Thinking outside the crossmedial boxThe final days of advertising?

Content marketing requires a slightly lunatic mindset, Facebook works like a barkeeper and Google+ is dead. Those are some of my insights from the surprisingly well attended and extremely well organized "Co-Reach 2015" conference in Nürnberg. Share buttons, social media integration and search engine optimization are our daily business - usually, though, we look at the topic from a more technical perspective. This crossmedia conference had its focus on the content side of things - and dipping our toe into neighboring waters was well worth our while, with respect to our customer's needs. How so? Read more now or talk to us.

An advertising conference keynote entitled "The last days of advertising"? Thomas Koch, one of the industry's old stagers with his 42 years of experience predicted it for the year 2020 - at the end, though, what was left of the apocalyptic "last days" rather were some fundamental changes.  

His topic being "Don't give a damn about Likes", the congenial media consultant Michael Praetorius, wearing his signature hat and beard, had attracted a host of listeners. "Facebook is like a barkeeper", he said, "if this guy keeps trying to tell a beautiful girl about his past weekend or showing her some funny pictures, and she keeps rejecting him, the barkeeper will finally step in and have someone else sit between them - someone who is better entertainment for the girl".

Marketing with Michael Mittermeier

Dietmar Dahmen, marketing industry's very own Michael Mittermeier (a popular German comedian), entertained his audience just splendidly. To him, the cloud, the internet of everything, is a universal quantum leap similar to the appearance of oxygen on planet earth. "Breathable data allows business to explode, just like oxygen had life on earth explode", he said.

Just as philosophical - if much more composed - things went with Roland Tichy, former editor-in-chief of the renowned "Wirtschaftswoche", who lectured on "Habermas on the Internet". Closer to daily business, but no less entertaining: Alexander Praekelt, branding manager with Google Germany and video advertising expert, had brought along some practical advice: how-to-videos for example were the new redeemers on YouTube. As an example for perfect timing he quoted the Snickers campaign "You're not you when you're hungry": the chocolate bar giant had bid on Google search key words like "business" - just with typos in them. Thus, whenever misspelling one of those words, the first ad the user saw was "Too hungry to type? Grab a Snickers".

Eulogy for Google+

Just when the crowd of social media marketers had begrudgingly learned that Facebook fan pages are obsolete in advertising, they had to take another blow from Felix Beilharz (lecturer for social media marketing with the German Press Academy, among others): "Google+ is dead", he stated, untouched.

Franz Keim, social media marketer for the rather conservative textbook publishing house CH Beck, did away with several basic misconceptions about the buzz word "content marketing": It was, after all, not easy, quick and cheap; plus, it was not advertisement in disguise and, no, Google does not appreciate it by itself.

For sure is that nothing is for sure

Attorney-at-law Kathrin Schürmann addressed newsletter marketing: e-mailing a user without a double opt-in was only allowable if something had changed hands before, like a product or a service. The popular and widely used link tracking was legally hairy, just like a personalized newsletter. Schürmanns lawyer colleague Olaf Botzem added to the topic of "Social Media Marketing and the Law" that the two click solution for like buttons (for example the "Heise Shariff") was being tolerated, but not 100 percent legally compliant - just like so many things concerning the German TMG (roughly: Tele Media Act) and the BDSG (Federal Data Protection Act), since national implementations to several European guidelines are still pending.

"The Optimal Opt-In for Online Newsletters" was promised in a lecture by Dr. Christian Holst from Siegfried Vögele Institut, a Deutsche Post spin-off. An eye tracking study had shown that many users actually missed the "Subscribe" button at the end (meaning they ultimately didn't subscribe, although they had already entered all their data into the form!), if the button wasn't placed prominently enough.

Texting and Dancing

The abundantly extravagant communications coach Wibke Ladwig compared storytelling and dancing, and dancing was "the art of innuendo". Us marketers should put away the sledgehammer, taking our reader for less of a fool, lecture less but entertain more, be more courageous - basically exhibit a "slightly lunatic mindset". Alrighty.

An insight into successful social media postings' "secret language" was offered by Sarah Pust. SEO expert Herbert Buchhorn then focused on user experience: "metrics like time on site and drop-off rate are becoming more and more important to Google", he said. In order to increase time on site, for example, he recommended instruments like the so-called image-to-video. Plus, he suggested using "Metrica", the Russian search engine yandex.ru's Analytics, as well as similarweb.com's visibility index; and he insistently warned against duplicate content, as it is ruthlessly penalized by Google.

Print's over

My conclusion after two days at Co-Reach: The once strictly print-oriented conference has become a top notch event, even from an online marketing perspective. Notable Speakers, 226 exhibitors and close to 6000 visitors speak for themselves. Michael Praetorius, Dietmar Dahmen and Felix Beilharz on one entrance fee? More of that, please!

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