I’m a computer programmer, have been since the early 1980’s. I’m from the age of green CRT’s, floppy disks and 300-baud modems. (Google all that stuff – it’s worth the laugh!) We used keypunch machines to write computer programs. Here’s a picture of a keypunch machine in case you’ve never seen one; chances are unless you came over on the Mayflower, you haven’t.
Here’s how it works. A computer programmer enters a line of code into the keypunch machine. When the programmer “commits” the code, the keypunch machine punches a series of holes in a card. The card takes its place on the stack and the stack of cards becomes a computer program when fed through a card reader.
One of the funniest (and most pitiable sites imaginable) is the student who trips in the hall while running to submit a batch of cards to the card reader before the assignment deadline. Like a scene out of Inception, you can imagine the slow motion fall as dozens cards fly through the air and scatter across the floor. The look on the student’s face goes from shock, to disbelief to terror as she watches her long hours of hard work go down the drain – there’s no way she’s going to get those cards back in the right order before the assignment deadline.
Denver Digital Summit
This anecdote captures what I felt as I attended a series of great sessions at the Digital Summit in Denver June 16-17. The Digital Summit is an annual event that brings some of the sharpest minds in the digital marketing space together to share the latest trends, best practices, and strategies with hundreds of marketers like me. While I love events like this, I always come away feeling like someone took my punch cards and threw them up in the air.
It’s a good thing, really. Unlike a computer program, digital marketing isn’t code. It is a constantly evolving, morphing set of practices that are part science and part art. As a digital marketer, my job is to distill the esoteric down to sets of measurable, quantifiable deliverables and results. Like any good digital marketing agency, we strive to keep up with what’s happening in our industry. We want to make sure our clients get results from their online marketing. Attending two or three conferences like this each year keeps us sharp – even if it feels like dropping 297 keypunch cards and watching them scatter across the floor.
The big topic at this year’s Digital Summit in Denver was the not-so-subtle shift that is taking place between traditional performance indicators or “vanity metrics” (all the stuff you get from Google Analytics) and more user and action oriented metrics like conversions, sales, and customer loyalty. The issue was addressed across multiple channels: from SEO to social media, to customer reviews, and user experience. For me it came home that content is king (eye-roll) – no, it really is.
Content Marketing Is Digital Marketing
Digital marketing IS content marketing with SEO, PPC, social media, blogging, etc., simply being tools we use to share great content with users who are looking for information, products, or services. There’s a lot to unpack here. In future posts I’ll share how the things we learned at the Denver Digital Summit are being implemented in our marketing strategies for your business.