13 Feb 2012

Online Marketing Summit 2012 Top Takeaways


I recently had the opportunity to attend the Online Marketing Summit, better known as OMS, in San Diego, California. The summit covered topics such as social media strategy, search engine optimization, email marketing, local search marketing, eCommerce and more. I came back with several pages of notes, a brain packed full information and ideas, new industry expert friends, tons of business cards, some t-shirts, and a suntan. Most importantly though, I crafted this blog post for our readers that is jam packed full of top takeaways from the summit. As you read, keep in mind that I am not directly quoting the people that I list, but rather citing which presenters provided the information or enabled me to spark the idea. 

  • Content marketing, if done correctly, can produce results disproportionate to it’s size. With that said, you don’t need a large budget to create a potentially viral video. What you do need is a good idea for a video that captures your audience’s attention from the start. For example, Yeti Coolers created a video of a 500lb man attempting to destroy their cooler. Cost was very minimal, but the reward was high as it earned them 25,000 new Facebook fans. –Jim Bennette
  • To get the most out of your social media networks, narrow your focus onto only a few of them. It seems like everyday a new social media site is born. We all seem to be scrambling to stay ahead of the game, spreading our marketing efforts and time thinner and thinner. As our focus on our main social networks decreases, so does our fan engagement. Decide which social network(s) is best for engaging with your audience, and keep your content quality high within those. –Jim Bennette
  • Start paying more attention to Google Instant Preview. Your title tag and meta description may be appealing, but is your homepage design? Google Instant Preview allows users to view a screenshot of your site’s homepage before they visit it. In the least, the page should look clean, organized and free of cluttering ads. –Scott Brinker
  • Page load time is now more important than ever. It’s pretty simple: with the increase in mobile users, people do not want to wait for your site to load. If it’s not fast enough, they’ll be onto to the next and that’s a potentially lost customer. –Scott Brinker
  • Google seems to be adapting to a much more rich experience, and we see this by examining what they are doing with Google Plus. Plain text on your homepage might not be enough anymore. Make sure to include images, videos and other forms of rich, updated content to keep Google and people coming back to your site. –Scott Brinker
  • Do your research and categorize your customers based on how they search and socialize. Then be sure to create a presence in those channels and engage with them. Never assume all of your customers are the same. –Lee Odden
  • Do keyword research by listening to not only what your customers are talking about, but also how they are talking. Are you solely optimizing your site for “search engine optimization services”, while your customers are performing search queries with more simple phrases like “how to get my website on the front page of Google”? –Michael DeHaven
  • Utilize hashtags more on Twitter when you can. Keep a close eye on what’s trending, but never try to hard to the point where your tweets sound like a sales pitch. Hashtags can increase your visibility on twitter exponentially, if done right. Again, do your research and find out which hashtags your customers are using. –Lee Odden
  • Social media is about getting others to tell our stories for us. The average percentage of Facebook page fans talking about them is 3%. If you have 100,000 fans then that’s 3,000 people spreading the word about your brand. Word of mouth marketing has never been more prominent, and it’s all happening online. For example: I recently participated in a 5k run called The Color Run, and was so satisfied and excited about my experience that I created a video about it. That video got over 1,000 views in about a week, and I’ve had strangers contacting me to tell me that it has inspired them to sign up for the race. The cost to the Color Run organization for me to create and promote that video? Zero dollars. –Dennis Yu
  • Facebook doesn’t like lazy marketers! Don’t set your demographics too broad for facebook sponsored ads. If a 36 year old male from Boston is on Facebook and Facebook has the ability to show him the following two ads, which one do you think will appear?

a. Sponsored ad targetted to 25 – 50 year old males
b. Sponsored ad targetted to 25 – 40 year old males in Boston (winner, winner!)

Give your ad a better chance at showing up for the right people. The amount you are willing to spend is taken into consideration as well. –Aaron Goldman

  • In addition to sponsored ads, Facebook offers sponsored stories. You can invest in your page’s individual status updates to have them show up, and stay longer, in your fans’ news feeds. The more fans you have, the more this is going to benefit you. According to studies done by Blitzlocal, if you post a link to your site within a sponsored story, your organic traffic will be triple the amount than if you just posted a regular status update. –Dennis Yu
  • Piggy back off breaking news and run a Facebook sponsored story. Many people do this already with blog posts. Something happens in the news and everyone quickly crafts and optimizes a post in attempt to catch some of the traffic. However, instead of people going directly to Google to find out what happened, they are trusting their friends and logging in to check Facebook first. Be there to answer that question with a sponsored story at the top of their newsfeed. –Dennis Yu
  • Marketing to a target demographic is good. Marketing to an individual is better. Create a customer profiles based on the following questions:

What pages do they visit when they come to our site?
What topics do they often comment, like, +1, or tweet about?
What have they purchased from us in the past?

With this information, you can begin presenting the individual customer with products, services, and information most appealing to him or her. –Thad Kahlow

  • With infographics, simple is better. Your aim should be creative, appealing, and informative…not information overload. –Michael Pranikoff
  • Approximately 80% of content on product pages should be user generated. This content is created by customers in the form of reviews. Make sure the review content is crawlable. This keeps your content fresh, and the Google bots coming back often. This also allows customers to optimize your product pages for you with new keywords you neglected to include. Just like we discussed earlier, you might optimize your site for keywords such as cashmere sweater, while your customers are reviewing your content with terms like “Softest sweater ever”. These keywords are now on the product page, and increase your page’s chances of ranking for more terms in the search engine. –Michael DeHaven

The overall theme of the Online Marketing Summit was that as marketers it is important to deliver useful and satisfying customer experiences, and to always measure the results. The more we engage and allow our customers to become self-proclaimed brand ambassadors, the more successful our online marketing efforts will be.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions, or if there are any additional takeaways you would like to include in this list. 


  • Gytra Marketing Feb 14, 2012

    Great piece, thank you for such valuable information.

  • Ian Morris Feb 24, 2012

    Thank you. Very informative.

  • David Boozer Mar 17, 2012

    Great article Sarah. As for myself this year, I will be focusing on the social media aspect and I totally agree with you on the focusing aspect. Instead of trying to catch up with everyone all the time, just focus on a couple platforms instead. Thanks again, this really solidified what I was planning to do.