NMKForum07: Communities, commerce and marketing

Antony Mayfield of SpannerWorks was asked to defend SEO after Jason Calacanis’ criticism this morning. Google will get smarter and social media will grow. The technical trickery will end, and it will be more about having the best website. In the long term, if you don’t want to worry about what is the trick of the month, be more useful to your users. You need to understand social media and the whole web.

The problem that we’ve got in marketing and media is trying to apply models that we learned in industrial media. We’ve got to strip down and begin again.

We shouldn’t ape social media by re-creating MySpace. We need to learn from social media. Be open. Be authentic.

Alfie Dennen of Moblog UK licences moblog technology. It’s a web experience, not a mobile experience. There is no great return on investment. It’s about brand presence. It’s a promotional tool for brands and businesses. We make money from technology advertising and from ads. It’s difficult for brands to use social media and the web to make money.

Technology has become largely commodified. We aren’t making our clients a lot of money, but we’re helping them promote their brands. That’s the benefit that we are giving them.

Helen Keegan, beepmarketing.com, said that she helps her customers understand this technology. She recently asked people if they had ever heard of YouTube. Yes. Used it? No. Once get over fear factor. There is a divide to cross.

As soon as we get to nearly nil data charges, then mobile will really take off. Twiter and Jaiku will take off.

Emma Goddard of bottletalk.com is concentrating right now building community. The emphasis long-term is to focus on the small wineries who are not getting focus in the media or in large markets. So much wine is sold on offers or on price.

David Evans, research director of Continental Research. Ads have to be targeted, relevant and as unobtrusive as possible. A lot of broadcasters are trying to get closer to their users.

Robin Grant, emerging media specialist, CMW Interactive. Social media is on people’s radar. What should people be doing? No single answer. A lot of wrong ones. (Sorry, I can’t really hear this guy.) They were doing a blogging marketing campaign, and they hired 12 people in Paris to blog about the city.

Tristan Leaver, Head of Business Development Guardian Unlimited. A lot of advertisers want us to start blogs, but they might not be ready for negative comments. We do find it easy to sell ads against our blogs. Our Games blog is a great place to advertise to reach gamers. And although Comment is Free took a while to catch on with advertisers, there are now switched on agencies who are advertising there.

Andy Bell, Mint Digital They made Islandoo.

The vision for Islandoo for the future. Informational advertising works well on the web. But brand advertising doesn’t work too well. With Islandoo, we’re trying to create a big event. We were inspired by the Red Bull air race. You don’t need to advertise them because they create their own sense of an event.

Questions from the audience. Moblog UK launched a project with Channel 4 to create a project to catalogue all the public art in the UK. The site launched a year before the programme.

David Evans said that brands are increasingly open to scrutiny. You’re faults are there to be discovered. I’m paraphrasing, but he said that is not about giving people an opportunity to interact with your brand but providing utility to your users.

Antony said for brands that they need to move from thought attention to use attention.

Helen said: We’re all brands now. Brands aren’t dead, but the old tricks are dead. Your brand begins and ends with a good product or service.

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