I was so intrigued with SEJ Summit London speaker Andrew Girdwood’s title of Media Innovations Director at DigitasLBi, that I wanted to ask him more about innovation and integrated marketing. He is also speaking about this topic at our London marketing conference.
SEJ Summit London is now mere weeks away, on May 12th. We still have a few FREE tickets available for our inaugural London marketing event, held at the awesome new Ham Yard Hotel. The SEJ Summit series is possible courtesy of our partner, Searchmetrics. Their “search experience optimization” makes digital marketing better, faster, and more profitable.
Here’s my interview with Andrew:
1. Your presentation at SEJ Summit is titled “Is Combining Search, Social and Content Impossible for Big Brands?” It seems many different marketing strategies need to work together to be effective; what are the benefits of a more interactive marketing strategy?
I remember trying to persuade brands that they could achieve something similar to a 1 plus 1 makes 3 success by better combining activities like Search and Social. I no longer use that approach. Search marketing requires coordination with Social and Content to be successful. That’s a pretty big benefit. Failure to coordinate will result in failure to perform.
2. I have heard a lot about ‘agility’ in the marketing world. Can you explain what that means, and how it can help businesses become more competitive?
Agility is the buzzword used to describe getting things done quickly. For example, an agile brand is able to react to today’s joke on Twitter by putting together some quality content and tweeting it into the conversation. This is a real challenge for many big brands (and agencies) who could spend days just to determine what the morning’s joke on Twitter was in the first place; let alone creating the content and getting approval for the tweet.
3. Usually, it is easier for smaller businesses to be agile. What are three disadvantages big brands face when it comes to being agile?
- Big brands tend to be more reliant on processes and sign-offs.
- Big brands will have more complicated and generally more isolated department structures (for example; one department for digital marketing with associated budget and a number of managers and another for PR, with a different budget and different decision makers).
- Big brands are more likely to be working with multiple agencies.
4. You are very intrigued by “The Next Big Thing” in digital marketing, so what are three big things you see coming to fruition in 2015?
Connected devices will see a success in 2015. This may be smart watches, but I think connected TVs are silently building up formidable numbers in households throughout the country. I hit the “Smart Hub” button on my TV when I come home almost by default now and it takes me a menu option where I can pick Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.
I think we’ll see improvement with metrics this year. In particular the display channel will benefit with metrics that give advertisers better assurance around whether the ad was seen or not. Meanwhile, metrics that help connect off and online activities will rise; whether that’s Twitter’s TV targeting or Google’s online to in-store tracking.
Lastly, we’ll see more options becoming available with video. I mean video ad options but also ways and means people have of creating, sharing and enjoying videos.
5. Your title is “Media Innovations Director”. Can you explain what that means and share the top 3 innovations you are most excited about?
My job title is the direct result of the agency I work for being bought, merging, buying, and rebranding with a whole bunch of other similar kick-ass agencies over the year. The “media” part refers to connecting with people – typically, but not always, with specific channels and platforms in mind, like search, display, affiliates, etc. The “innovations” part is really a short hand for “new” or “new to you”.
Innovations that have my attention at the minute are:
- The sharing economy: This isn’t social media sharing, but actual, proper sharing of goods, services, and time.
- We’re all publishers now: The world is changing as each and every one of us becomes a publisher.
- Connected devices: The world is becoming digital, and its going to be awesome to see where this goes.
6. You have experience in many different areas include search, social, and IT. Do you think having a wider knowledge base, as opposed to having highly specialized knowledge, helps make you a more effective marketer?
The most important thing any marketer can be is an expert. If you’re not an expert then there really isn’t any reason for anyone to work with you.
However, there’s a big difference between an expert and a specialist. I’m not suggesting I’m an expert in all things – far from it; I’ve more to learn than I know when it comes to many aspects of digital marketing. In order to protect my expertise in some areas I think it is important that I have a general interest and understanding in many more areas.
Running a blog is a case in point. I don’t think you can really call yourself a “true SEO” if you’ve not ever tried to run your own blog. I know this will annoy some folk, but from my point of view SEO is a hands-on and experience led skill set. You don’t just become an SEO by writing up keyword research and adapting best practise documents for your clients. The skills you need to run a successful blog are far wider than just SEO.
7. You are a self-proclaimed geek and gamer, so I have to ask: what is your favorite game right now?
Ingress. This is a game by Google. In Ingress there are two teams; blue and green, who battle for control of portals around the world. To capture a portal you have to walk to it (go outside, walk down the road, actually leave the desktop behind) and use your smartphone to change the portal’s frequency to match your team.
Ingress sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Andrew. It was so interesting!
Don’t forget, you can request your free ticket for our London event, happening on May 12th at The Ham Yard. You can also come see us in Silicon Valley, NYC, and Atlanta later this year.
Featured Image: Bloomua via Shutterstock