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Meetup Groups Talk Industry Changes, Budgets, and Q4 Tips Ahead of SES San Francisco

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SES San Francisco Networking

Nine Bay Area Meetup Groups plan to attend the SES San Francisco networking cocktail reception on Wednesday, Sept. 11, for a collaborative get together with SES attendees, speakers and exhibitors. This will be the first time that this many Meetup Groups of marketing professionals, brand advertisers, agencies, and business leaders from the Bay Area have converged at one industry networking event.

The groups that will meetup at #SESSF include:

I asked the organizers of several of these groups three questions about hot industry topics. Here are the answers from Jonah Stein, organizer of the San Francisco Marketing Professionals, Murray Newlands, organizer of Social Media Marketing, Monitoring, Engagement San Francisco, and Ted Prodromou, organizer of the Bay Area Internet Marketers Group.

Industry Changes: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Greg Jarboe: There have been several noteworthy changes in the past few months marketers need to know about. In your opinion, what were the good, bad, and ugly among the most recent changes? Why?

Jonah Stein: The Good: AdWords Dimension Paid & Organic report, which provides much of the keyword data Google took away with "(not provided)", including the first ever Organic share of voice (average position, impressions and clicks) data that is on par with what is provided in PPC campaigns. While the report doesn't return landing page and conversion data directly, it does provide sufficient information to piece together the puzzle.

The Bad: The demise of above the fold organic results is driving increasing cannibalization of organic search results.

The Ugly: The truth about AdWords reps being incentivized to push clients into changes that were in Google's best interest, not the clients and the arbitrary enforcement (or lack of enforcement) of Google's advertising standards. Google is at best a frenemy and this shows once and for all that their attempts at optimizing your account should be viewed with the same skepticism as an email recommendation for a penny stock.

Murray Newlands: Infographics seem to have finally died and been replaced with memes. Just like fashion trends they were super-hot and now they are not. Infographics are great for communicating data but they were over used and misused and so people got bored with them. They have been replaced my memes, king of this being buzzfeed.com.

Ted Prodromou: WOW! Where do I begin? It seems like every day I see big changes to LinkedIn, Facebook, Google AdWords, Google+ and Twitter. Every major social media network and online advertising platform is evolving by the minute.

The good news is they're listening to our feedback and updating their systems to better serve us (and their bottom line of course).

The bad news is we can't get comfortable with the platforms because they're changing so fast. It's hard to become an "expert" because we're always in learning mode.

I think it would be better if they implemented upgrades on a quarterly basis so we have some time to digest the upgrades and implement them in an effective manner. Today it seems like we're throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks since changes are happening so fast.

How to Budget in Coming Months

Greg Jarboe: Where should marketers be focusing the majority of their budgets in upcoming months if they want the best ROI: SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, or somewhere else?

Jonah Stein: Content marketing and especially using every channel (PR, social, email, website, partners and paid distribution) to promote the content you have worked so hard to create.

Murray Newlands: Using content marketing – working earned media and paid media together – is the strategy that is working most effectively. The days of the SEO silo are over.

Ted Prodromou: Personally, I see SEO evolving into content marketing where your goal should be to create high quality content and get as many eyes on it as you can by distributing it on popular sites using social media and paid advertising. Most people think social media is free but there is a high cost of time and effort if you want to do it correctly and get the best results.

PPC is evolving rapidly and I love the fact that we can target our ads to very specific people and demographics. I really believe you need a comprehensive strategy to utilize SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media in a strategic way.

Top Holiday/Q4 Marketing Tips

Greg Jarboe: Q4 is just around the corner. What's your top marketing tip for Q4 and holiday success?

Jonah Stein: Dig deep and audit your SEO and PPC campaigns to find under-performing pages and fix them now. Focus on users instead of customers. Often companies focus exclusively on conversions and don't get the big picture. You are working really hard to get users to your site and some of them are in the information gathering and comparison stage. They are not searching to buy and it is essential that you honor their search intent.

Murray Newlands: Create great quality Christmas stories and memes. Be funny and elicit a positive emotional response to hook consumers in. If you can be prepared to jump on some of the hot Christmas stories that are sure to break and grab some of that media attention. There will be a celebrity meltdown. Will Apple or Google manage to bring out a new gadget before Christmas, who are the big players in your space that might get traction which you can be lifted up by?

Ted Prodromou: I hope you're not just starting to think about Q4 as Q3 is coming to a close. It's imperative to create an annual marketing calendar and strategy so you're ready to roll out new campaigns in a timely manner. Costco already has an entire aisle of Christmas decorations. That's a little aggressive for me, but obviously they're planning way ahead!

Summary

SES San Francisco 2013 offers a variety of conference passes and on-site training. For more information, click on rates and registration details. Group discounts for pass holders from the same company are also available by contacting [email protected] and are the best value for the lowest price possible.

I should disclose that SES San Francisco is a client of my agency. But, trust me; you won't want to miss the networking cocktail reception sponsored by Stone Temple Consulting on Wednesday, Sept. 11, in the Exhibition Hall at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.


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