Information is Addictive (And 9 Other OMS Minneapolis 2011 Insights)

Online Marketing Summit Minneapolis 2011Last Tuesday I had an opportunity to attend Online Marketing Summit Minneapolis 2011 in Edina. Aaron Kahlow and the Online Marketing Connect crew put on a great event, full of education and networking opportunities. 

Most exciting to me about OMS were the insights gleamed from countless case studies and concepts within the presentations of the day. Here are 10 of my favorites:

  1. Social Media is Not a One-Woman Show. The trick to great social media at large companies is scale. Best Buy's Gina Debogovich mapped out a complex system of communities, business units, and the tiered social media training that has helped the retailer achieve an excellent social media presence.
  2. Community Managers are Not Interns. Many companies hand the responsibility of social media engagement to interns or junior team members without much forethought or oversight. Debogovich explained that it takes a rigorous four weeks of intensive Best Buy culture and policy training followed by another week of social media training before budding Best Buy community managers take stride. And even then, every community post they make is reviewed for 90 days into their new role.
  3. Anticipate the Conversation. The first breakout session I attended was How to Convert More Visitors to Customers, presented by Clixo's Matt Dombrow. He explained great conversion optimization as a process of anticipating the mental conversation a potential customer has when evaluating a product or service. Dombrow's presentation highlighted this conversation as it related to six key concepts in his conversion optimization (CO) model: Catalyst, Value, Usability, Persuasion and Confidence.
  4. Subconscious Economics Drive CO. Your customers weigh the costs of any web transaction in their brains (e.g., a purchase, a subscription, even clicking on a link) against the perceived value of what they will receive. Asking for a few fields of information is better than asking for a lot because it keeps the perceived costs down. Giving a free iPad away will generate a lot more buzz than flimsy eBook. Conversion optimization is about maximizing perceived value and minimizing perceived costs.
  5. The Dawn of QR. Until recently, I've been dismissing QR codes as a speed bump on the digital highway, a fad that may not be worth my time and effort. But Angie Schottmuller's presentation on two-dimensional barcodes (the "non-Kleenex name" for QR codes) got me excited about the potential. From Diesel's awesome Facebook Like campaign to Best Buy's coworker sentiment analysis, the industry is doing some clever marketing with QR, regardless of how long the technology will be around.
  6. Social Videos are about the Why. Casey Zeman's presentation on Social Video Marketing provided a mental framework for developing ideas for social videos on the web. Each video should begin with a solid examination into why you're making it. 
  7. Great Social Videos are Informative or Entertaining. Zeman pointed out that the best web videos are either informative or entertaining. How-to videos are a no-brainer for informative content. Entertaining videos cover a broader spectrum. Many entertaining videos are funny, but they don't have to be. Some of the most entertaining videos are more inspiring or surprising than funny.
  8. Information is Addictive. Perhaps my favorite session of the day was The Top 10 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, presented by Dr. Susan Weinschenk, HFI's Chief of UX Strategy. Dr. Weinschenk described how dopamine is released into our brains when we seek new information, making it a powerful motivator. From the days of wondering how fire works, to the modern times of checking our mobile devices for new nuggets of information in the form of notifications and alarms, we humans have a strong desire to be in the know.
  9. First Impressions Include the Periphery. Another insight from Dr. Weinschenk was that people pay attention to the information in the periphery of a website in the first moments of their website visit. Your website's main content is critical, but your side navigation bar(s) are great places to include marketing elements to promote a positive first impression and the trust that comes with it.
  10. The Twin Cities is Confused about White Hat/Black Hat SEO. At several points throughout the day, questionable tactics/opinions regarding SEO ethics reared their ugly head. Even in the day of Overstock and J.C. Penney, I was shocked by the number of times that black hat/spammy tactics were mentioned. This white hat will be avoiding paid linking, content spinning and other spammy tactics and suggest others do the same, regardless of what you heard at OMS.

With three tracks and around 20 total sessions, there's no way this post even begins to cover what people learned from the presentations of the day. What did you learn at the OMS Minneapolis? Use the comments to share your favorite new tips from OMS and who presented them.