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article imageReview: Digital Media Summit unites online presence with overall strategy Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 11, 2014 in Business
Toronto - The Digital Media Summit is Canada’s social media and interactive marketing conference, recruiting the sagest gurus, including Shingy and Gary Vaynerchuk, to help people optimize their digital and social media strategies.
The immediate connotation of Canadian Music Week is unsurprisingly a lot of concerts. But there's also industry events, awards, a film showcase and a conference for digital marketers. The latter used to be a two-day event with numerous keynote addresses, simultaneous discussions to choose from, and a stream of new ideas and takeaways. This year's Digital Media Summit (DMS) was condensed into one day, jam-packed with speakers from various companies that are successfully leveraging social media as well as representatives from the most popular tools.
Attendees are from a wide range of business types, including not-for-profit and free enterprise. The goal is to learn about current and upcoming trends, as well as tried-and-true methods that can help any industry improve. And while the number of voices was limited, there was less repetition and more useful directives.
Business keynote David Shing, a.k.a. “Shingy,” is AOL’s self-proclaimed “digital prophet,” regularly speaking at seminars about the latest trends and the future of web. His wild hair makes him unmistakable, but the concepts he puts forward are what leave a lasting impression. The fast-talking Aussie divulges a lot of information in a short period of time, but it’s all relevant and beneficial. One of Shing’s opening remarks was not shocking, but it did make a point: “Digital is the only place you can break new news.” By the time it gets to TV or print, people have already checked several Internet sources for updates. Global News' Ron Waksman would remind us later that the race to be first sometimes means you may get it wrong, citing the networks blunder surrounding the demise of Gordon Lightfoot, but it’s clear the hierarchy for information sources begins online.
In that vein, Shing demanded people stop thinking mobile is in its infancy and start there rather than adapt pre-existing programs after the fact — “Design up, not down.” We must recognize media platforms are all blurring; television, Internet and gaming can all be accessed on one device now. Therefore think about the technology, the content you’re sharing, and the method of distribution. The sixth largest contributor to stress is media overload, so make sure your brand content is being useful. And keep in mind TL/DR (Too long, didn’t read) because attention spans are short, but if it’s good content people will pass it around.
Umang Shah relays 10 do s and don ts of (online) marketing at the 2014 Digital Media Summit.
Umang Shah relays 10 do's and don'ts of (online) marketing at the 2014 Digital Media Summit.
Digital Media Summit
Umang Shah recently left his position as director of social strategy for Walmart to become the global director, social media and digital marketing for Campbell Soup Company. But the list of brands for which he’s leveraged social technologies to build and protect their reputations is diverse. He advocates integrating digital in any overall strategy. “Let’s stop talk about online and focus on marketing.” Shah presented a list of 10 do’s and don’ts for social and digital strategies. The positives include focusing on your audience and providing value by giving them what they want; being clear on objectives and changing the approach if the data suggests it’s necessary; and once these steps have been fine-tuned, experimenting. Conversely, Shah advises against getting comfortable in one strategy, “just selling,” or forgetting who you are. If it’s not working, don’t brush it off but adapt. At the same time, don’t be afraid to let people contribute to the brand’s image. In the end, all digital is social and dynamic.
This year an unconventional guest speaker made an irregular appearance at the summit. John McAfee, founder of the computer anti-virus company, McAfee Associates, addressed attendees via Skype from an undisclosed location. The programmer and former fugitive believes there is a contract on his life, but some simply think he’s paranoid. Either of these explanations support the development of his latest venture, Chadder, an encrypted private messaging app. McAfee’s key message was of awareness. He warns that everyone must be alert to the fact that we live “in a state of complete openness” because without that understanding you can’t address it. “We’ve released our information to the world because of our negligence,” he declared. The solution: opt out of everything and “take your life back into your own hands.” In an attempt to contextualize what McAfee said, an attendee asked how she could unite these ethics with her social marketing role and make it safe for the consumers. McAfee’s response: “I recommend you become a doctor or lawyer.” In complete contrast to this discussion, the following panel was titled, “Advertising Strategies Across Multiple Platforms,” which promoted targeted marketing based on customers’ history to generate ads that would potentially annoy them less.
The closing DMS keynote was bestselling author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, renowned for increasing the revenue of his family’s liquor business from $4 million to $60 million by launching a retail website. “Big companies go out of business because they don’t sell or market in the world we live in,” he says. People strategize like it’s 1994 or 2002 even though the way we interact with each other is massively changing. Not wanting things to change because we’re comfortable doesn’t stop the progression of innovation. The soundest approach is to market to people the way we communicate in the real world. Vaynerchuk suggests the differences between our psychologies on social media platforms is significant so treat them differently when using them to communicate. “Just because there isn’t a ROI [return on investment] at this exact second doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.”
From an emphasis on entering the digital arena the previous year, the 2014 DMS focused on what to do now that you’re there by programming excellent and informative keynote speakers who are clearly versed in current and future trends.
More about Digital Media Summit, Canadian music week, Shingy, David Shing, Gary Vaynerchuk
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