media, adwords, keyword placements, per-per-click and e-mail campaigns.
Many shows that I attended in the past, fell short of this idea since their focus was on grabbing new business and not truly educating the business person on what he needs to review and his ROI in relation to investments made in online intelligence (I consider all online marketing practices as intelligence). This is where SES comes in:
Most of the SES events this year covered the following:
- How to design search engine-friendly web pages
- Constructing a business case for your board to encourage a greater investment in search engine marketing
- The basics of building links and why they are important to rankings
- How to select an agency if you decide to go down this route
- Manage your pay-per-click campaigns and analyzing your return on investment
- Building an analytics package into your business and interpreting the results to build greater success
- How to convert more of your visitors into buyers with refinements to landing pages
- Better integrate search with your other marketing channels
- Produce and optimize web video and audio content on your site
- Tap into traffic from local search listings
I have to say that as far as SES goes it delivered, many of the companies that exhibited provided good overviews of their product and where they fit into the marketing mix. I thought that Microsoft had a great presence since they gave me a good explanation about the Bing Webmaster tools that I have recently begun using.
I also enjoyed my conversation with a company named Visistat who developed a GEO-IP based analytical and web capture software for online sales and marketing teams, BTW I started to use it as a result of trying it at the show and it had a tiered pricing structure based on usage and page views that even very small mom and pop firms could afford.
The downside to SES, many of the companies exhibiting were still catering to larger Fortune 500 companies with huge marketing budgets and many of the web applications were enterprise level programs attached to enterprise level pricing so many of the online programs were way out of our reach to use. This alone makes it difficult to keep going to these shows and finding suitable vendors with reasonably priced programs for small to medium size businesses.
Other than that I will attend next year since I did receive good information and hopefully I may try some new online programs next year if their pricing structure goes down!