I ended up doing live blogging at RoNewMedia for no reason whatsoever other than not really knowing what to expect and what to take from the conference. The event was meant to act as an aggregator of opinions about the three most important segments of online in Romania right now: advertising, publishing and entrepreneurship. I left with three thoughts:
Increasing reach by smart content management (media integration)
I found it fascinating to listen to presentations speaking about integrated readership audits and how counting more eyeballs overall could benefit the separate entities in a publishing group. Indeed, with online stealing the spotlight from print and even TV, publishers need to find a way to increase audiences while not cannibalizing them and Melanie Shah's presentation offered some common sensical solutions to this.
Advertising models not glam but successful
For a long time now the performance of advertising in the online world has been questioned mainly because, in its available two forms - SE advertising and bannering [let's face it, these are the two forms] it somehow lacks the glam and attraction of offline advertising. What the conference made clear to me is that the solution is not in inventing more models but simply in putting common sense and marketing thinking behind online advertising [Patterson speech and Cox Publishing speech]
Offline, TV and print are the main forms of advertising [again, let's face it, most briefs still ask for only these as deliverables] and anything else usually gets dumped into the "non conventional" category. Online, non-conventional equals "special projects" and the reason we do not have a conventional term for these is that - as common sense will tell you - there can be no conventional solutions to different brands' problems. What is conventional is the format in which we choose to present our solutions and it will take a while before everyone understands that online [and offline i hope] format is as important as content [totally went off topic here]
SE advertising, although not glam, is important and needs to be refined and internalized by agencies. I think it will take a while before behavioral targeting sticks [i mean offline we've been talking about this for ages now and who really does it? really?] but if data mining is available online why not use it? As to banners vs special projects: if we apply ourselves to understand how consumers use online we will be able to know when banners work and when SP do.
Entrepreneurship online is a business
I always thought that being an online entrepreneur must be the coolest thing in the world because you work with something that is easily alterable, almost free and with no distribution barriers. Most RO entrepreneurs present stressed the need for business strategy, planning and HR management which made it sound like the effing GE or something. Having just seen the disastrophic consequences of lack of planning (sob) I can sympathize.
Yet, watching this video, makes me doubt that mere management of resources makes an online hit :-).... I still want to believe there's some magic there :-)
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.