Everything is Connected: Inspiring a Collaborative Culture

June 4th, 2015

by Rachel Harden

Written by: Carrie Brown, AMAWM VP of Finance

At the recent Everything is Connected conference, we explored the possibilities of a world where everything is interconnected. The American Marketing Association of West Michigan, along with AdFed West Michigan and aimWest collaborated to host industry experts from Google, GeLo Inc., Seamless, Start Garden, Comcast and AddThis on May 20 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.

Speakers gave examples of how data is transforming our new interconnected world. Here is a snapshot:

Alexandra Gonzalez from Google shared some interesting insights on a variety of topics. Her presentation on Google search emphasized that there is more than one way to use search. We search to find information, we search for entertainment, and we search to connect with each other.

  • Mobile searches are growing, doubling from 2013 to 2014, which shows that the way we use technology changes based on how we’re using it.
  • Because mobile is taking off – Amazon increased mobile usage by 87% last year – having your site optimized for mobile has become increasingly important for users. To ensure your site is mobile friendly, avoid software that’s not common to mobile devices like Flash.
  • Did you know that 86% of the time we’re on our phones, we’re using an app? For marketers, this presents a huge opportunity. In-app advertising using Google AdWords allows you to target specific apps or topics based on your audience, like the Expedia app for travel related businesses.
  • To be effective, mobile advertising should be different than campaigns developed for desktop promotions. Consumers want brands to entertain, educate and be useful, so mobile campaigns should strive to build ongoing engagement using these tactics.
  • Consumer loyalty is needed to keep brand engagement. The stronger your brand is, the more loyalty you get from consumers.

The brand kinship arc includes:

Exists – I’ve heard that name

Know – Your brand does that/makes that

Represents – Your brand helps define who I am

Forgive – I’d still love you no matter what

Defend – I’d stand up for you

  • Permission advertising, like e-newsletters – allows you to share more with consumers who opt in. Permission advertising is the next step after traditional advertising, and it needs to be relevant, personal and anticipated to be effective.

At Google, Alexandra Gonzalez consults with small and medium-sized businesses on AdWords. Gonzalez’s expertise focuses on digital marketing, mobile marketing as well as Google advertising products like Analytics and YouTube.

Andy Kemp from AddThis discussed how important it is for brand marketers to understand and analyze, and then execute online strategies based on audience and influencer behaviors.

AddThis allows you to target website visitors based on their activity across millions of websites. To drive engagement, you can segment your audience by their loyalty, interests and social activity.

  • Using a JavaScript code, AddThis can drive traffic to your website and encourage further engagement. With the code, you can implement share buttons, follow buttons and more.
  • AddThis allows you to look at what users are doing when they aren’t on your url. The off-domain data is usually the most important, since it shows you where they go and what they’re interested in viewing.
  • Currently, mobile and desktop use is about 50/50. So it’s important to track usage trends to deliver messages that work for your audience. Using cookies, social data and site data, you can recommend content for your users and even display personalized, mobile-friendly messages.

With over two million unique users, AddThis specializes in monitoring social engagement and content across 98.3% of the web. Andy Kemp helps companies big and small plan and execute ROI driven strategies online.

Alex Juarez of GeLo Inc., showed how GeLo expands our experiences by harnessing the power of timely information with Bluetooth Smart beacons, a cloud platform and custom mobile apps.

  • GeLo: Things connected to the Internet = IoT – Small sensors that measure data are connected to the Internet; it’s the convergence of those things.
  • Sensors can measure almost anything. They make machines smart, detect presence, and even allow wearable data. For example, Bluetooth LE beacons can be built into sunglasses, and an app will let you know if you’ve left them behind.
  • The Grand Rapids Public Museum used the GeLo app for a scavenger hunt. Using strategically placed beacons, the system created a signal zone surrounding the exhibits. The Bluetooth signal alerted the app on the smartphone, letting the hunter know that the item was found.
  • The beacons change how work gets done – they allow us to interact with and find machines, improve efficiency, can reduce and eliminate paperwork, as well as provide immediate feedback.

A marketing and business development executive, in 2013, Alex Juarez joined the small Michigan technology startup tech GeLo to bring beacon-triggered mobile communication to companies in the U.S. and worldwide.

Amanda Chocko of Seamless and Start Garden talked about working with startups that are discovering ways to converge the physical and digital worlds, making people’s lives more connected.

  • With IoT, startups and enterprises now need to work together. Startups need access to channel, domain expertise, market knowledge and customer knowledge. Enterprises need lightweight experience. They come together by serving the consumer.
  • Seamless has the connections that give startups access to customers, distribution and data across multiple verticals at companies like Steelcase, Meijer, Amway, Priority Health and Spectrum Health.

Amanda Chocko is the Accelerator Director at Start Garden, a local venture capital firm, as well as the Director of the Seamless IoT Accelerator, which operates out of the firm. Seamless is a consortium of enterprises that seeks IoT startups in health care, automotive, retail, workplace and smart home markets.

Connection is a powerful thing. Simple things like Legos connect to complete castles, boats and towns. Family trees connect relatives over centuries. And technology connects us to information – people, places and things – all over the world.