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Vocus Users Conference day two: inspiration in content marketing

TopRank Marketing's Lee Odden

The second and final day of the annual Vocus Users Conference was only a half day, but came with a full spectrum of ideas for content marketing. Lee Odden, from TopRank Marketing, opened the sessions.

Odden’s presentation contained nuggets of marketing ideas supplemented with reasons why his approach works. Content marketing is widely used, but Odden gets particularly granular with his SEO planning. He maps out which keywords he wants to create content around and then decides the distribution channel, best time and format.

Following Odden was Tim Reis, Google’s head of social and mobile solutions for Americas, who talked about mobile marketing – a reality that will soon apply to every business. Reis shared examples of new mobile sales techniques taking root across the world, such as South Korean companies’ new take on the old billboard. Featuring pictures of items on a display shelf, each with its own QR code, passersby can snap an image of the code with their phones and order delivery, even same-day, to their home on the spot. Targeting busy commuters in public transportation areas, these billboards aren’t mere advertisements: they’re more like a ride-and-go shopping opportunity.

Closing the conference was author Gini Dietrich, founder and CEO of the Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm Arment Dietrich, and Geoff Livingston of the Razoo Foundation, a public charity that promotes and provides online charitable giving solutions. But before the duo took to the stage, Brian Kardon, CMO at Lattice Engines, showed several websites that companies such as Proctor & Gamble were using to reach customers. Sites like BeingGirl.com have little or no product messaging. Instead it’s a destination site for young girls seeking answers to questions about their period. Their unique visitor count is off the charts and their marketing team has been able to tie its launch back to increased sales.

When it was Dietrich’s turn, she took the opportunity to introduce the term “the marketing round,” which means integrating departments and people, such as PR efforts, marketing campaigns and paid advertisements. “When crisis hits we hold onto our knowledge rather than share it to protect our jobs and death by silo,” said Dietrich. She noted she’s pushing for a return to integration that America saw in better financial times. Her book, “Marketing in the Round,” explains integration is better for the company.

Sharing the stage was her book’s co-author, Livingston. He used slides showing four approaches to the customer: top down (famously Apple’s strategy), direct mail, sales and customer service. Each way has to become more creative, he said, especially when companies like defense contractors can’t blog about missiles all day. He added that more companies need to focus on the resources they have and not feel pressured to have sales teams tweeting if that’s not their strength. “I think social media works well when the customer does all the talking,” said Livingston.

With so much discussion about content, attendees will have no shortage of resources to turn to for content marketing ideas at work.

–Rebecca Bredholt

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