Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Mozcon 2014, a marketing conference held each year by MOZ.
With 29 speakers, MozCon was three days jam packed with inspiration. It was an awesome show this year with a ton of actionable takeaways for our team here at Metric.
If you’re not familiar with Moz (formerly SEOmoz), they’re a marketing software company that employ roughly 130 employees. This years' event was sold out, and approximately 1,300 people attended the conference in the beautiful city of Seattle, Washington.
Mozcon is kind of like Mecca for us marketing folk. It’s a great opportunity to hear from some of the leading experts, across several areas of expertise including content marketing, brand and community building, SEO, analytics, social media, and more.
The sessions this year were amazing and the over the course of the three day event, I had the opportunity to meet, network, and trade notes with a number of fellow marketers.
There were takeaways from every speaker (all 29 of them!) — But, I’ve rounded out what I feel were the most relevant below:
1. Rand Fishkin
Takeaway: Diversify your online presence beyond just search. Don’t rely on any one channel too heavily.
This was from right from Rand’s opening remarks. he opened the first day of speakers with a quick review of marketing trends that were mainly focused on Google and search marketing.
- Lots of regulation this year (UK “Cookie Law”, EU’s “Right to be Forgotten”, Canada’s CASL, and more). Rand says he expects to see more regulation.
- The term "Inbound Marketing" is losing out to "Content Marketing" as the defining term of our industry.
- Google's penalties have taken a toll on spam, but hurt many businesses too.
- Google 2012: “You make a great site, we’ll take care of spam.”
- Google 2014: “You make a great site, you take care of your own spam.”
- Pointing to statistics pulled from LinkedIn, Rand says we are nearing the end of SEO as a job title. We are moving on from 2011.
- Less “SEO is my job” to more "SEO is part of my job."
- Google is shortening the searcher's journey. They are scraping content off of websites and sticking it directly into the search results. They are aiming to provide the quickest answer possible to grow queries and an “addiction to search”. On the surface, this appears to hurt publishers, but the reality is probably more complicated. Possible positive: If this increases user addiction to searching, maybe creates opportunity for marketers and our clients.
The biggest and most obvious takeaways from Rand’s intro:
- You absolutely must diversify your traffic channels.
- You need to become more important to Google's searchers than Google traffic is to you. (Provide value, make great things, build a strong brand)
2. Wil Reynolds
Takeaway: Focus on delivering a great User Experience across all channels.
This was a theme that was more or less reiterated by a number of the speakers, but Wil Reynolds (founder of SEER Interactive) always comes with the heat and his presentation style is matter of fact, and straight to the point. This year was no different. What I like about Wil is that he is truly passionate about pushing us marketers and marketing companies to be better.
In his presentation, Wil emphasized the importance of looking beyond search rankings and really focusing on the user experience of your customers, something that a lot of marketers fail to do.
“We’re giving people what we want them to want.” - Wil
He shared a few examples of businesses that had had excellent search visibility and rankings but failed on many other aspects of the customer experience. He also pointed out that more often than not it’s us marketers that are held accountable for things that are outside of the scope of our work. We need to be bringing these things to our clients attention, rather than just thinking “it’s not my problem”.
Focusing on the customer and the entire customer experience across all channels (offline included) is a win-win for for both agency and client.
Takeaway: Measure the right things and set smart goals.
Dana’s presentation covered a topic that is probably one of the biggest challenges for marketers today (aside from the work itself): proving value. It’s something Metric takes very seriously (we rebranded our company around it) and put a lot of time towards “figuring out”, and it’s still incredibly tough.
Dana started out by highlighting some of our biggest challenges as marketers:
- Clients/customers misunderstand or don’t place value on the work
- Getting client buy-in and internal politics
- Measurement and analysis; proving value and clients seeing value
She pointed out that more often than not our clients don’t place value on the same things that we do and for their agency, allowing clients lead the goal setting has worked much better for them.
- Set expectations early on. Identify goals, KPIs, metrics, and reporting specifics (what you’re reporting on) right from the start.
- Be laser focused. Build your strategies around goals and if doesn't work towards your goals, dump it.
- Be honest - especially if things aren't going as planned. Things won’t go perfectly and it’s better to keep your client’s trust at all times.
Takeaway: Bringing teams together to innovate creates better content.
Richard Baxter is another one of my favorite speakers because he always delivers a ton of actionable insights. This year was no different and I actually found his subject incredibly inspiring and actionable, especially as a marketer at an agency with development, creative, and strategy teams that collaborate to produce client work.
Richard touched on some great examples of innovative content and how content is constantly evolving and we as marketers (as creators of content for our clients and for ourselves) are faced with a ton of pressure to innovate and make better stuff.
One of my biggest takeaways from this talk, is that Richard, who is widely known as an uber-smart technical marketer, talked about how at his company he pushes for all teams to come together to produce greatness.
Creatives help generate the ideas; developers help bring the content alive and make sure it works; and the marketers promote and get the coverage. This definitely hit home and something we here at Metric are working towards internally; bringing all of our teams together to collaboratively creative something awesome.
For those that would like to dig deeper into Mozcon content I’ve included links to a few pretty awesome resources below: