5 Takeaways from Internet Marketing and Business Conference BlueGlass LA
I’m back from a two-day Internet marketing conference in the LA area. As I go over my notes, listen to our interviews, and wrap my brain around the exceptional liveblog coverage of BlueGlass LA Susan reported on the blog, I’m realizing that the question I’ve been getting all day is a fair one. Maybe you’re asking it, too. “So how was the conference?”
I had a chance to talk to Loren Baker, a managing partner at BlueGlass, and our interview aired today on BCI’s weekly radio show and podcast, SEM Synergy. Talking with Loren following the conference helped me metabolize the information I’d gleaned over the past days. I’m biased, of course, but you may want to listen to the show to find out about the direction the mega-agency/publisher/conference organizers plan to take the company and to get some unique perspective from a blogger, influencer and highly connected expert in the search industry.
Along with the distilled takeaways you’ll find in our interview, here are my five final thoughts following this week’s conference.
1. Passion Pays
The message came out loud and clear throughout the show. Passion + technology + connections = an equation for success, be it in business or in life. During the session Landing Killer Deals, it was obvious that it takes unyielding energy to land deals that grow. A similar message was that in biz dev, passionate people are the ones that get things done. During the session When to raise money and when to bootstrap, investors and entrepreneurs talked about what qualities are typically present in a successful idea. If you had any doubt, it’s emotion, passion and thoughtfulness. And when it comes to building communities people love? Fuggedaboutit. It starts with an idea born from passion and gathers momentum as a community’s passions are given room to thrive.
2. Keep Search Sexy
Sometimes it feels necessary to remind ourselves not to overlook search when every day shiny new platforms like location-based services, mobile apps, social networks and the next cool thing pop up. It’s a theme echoed in my interview with Loren, as well as in the session Marketing strategy: don’t forget search. On a related note, in-house SEO evangelist and consultant Jessica Bowman recognized that in the in-house SEO life cycle, there’s a period of courtship, then a honeymoon phase, until reality sets in and SEO initiatives lose steam within an organization. In the session InHouse SEO, Jessica shares ways to rekindle the honeymoon phase and bring back that spark of excitement for SEO. Once that energy returns, motivation and drive can be leveraged to make important SEO plays.
3. Ya-Bing Still Gives Goosebumps
The search industry has a vital drive behind it because we know the intoxicating joy of climbing rankings, growing traffic and increasing conversions. But the uncertainty of the search landscape can understandably make us nervous. I felt some uneasiness from the crowd during the session mentioned above, Marketing strategy: don’t forget search, when Dave Roth, director of search marketing at Yahoo!, shared details of the Microsoft-Yahoo! search partnership:
- Unified marketplace
- Quality transition
- No change in reps for publishers, advertisers or Domainers
Yahoo! has announced that up to 25 percent of its search traffic in the U.S. now sees both paid and organic listings from Microsoft as part of ongoing tests. As part of the test to see how users respond, some of these Microsoft results are shown with “powered by Bing” while others aren’t. The plan is to have the full transition from Yahoo! to Bing results completed by September. Display advertising, according to Roth, is not affected by the partnership. With questions answered, put your minds at ease.
4. Networking Remains Conference King
During the conference I took pictures of the panels while Susan typed. During one of the breaks, a fellow attendee asked who I was taking pictures for, and I explained that we were reporting on the conference for our blog readers. “I could have saved myself the money and just read the liveblogging!” was his reply. And while I happen to think that our liveblog conference coverage is the next best thing to being there, it’s still not the same. For instance, during David Szetela’s presentation in the don’t-forget-search session, he asked that the audience not blog or post about secrets he was going to share. Susan and other livebloggers respected David’s request, so even though a few Twitter updates found their way out of the room, there were secrets shared in that conference, no doubt.
At the same time, there’s no substitute for face-to-face networking. Look at that banner and the bright orange “networking” standing out among the rest of the conference offerings. Remember when I talked to Tony Adam in anticipation of BlueGlass LA?
“That’s what we are delivering in this conference that makes it special, an AMAZING mix of content with a DEEP dive of that content tied into the fact that we WANT people connecting with one another. […] I’m all about [networking and connecting] and at the end of the day the people are the most important part of the conference. BlueGlass LA allows for some great opportunities to connect with others.”
5. There’s More Where That Came From
Finally, the informational goldmine that is BlueGlass hasn’t been exhausted yet. Loren Baker told me that LA’s premiere conference was just the first of its kind and that the search community can expect more fresh, original conferences from the team. Meanwhile, in the not-so-distant future, I had the incredible opportunity while at the show to interview some brilliant minds in the online biz. A series of interviews (including VIDEOS!) will be made available here at BruceClay.com and on SEM Synergy in the coming weeks. All the bright and reflective times ahead — they’re blinding!