Reconnecting with the D.C. Digital Crowd

Last week I attended TechMedia’s Digital East event as a client was participating in the first session. The long drive for an early morning panel battling the DC commuters wasn’t appealing, but I got there without a hitch. (Note to self: You must get of the office to more of these events.) The content was great – kudos to TechMedia. Here are a few of my takeaways:

Mobile – Channeling Kevin Costner
We’ve all heard it: mobile is here in a big way, but Scott Suhy, CEO of PointAbout, said it best: “Mobile apps are not a field of dreams…if you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come.” So what does that mean for PR? Mobile-driven companies, especially those focused on reaching consumers, need PR more than ever. Apps, as one panelist explained, are disposable and 99.98% won’t make it. Remember: while a beta launch is key to working out the kinks out before you go live, it also is prime time for a stealth PR effort to gain traction before the big launch. This may include targeted media and analyst sneak peak briefings, a blog or Twitter program geared to your end user audience, and getting some test users on board so you have results to show at launch time.

Online Advertising – Kill the Click
Most of the panelists talked about killing the click. Sure, being able to track clicks has been a great ROI point for advertisers but it has become a crutch. If it takes at least three different ads or exposure points to really resonate with an end-user, the “last click” shouldn’t get all the credit. In PR we have similar issues – how do we prove value of a media placement? Just as there isn’t a direct line from PR to sales, it isn’t a 2+2 calculation. Some of the things we look at include media outlet’s reach, the sentiment of an article and how the placement met our initial PR objectives to measure value.

All in all it was a great day to get out of the office for some face-to-face time and even to spend some time in the car by myself to think and brainstorm. Please drop me a line if you have tips on other great DC-area events – I’m psyched to get out there more.

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