Speed Geeking – Part 1 of 3

Hearing seven smarty-pants people, each speaking for seven minutes, can lead to mental indigestion. That’s the bottom line. Pecha Kucha, as you all likely know, is a bit like speed geeking, whereby geeks (AKA experts) in their field – in our case, marketing – download their thoughts in a form that obliges them to be quick, creative and focused. Thus leaving the audience a bit numb, but giddy with information management problems.

And at the May 8th Digital Agency Panel – the final BCAMA Evening Speaker Series event for 2012/2013 – that’s exactly what happened. The subject was roughly defined as: “What’s the single most important thing that digital marketers need to know right now?” Multiply by seven. That’s a lot of “single most important things”.

In truth, I was expecting a good deal of overlap among the speakers and some kind of consensus (minus, obviously, the fact that digital is IMPORTANT) that would be relatively easy to absorb. No such luck.

Build Utility

Kicking off, Nikolas Badminton of Taxi gave us his thoughts. Nikolas shared the insight (insight?) that there are more cellphones (4.8 billion) in existence than toothbrushes (4.2 billion), which led to the conclusion that humans are stupid. Given the above statistic, I would guess so. Communication trumps our health (or something like that).

Because of this, and because we are sharing an enhanced communication world through technology, humans have become cyborgs. Which was not a surprise at all, to me, at least. I mean, look around.

And since this increasing connection has occurred and is deepening, then innovation is coming at us at an alarmingly fast pace. So the most important thing that Nikolas has asked marketers to consider is not the gee whiz factor of enhanced cyborg-like communications, but the creation of utility.

As marketers, communication without utility means nothing. Hence, we should be looking at creating tools or utility and connections. Watch for the greatest innovations happening in the medical and automotive sectors.

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Mobile First

Is Burnkit’s Josh Dunford’s mantra. There is a lot of adoption of simplicity going on, but Josh wants to say “mobile first”. And this is his take of digital history: Website > Social > Mobile. His examples of compelling mobile sites were the best slides so far. Rather than start with confusing mess of many websites, start with the simplicity of the best mobile site and then go backward. Mobile informs web and social. But mobile first. So we’re looking at a kind of reverse innovation.

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If you think I stuck the Speedo picture into this blog to get your attention, you’re right. It certainly caused my friend to gasp and giggle. “Speedo is all you need.”

As Josh Dunford explained, a Speedo is all you need because “it’s all about simplicity”. And constraints. Being creative with simplicity and constraints yields results. Constraints like those associated with the minimalist real estate of a mobile site force innovative design choices.

Optimize the digital presence from mobile and then work backwards. It’s about the computer in our pocket. Josh asks, “How many times have you replied to an email by using the cellphone that’s sitting on your desktop?”

Keep an eye on the BCAMA blog for more recap posts on this event.

Bruce Nickson is employed in the sales and marketing of engineering services and is embarking on (yet another) startup in the technology space.

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