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I attended the 5th National Digital Media and Marketing Summit in Croke Park on 29th May. Rather than tweet furiously from the event I kept my power dry and scribbled a collection of notes throughout the day.  I picked up some good insights and handy hints which I’d like to share with you.

1. Our long held view with regard to press releases is that they form a central part of our communication efforts but Paul O’Kane of the Dublin Airport Authority demonstrated how social media has enabled them to circumvent the well-trodden press release path. In an incident with a plane that burst a tyre upon landing the DAA took to Twitter to announce the incident and explain the minimal impact it had on the airport’s traffic; this resulted in the media picking up the story from there.

Key takeaway: Twitter is excellent for crisis management. It is immediate and it will close the story down.

2. How technically challenging the online advertising world has become! This was ably demonstrated by Adam Berke’s presentation. The ‘old’ model (circa 2000) was that Google simply displayed your ad to simple keyword search terms. Now, much of the media spend is driven by highly complex programmatic tools which in turn require skilled online marketing practitioners.

Key takeaway: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. In other words, embrace the online advertising channel and build your competence over time – or else hire an agency to manage it on your behalf.

3. There are so many tools available to help businesses manage their social media channels, where do you start? Aoife Rigney recommended an excellent tool which is worth a look –

Key takeaway: Social media is like every other channel. Requires planning and methodologies that tie it back to the core marketing plan.

4. Nothing we didn’t really know already but the gorilla in the room, Google, delivered some interesting observations. Google’s Michael Faley mentioned that the consumer path to purchase is much more complicated and about 1-in-3 conversions take 30 or more days to complete. Car insurance, for example, includes 3 searches with a closure after 10 days.

Key takeaway: The rise of mobile in search is very evident but even though search is everywhere it doesn’t mean that the purchase will be made on a mobile. Many consumers will return to the desktop to complete the purcahse.

4. Fair to say that if this was a boxing match then the boys from Wolfgang Digital would have delivered the knockout punches. A great presentation peppered with ‘must pay attention to’ advice for all brands, big or small.
Google is taking more ownership of the user’s journey and is giving us more information before we leave the SERP – search engine results page. Google is doing this by giving ads more space within which they are rolling out new features:
– Adwords Seller Ratings
– Form Extensions
– Product Listing Ads

Key takeaway: Dizzy stuff and if one thing is for certain, the time required to keep up with Google’s continuing ‘innovation’ will gather pace, placing more demands on our already hard pressed marketing teams. Real (aka competent and able) digital marketing agencies are a crucial element in building out for scale.

5. Interesting observation from Felicity McCarthy from Spark Digital that most of us will have our mobiles closer than some of the other things we traditionally would always have had by our side – wallet/ purse.

Key takeaway: Be concise. Prospects and customers will decide to engage based on the first 90 characters of your message.

6. You can’t beat great use cases and Twitter’s Dennis Bree delivered a bunch of them. What was clear from his presentation is that clever brands make themselves a part of the everyday conversation. What was also crystal clear is that you don’t have to be a global brand (Nike, Hailo) to get into the conversation; regular brands can easily play their part.

Key takeaway: Most successful brands are those that prepare and plan for the moment.

7. A great case study from Adrian O’Flynn of Concern. Adrian showed the difference in Concern’s tone of voice and approach from 2011 when the company focused on delivering emotionally distressing images, to 2014, where the charity now focuses on delivering upbeat images where Concern enables happy endings to take place. All resulting in more sharing on social networks, higher email open rates and subsequent increase in donations.

Key takeaway: Pick your channels and deliver value into those channels.

8. Maureen O’Rourke from eircom stated what one would expect to be the obvious but if you look around at how other companies are approaching this space, it’s not: you have to think mobile because your customers already are.

Key takeaway: 62% of emails are opened on a mobile and 44% have made a purchase on their smartphone.

9. A well delivered insight from the floor by Sean O’Sullivan into how in-store technology works.  Apple and their iBeacon technology is being rolled out across the globe. This technology gives your smartphone a tickle to let you know they know you are in/near their store.

Key takeaway: The power to reach customers/prospects with geo-targeted messages in enclosed spaces is a reality. Hugely important for shopping malls.

All-in-all, a day well spent with the folks from the Sunday Business Post. For businesses of all shapes and hues, there is tremendous opportunity to take advantage of inexpensive new social medial channels. The devil is always in the detail of course and these new channels require a dramatic rethink of how you do business and the old ways of marketing cannot and do not work in these super-charged media highways.

Social media and mobile have unleashed a whole new way of interacting with the outside world. For your business to succeed, you must learn the rules and apply them diligently. No snake oil, you’ll be found our very quickly.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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