Brussels was the place to be on March 23rd and EVG, in the person of Eric Ingrand, was there to attend the first Fusion Marketing Experience 2011. This marketing conference was unique because the invited speakers, while extremely influential online, were independent of the sponsors. Major keynotes covered a wide range of topics, ranging from social media, the relevance of email campaigns and content marketing for the future. For those who weren’t there, check out the presentations online.

The organizers used the very tools the conference was built around, content marketing and social media, to drive targeted traffic and create a buzz within the online community. As the first conference focused on social media and content marketing in Europe, this one is still being talked about, due largely to the quality of speakers and the diversity of the audience. And the film crew from Belgian TV didn’t hurt either! The next such conference will be in Amsterdam in the fall of 2011.

Eric identified four key takeaways:

• Email marketing is neither dead nor useless. According to Dela Quist, “Email should be the primary means by which someone you already know, visits your site, transacts with you or interacts with your brand online.”
Olivier Blanchard points out that Social Media is not simple and not really free. It requires a great deal of work, organization and monitoring, but it can position your brand for future prosperity. He offered 10 lessons on how to make it work for your company. “If you aren’t using social media to become a better company, you aren’t using it right.”
• Creating high-quality and unique content on a regular basis is key according to Joost de Valk. This will drive results and grow your revenue. But it isn’t just about great content, it’s really about links. His message is that our websites should not be glossy brochures, but rather they should be a book of revelations for our customers with the answers they’re seeking, and not finding, elsewhere on the Web.
• 2011 and 2012 are the years that mobile commerce is going to take off. Smart phones and the 4G networks are definitely going to change the Web from a station-based user to a mobile one who uses tablets and a smart phone. Transactions made over a phone are still marginal, but the growth rate is there now. Richard Sedley of Foviance notes that when people want to access the Internet, 49% use both a mobile and a PC, 31% use mobile only and 20% use only a PC. He notes that £8.6 billion was generated globally through social networking, that’s 1.5 times more than porn.

The primary message is that social media and content marketing should be a key part of marketing’s role and strategy. Brands, agencies and marketers are looking at the various initiatives with increased interest. Eric notes that social media marketing and online video marketing in Europe are driving the buzz. This is the beginning of a massive change in the way that brands and B2B companies engage with existing and attract future customers.

Eric would also like to give a shout out to two of the speakers at Fusion Marketing Experience, Olivier Blanchard and Trey Pennington. Both are residents of our hometown, Greenville, South Carolina.

~ Eric Ingrand
Director of Business Development EMEA

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