SMX conference! This time in San Jose, CA.
For me, SMX is a great venue to get up to speed with the latest inbound marketing developments -- from SEO to Content Marketing to PPC.
This is my second SMX after the one in NY. In both cases, I left with interesting new ideas, strategies and techniques. Some of these have made a difference for us, helping to get an unfair advantage against much bigger competitors in terms of high quality leads and as a result, in a higher number of closed deals.
Here are some of my key observations from SMX 2013:
1. Morphing Inbound marketing . Once upon a time, it was as simple as just having good content and a decent landing page. With more and more companies generating lots of content (both good and bad), effective inbound marketing is getting really complex and demands more and more resources. At this point, it requires pretty sophisticated SEO, dedicated content marketing, SEO-optimized, PR, metrics, tools, graphics designers and web coders.
Each element is a science to itself. And many of them are morphing and merging, opening new opportunities and creating new complexities.
For example, traditional PR is becoming an SEO-optimized PR that is turbocharged with smart content marketing, delivered using social and community marketing, using social network-fueled journalist and blogger targeting and "help a reporter" tools.
Sounds complicated? It really is. It requires the right talent, experience and budgets to succeed.
Does it work? Absolutely. Done right, it is a high quality lead generation machine.
2. SEM- what is the right balance?
You have to manage other things as well, e.g. messaging, ad writing, designing / coding / updating landing pages, A/B testing, competitive analysis, etc.
Can in it be done in-house? Yes, if you have a sizable, dedicated and experienced team.
For most of us...- get a good agency! ... And have team member that will focus on messaging, copy, A/B testing, design, etc.
Why? Because the agency doesn't know your industry. It may waste lots of time and money with no results, if you outsource that part.
3. Where are the the Big Cheeses? With the way marketing is evolving, one would think more CMOs and Vice Presidents would come to SMX to learn about the inbound / content / web / search engine marketing. Yet, there were very few executives.
The good news is that there were many bright and innovative junior and mid-level marketing professionals. I think these folks are shaping their future, obtaining and perfecting skills that would make them really successful as next-generation marketing executives.