Did You Hear the One About the Singing Pig?

By Aaron Goldman, VP Marketing & Strategic Partnerships
Appeared in
MediaPost’s Search Insider

In my last column, I covered the top buzzwords dropped at the Search Insider Summit earlier this month. Today, I’ll relay some of the best quotes from SIS to help those that weren’t there get their fingers on the pulse of the conversation and allow those that did attend to reminisce over some of the highlights.

Do I Have Your Attention Now?

“Search isn’t the future.” – Gord Hotchkiss, Enquiro.

During his opening remarks, Gord asked us to think about search differently, not as a noun but as a verb; not as the end-all-be-all but an enabler; not as a platform but as a platform for change.

Most “Out There”

“The remainder of the proof is left as an exercise to the reader.” — Esther Dyson, EDventure Holdings.

My head hurt when Esther, in between riffing on space exploration, compared the next wave of search innovation to geometric proofs. But things cleared up as she explained that search engines can only do so much and what we need now are applications that can take what’s been established (the ability to find information) and layer on personalized interaction (i.e. the ability to act on that information based on an individual’s needs and preferences).

Scary Because It’s True

“We’ll all either be very rich or we’ll all be out of jobs.” — Eric Facas, Google.

Eric’s response to the question, “What happens when all media is trackable down to ROI?” was more than a bit ironic considering the staggering number of Frienemillionaires out there that don’t need to work another day in their lives.

Timing is Everything

“I just got an email that my site is down.” — Anonymous (name withheld to protect the innocent)

One of the highlights of SIS is always the SEM Review Live, when industry experts analyze the Web sites of marketers in the audience and provide suggestions for improvements. This session took an interesting turn when a marketer asked Patrick Garrett from Outrider to pull up his site, only to find a Page Not Found error which he explained after a quick glance at his Blackberry.

Thank You, Captain Obvious

“We don’t manage media in the same way people consume media.” — Matt Roche, Offermatica.

Don’t let my sarcasm fool you — this is a very real problem. Marketers are not doing enough to adapt to the emerging on-demand digital media world. We, search marketers, are on the front lines and need to continue this battle cry until we’ve won the war.

SEO Demystified

“SEO is not doing one big thing right; it’s doing two hundred little things right.” — Dan Perry, Cars.com.

For any of the marketers out there still thinking that there’s a silver bullet for SEO, Dan told you to think again. And for those caught up in the SEO Rocket Science Debate of whether SEO is an art or a science or neither, one thing is certain — it ain’t easy to identify, prioritize, and execute two hundred things, no matter how little they are.

Best Analogy

“Never teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” – Craig MacDonald, SEMDirector.

Craig applied this analogy to the mobile space, pleading with marketers to stop repurposing content created for larger screens. This line stirred up quite the debate in the MediaPost Raw blog, where some great quotes emerged from reader’s comments —

“Pigs don’t know [that] pigs stink.” – Chris Carbone, Metro Networks

“You can use a screwdriver to drive a screw, and a drill to make a hole… [or] you can just get a screw bit for your drill so you can do both with the same tool.” – Michael Darwin, Fuse.

“When does a pig become a hog?” – Ramesh Ramakrishnan, Tribology Consultants

Best Take on Google (tie)

“Google is an advertising company. Period.” — Esther Dyson, EDVenture Holdings.

Esther poo-poo’ed Google’s new tagline of “Search, Ads, and Apps”. This raises a good question — is a company defined by what it does or how it makes money?

“You can’t out-Google Google.” - Paul Martino, Aggregate Knowledge.

I especially liked this one knowing how much Google hates when its name is taken in vain… er, verb.

“The only way to compete with Google is to go around them.” — Chase Norlin, Pixsy.

And then hope they buy you, I suppose.

“Google built a $150 billion market cap 5 and 10 cents at a time.” — Steven Kaufman, Digitas.

Anyone still doubting the power of the long-tail?

Bottom Line

“You’re not going to see value unless you create value.” — Lee Odden, TopRank Online Marketing.

Lee said this in the context of social media, reminding marketers that, in order to effectively generate response and engagement through social channels, you need to offer something of value to the community. You can’t simply “build it and they will come.”

I think this quote transcends social media and can be used to inform all marketing activity. As a wise man (Chris Tucker as Smokey in the movie “Friday”) once said, “You’ve got to give to receive, my brother.”

As we move from push to pull in the media and marketing world, marketers need to give people a reason to seek their brand out, not just provide a good experience once they’ve been found.

SIS is H-O-T

“The everglades and the bagels are burning.” - Gord Hotchkiss, Enquiro.

Something only those who were at SIS will appreciate. Don’t be left out on the inside jokes — get out to the next Summit and see if you can crack my Top Quote List!


Copyright © 2008 Resolution Media, Inc. All rights reserved.