On Wednesday, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce produced the IN-NW 2013: Social Media Conference at the Showbox SoDo. The event hosted expert panelists that discussed some of the most innovative work in the fields of marketing, social media, PR and communications.
Engagement was the overall theme of the day, making it’s way into nearly every conversation. The year of 2012 was all about Pinterest and mobile. In 2013, people are towards the “Internet of Things.” We are moving connectivity to places beyond the workplace or home, such as your gym, car, wristwatch, etc.
Finding Success Amongst the Chaos
To start the day, the first panel discussed their specific experience with engagement and how they are breaking down the walls of traditional communication. Ryan Hodgson, Senior Vice President at Weber Shandwick, shared that he has brought “advertising content into a world that used to be about press releases and news coverage.” Integrated marketing communications is the future. Brands will no longer have to go to five separate agencies to tell the same story.
Another trend I observed was brands creating their own engagement platforms versus solely using other social media channels (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) For example, Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks, shared how their company is using a combination of digital assets (digital advertising, social media, web & mobile, loyalty, and Starbucks Card.) However, the Starbucks Wi-Fi landing page is one of the most visited sites online. They capitalized on this by creating a digital network that offers free iTunes downloads, subscriptions versions of news/magazine publications, micro-philanthropy, and more. “We took advantage of the fact that we had a lot of scale and used that to build a community.” External platforms, such as the Starbucks landing page and REI’s 1440 Project, are great examples of brands creating communities that are specific to the interests of their audience.
Measurement, ROI & Other Scary Words
In the next panel titled, “Consumer Brands”, panelists came from Coca-Cola, Saatchi & Saatchi, the Seattle Mariners, and Decide.com. The conversation that stood out most to me was around measurement. How do you measure success in digital and social media communications? How are you reporting this back internally?
Chris Yeo, Director of Earned Media at Saatchi & Saatchi stated, “The way we measure social needs to fundamentally change.” He was bothered by the fact the our industry often says “social is not measurable.” While it is admittedly not easy, it is definitely possible and important to be able to show that your campaign has value and direction.
As a public relations professional, I’m not ashamed to admit that part of the reason I chose this career was to avoid taking any sort of math in college. However, I couldn’t stay away from it for long. For Toyota, which is one of Yeo’s clients, they are “looking at data sets to create benchmarks and some level of measurable success.” While it’s important to tell the story, clients also want metrics.