#MME15 – Viva Las Vegas!

Bright light city gonna set my soul….

Being totally honest, Las Vegas doesn’t really set my soul on fire (presumably because unlike Elvis’ Lucky Jackson character I’ve never had a whole lot of money to burn). Vegas played host to Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience between March 31st and April 2nd this year and I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time. Over 3000 Modern Marketing & Sales professionals gathered, talked technology, celebrated success, educated themselves and had some fun in the Social Media Lounge and bars…

So what happened in Vegas?

Should of course stay there but surely I am allowed to spill the beans on why I was there, what I was doing, who I was with and some of things I took away? Here goes.

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An extended Micro Focus Field and Corporate Marketing and Sales team attended the event with me to take advantage of the superb technical education available. We’ve been an Oracle Marketing Cloud customer for a little over 4 years and it’s been a real honour to talk at this (and previous Modern Marketing Experience Events) about digital marketing, the growing importance of Social Media, digital data and how web performance powers Modern Marketing success.

Markies

On the subject of success, it’s well worth mentioning that Micro Focus has made Markies finalist in twice in the past two years. Despite not scooping the big prize on either occasion, seeing Micro Focus in the Markies Hall of Fame for ‘Best Social Campaign’ fills us with pride which is a reward in itself.  Our 2 Markie Finalist plaques are now proudly displayed in our Newbury HQ reception.

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This year too I was both delighted and a little surprised to scoop a personal Oracle MVP award during the Advocates Party.  Many thanks to the Oracle Customer Success team (namely Adrian Chang and Jenny Berthiaume) for presenting me with this considerable honour.

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Looking forward optimistically to next year’s event I am sure Micro Focus will be a Best Social Campaign finalist again (and get recognition in some additional categories too). Micro Focus’ mainframe tribute to big iron, namely IBM Mainframe’s 50th Birthday in 2014 and #COBOLRocks 2015 campaign are pretty tough acts to follow. Maybe it’s finally time for the mighty Frank Borland to pull on his cowboy boots, Stetson and get busy backing himself in 2016? We’ll have to wait and see….

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My colleagues and I attended quality education, talked the talk, walked the miles of Vegas walk between sessions, learned heaps about lots and rode a mechanical bull for a few manic-inner-thigh-bruising seconds each.  I also discovered it’s a really bad idea to present at exactly the same time the band OneRepublic are warming up next door. No amount of A/V wizardry can overcome that volume. Everyone present was counting stars.

Cashing Out – so what did I take away with me?

Summarising all the amazing content and sessions is extremely tough but here are the key things I took away from this year’s extravanganza. Let me know if I’ve missed anything.

  1. Data is the lifeblood of digital marketing. Lots of fresh accurate data is required and the humble web form is still the best bet. Content needs to be good enough to encourage people to exchange their email address for it – a rapidly rising bar.
  2. That’s why Content is king. Without amazing content someone is prepared to exchange an email address for there’s a gaping hole below the water-line. If the content on the CMS isn’t up to scratch invest in it now and ensure it covers a buyer journey.  Remember that without gated content unknown web visitors can’t convert into known ones to nurture.
  3. If no one can find the great content it can’t be generating much return. This makes digital Reach the Queen for your content King. To improve reach a decent SEO strategy is required. It’s not just keyword and content, don’t forget SEO has a technical side that can’t be ignored.
  4. As soon as influential people find your content and like it then you’re cooking with gas. The more your content is shared and linked to the higher it’s ranked by the search engines – each link to it counts exactly like a vote. The greater someone’s online Influence the weightier their ‘vote’ becomes. A decent investment in Social Media is the only way to make this happen effectively.
  5. Working on Content, Reach and Influence is hard. Prepare to invest lots of time and keep an eye on meaningful metrics! That way you’ll know what works and more importantly – what doesn’t! That’s how you’ll earn enough Data to oil your digital revenue engine and transform Google and Bing into a front line sales team for your business.

Does anyone apart from Lucky Jackson have a whole lot of money to burn?

I certainly don’t. I suspect most Marketing departments the world over don’t either. Marketing budgets are under significant pressure and increasingly tasked with pipeline delivery. Investing in content, reach and influence without a weapons-grade digital infrastructure is a sure fire way of piling bundles of budget dollars straight onto the proverbial fire. Everything I’ve mentioned in this blog is underpinned by a website that’s up and performing 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

That’s where some of the Micro Focus / Borland products help. Best-in-class tools that monitor websites, test the applications and functions your website serves for performance and load and ultimately help you avoid any embarrassing hiccups. How do websites and apps look on different devices and browsers? Silk Central Connect enables you to test this out so you can ensure the major bases are covered.

Modern Marketing is digital in nature, a perfect blend of art and technical science. A scientific approach to website performance is the only way to ensure your digital revenue engine is firing on all cylinders.

Please feel free to visit www.borland.com/blog or find me on Twitter to talk further. See you at MME16!

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