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Online, offline time to draw the line

I have certainly sat through my fair share of conferences, breakfast meetings, luncheons, seminars, drinks sessions and launch events during the past 36 months, based around the theme of the future online marketing, or just the future of marketing.

Some have been educational, some were derivative, where all the ideas seemed old even before the coffee break was over and some were full of tales of whiz bang gadgetry and of the viral elite, punctuated by the same handful of case studies that everyone has already heard in 100 seminars before.

Of course there have also been a handful that have been truly inspiring and that make you want to go out and get involved and try something new.

The common thread at all these gatherings has been the conversations during the breaks, particularly among the marketers and the cynical press. It’s either “I’ve heard it all before” or “that’s just a gimmick” or more commonly “that was great but we’d never be allowed to do anything like that”.

However I like where online marketing is starting to settle, where clients are actually starting to take note of why consumers are in online environments and how they will want to be approached, what they will be receptive to, what the right times to pitch them are.

Sound familiar? Yes the technology may be the enabler, but a lot of what is happening in the online marketing space takes its cues from old fashioned marketing principals.

Take the mystique of the technology away – and as Edleman’s global social media fire started Phil Gomes told me last month, the first wave of internet communication took care of the technology issues – then what you have is people connecting with people. And when there are connections being made marketers need to get in amongst it.

Communications might move faster, consumers might be more chatty and empowered, but they are still consumers. So for our “Back to basics” look at online marketing we explore the new opportunities and the solid old fashion marketing techniques that they are based on.

Most of our contributors in this month’s issue also took a long hard look at the online space to peel away some of the layers the professional conference circuit has put in place.

We hope you find some inspiration, we hope we’ve demystified a few issues and we hope you discover at least one new thing to try.

The issue is by no means exhaustive and in many ways just touches the surface and we look forward to further exploring some of the issue raise in future issues.

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