I have “marketing” written on my Twitter profile, but so does every other “part-time digital marketing consultant”, as I post on my LinkedIn. But I’m quite serious about it, which is why I booked a ticket to the Digital Marketing Show, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts because I spent the afternoon with some of the most talented marketers in Britain and they made me love them and love their product and want to talk about them. Well done them.

The show was held in the ExCeL centre, with presentation space in the four corners and a paid-for area in the middle that I didn’t pay that much attention to, with exhibitors arranged all around. You could wander round chatting to people and drop by talks arranged around the themes of content, social, mobile and e-commerce. There’s three talks I’d like to rave about:

Effective Mobile Marketing for Small Businesses

Delivered by Ewan Macleod, Head of Bizcrowd (a new b2b platform by NatWest and RBOS) and Editor for Mobile Industry Review, whose aim was to berate all small business owners everywhere for being useless. He made a very good point that “doing mobile” doesn’t mean investing thousands in an app – even the smallest, most local cornershop can buy Google advertising for their location. “Cupcakes islington”, “groceries clacton” – it’s not hard. As Ewan said, “If I can’t find you, I won’t buy from you and I won’t care.” Word. [click to continue…]

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I was 11 years old when I first received what the internet was. I’d been shown previously how to turn on a modem and then use a computer to play computer games, and at some point I joined Neopets because that’s what everyone in Year 7 did, but one lunchtime, I remember putting “Friends” into Ask Jeeves (intending the TV show), and being truly shocked at the mass of information that came back.

There were dictionaries, message boards, fansites of the TV show, informational websites on friendship, quotes pages, images – all the messy results you got back in 2001 before Wikipedia or systemic SEO were a thing.

The results were a mess, but I was left with the understanding that I could read about, talk to and hear from virtually anything and anyone, anywhere.

This was a serious lightbulb moment for an eleven year old, and I have a clear memory of heading to Maths and just sitting there, wordless and in a daze, pondering the enormity of what I’d just discovered.

That sense of wonder of the power of the internet to broadcast information and connect up people to talk about it has never left me. I think its a miracle. But lately, I’ve been meeting more and more people who seem to regard their online lives as somehow being a bad thing. I’ve been meeting people who dismiss social networking as inauthentic, or view having an online life as “no substitute” for having a “real” one. This is nonsense. When you tap something into your computer and hit send, your words are read by a flesh and blood person at the other end, who has an emotional reaction to it as valid as if you’d said it to their face. Maybe it’s subtly different but it’s there. It’s real. [click to continue…]

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