Internet Marketing Evolution Event Questions and Answers

Rasmussen College hosted a "Internet Marketing Evolution" event at the Technology and Design Center at the Brooklyn Park, MN college campus on January 27, 2011. Internet marketing industry experts from GoogleJWT, and Market Motive spoke about the evolution of marketing, specific career paths in internet marketing, educational options for the Internet marketing degree student, and more.

The three panelists went on to answer Internet marketing questions from the audience. Watch the video below to learn more about this growing industry. You may also view the Internet marketing videos from each speaker on the event recap blog post.

This video is also available on the Rasmussen College YouTube channel.

Q&A Transcript

Kathy Heldman: Awesome, awesome information. Thank you very much. Now, what I'd like to do is switch to the Q&A portion of the seminar, and we have received some questions. I'd like to ask Michal and Steve to come up and join me.

Our first question is for Michal with Google. What internet marketing channels do you expect to grow the most in the next few years?

Michal Lorenc: I mention video. Video will definitely grow. It's not just YouTube, but really the video distribution on TV and devices, and I'm not sure what kind of devices. It would be easy to say mobile devices or tablets. I think there are some other very interesting ideas that combine today's devices.

Mobile space, that's another rapidly growing. Really, when you think of phone, it combines access to information. It actually combines ability to interact, so the entire social aspect, but it also pretty soon, hopefully, will allow you to make purchases on the go.

Really, it kind of closed the cycle, because not only you can determine what it is that you are interested in, what you're looking for. You can find what you're looking for, and then you can close the transaction, either buy, purchase, rent, whatever it is. I believe the video and the mobile will probably be the fastest growing.

Kathy Heldman: Terrific. Thank you. The next question is for Steve with JWT. What advice would you give an aspiring software designer looking to get into the industry?

Steve Wallace: Get your degree. Network madly. Find out everybody in the community that has anything remotely related to software engineering, and that can be just about every place. 3M develops a lot of software. If this is a Minneapolis-based person, there's Ontrack.

There are multiple software companies in this town, and most large corporations have a software component to it. Identify these places where you want to work. Start finding the people that work there and then just get connected with them.

Kathy Heldman: Terrific. Thank you. The next question is for Michael Stebbins with Market Motive. You talked about the different types of training opportunities that are available for individuals as resources. With the fast paced nature of this industry, could you share with us some other sources, like blogs or news outlets, that we can access, either daily or weekly, to keep abreast of the trends?

Michael Stebbins: Thank you for that question. You know, there is a ton of great resources. Let's just go off the top right now. They mentioned blogs. We recommend quite a few of them. Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Guide are two excellent blogs to watch. Search, what is it? I'm trying to remember Danny Sullivan's blog. It just blanked out. Look up Search Marketing Expo, and you'll find his blog as well.

We highly recommend conferences, such as Search Engine Strategies. We think that's an excellent conference. Search Marketing Expo, and there's a great one actually in Las Vegas called PubCon. These are multi-day conferences. It's a great place to go and stay up-to-date.

Let's see. If there are RSS feeds that you can follow from those particular blogs, it's a great way to culminate them and stay up-to-date as well.

Kathy Heldman: The next question is for Michal with Google. Do you think e-books/magazines will be a big factor?

Michal Lorenc: Yes and no. I'll go back to what Michael said. It's very easy and tempting to apply the old school terminology to kind of the new school thinking, so e-books, books that you can read on Kindle or some other devices. I think these are the very basic things.

Right now, if you publish a book on Kindle as an author, as a publisher, for example, you can start seeing in aggregate what are the areas? What are the paragraphs that people are highlighting as they read your book? Think how insightful it can be for a writer or publishing house.

Magazines, yes, they will be very popular. I believe that the content will be popular, but again it wouldn't be limited to a couple columns of content or gossip or a character with pictures. Technology, the tablets, the Internet allows you for much richer experience. So, yes and no.

Kathy Heldman: Thank you. The next question is for Steve with JWT. What's the earning potential for a SEO expert?

Steve Wallace: I would say starting out, anywhere between – oh, man, I'm going to really nail myself here – probably, I would say, between 40 and 60.

Kathy Heldman:Okay.

Steve Wallace: If you really became a multi-line expert and you were inventive in creating new techniques to game the Google algorithm, that's six figures easily.

Kahty Heldman: Okay. Thank you. The next question is for Michael with Market Motive. Where is a good place to start with classes, Michael?

Michael Stebbins: Well, obviously, right now our wonderful host, Rasmussen, offers some excellent classes in internet marketing and a degree program in that. Outside of that, there are short day classes you can take, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Market Motive offers short online courses from the website that you can sign up for online.

Kathy Heldman: So, Steve of JWT, can you explain in detail what conversion optimization is?

Steve Wallace: In detail, as detailed as I can get. This is the most measurable media in the history of the world. We can track everybody from where they started, everything they did, how long they spent on a page, and where they bailed or abandoned.

When you're looking at a path that we want somebody to buy, we want them to download something, we want them to acquire something, you're actually looking at what's the path of least resistance for this user. How are they getting there quickly? And then, your job is to remove the barriers, grease the funnel, make it easier for them to get there and not harder.

What happens is we get creative, especially agency people, and we do designy things that make it harder for people to get things done. That's what that process is really all about.

Michal Lorenc: Can I just jump in quickly?

Kathy Heldman: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Michal Lorenc: I think that's a great point. In e-commerce, in retail, there's a stat floating around that the average e-commerce website converts 3% of visitors, which means that for every 100 people that visit your website, 3 people end up buying whatever you are selling to them.

Really, the conversion optimization aspect of it is how do you make the three into six, because you will pay the same amount for traffic. You'll have the same amount of overhead. It won't cost you anything else, but you can double your sales. I think to Steve's point, it's one of those areas that you can make the biggest immediate impact on the bottom line for your business, but it's one of the hardest as well.

Kathy Heldman: Terrific. Next question is for Michal with Google. Can you please explain the difference between SEO and SEM?

Michal Lorenc: SEM is a search engine marketing discipline. SEO, search engine optimization, deals with working on positioning one's website in the best possible way on Google organic results. Those are the so-called unpaid results. I say so-called because it costs lots of money to optimize your website for SEO. It's not really free results. You're not paying Google, but you are paying many of the third parties and technology providers and agencies.

SEM is a search engine marketing discipline. That's when you are trying to buy directly from Google or paying some other search engines, and you're buying keywords. You are actually buying traffic. Those are the sponsored links, and you're trying to do it in the best possible way.

There is a very distinct difference. Again, one of them you're paying for third parties. Google wouldn't accept your money because we don't want to be influenced with dollars and cents on what website is deemed to be more relevant than others. With search engine marketing, it is a marketing advertising expense which you pay, and then, based on a number of factors, you can buy as much or as little traffic as possible.

Kathy Heldman: Steve with JWT, could you talk to us a little bit about how your clients might use both traditional as well as digital marketing in their marketing mix?

Steve Wallace: I'll use an example today. AARP is a client of ours, the American Association of Retired Persons. They know that with the boomer generation beginning to retire, they call it the Silver Tsunami, 85 million Americans about to retire. They're not interested in AARP like their predecessors were because that's for old people, all right?

There's this whole campaign that we're developing out of New York to help change the attitude of that towards this particular brand, and the online experience is actually building the community for people to actually then engage. The idea is what is it about life that we love, that keeps us going, that we want to do? And so, there's the introduction of the brand idea, and then there's the experience of the brand idea online through websites, social media, a number of different things.

Kathy Heldman: Steve and Michal with Google, we read a lot and this individual says, we read a lot about how companies have challenges around managing their brand in an online world. Can you talk a little bit about some of the challenges companies have, and how they might get ahead of the curve in that regard using digital marketing?

Michal Lorenc: I'll use two fairly recent examples.

Kathy Heldman: Great.

Michal Lorenc: Right now, I'm located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have a Google office there. It's also headquarters for Domino's Pizza. About a year ago, there was a very unfortunate incident where some of the Domino's employees or contractors recorded some videos of pretending to do pretty bad things with food, and they put it up on eBay. It picked up lots of viewership, but also then many of the news, kind of the media circle got all over it. Literally, the company had a PR crisis with 24 hours of something happening. The crisis happened so quickly because of how immediately and how little control companies have.

They actually turned to social media to try to change that, and interestingly, within I think 24 or 36 hours of actually the videos being posted, somebody contacted Domino's and basically said, "I'm a private investigator. I can help you pinpoint exactly where this video came from."

They looked at the footage. They looked at the videos on YouTube, and they were able to figure out, okay, there is a view through the window which shows some kind of partial street name. There were actually able to figure out very quickly what location the place was at, so then Domino's could react very, very quickly.

Their entire PR response was, okay, it wasn't really us. It was somebody visited the store, and we fired the person responsible, and we did it very quickly. It's an interesting analogy where technology can make it really bad for you, but it can actually enable you to help out.

Second example, British Petroleum, BP. BP spent millions of dollars on search engine marketing, search engine optimization, and social media trying to get in front of the crisis that undoubtedly they created. Again, they, at least, understood that after initially trying to kind of not respond to media, after a while they understood that they can't continue with their head in the sand approach. They had to proactively reach out to it. That's the benefit.

As I mentioned before, social media, Twitter allows you to monitor the chatter and find out exactly what's happening, but you actually have opportunity to react and to respond to people. When somebody is upset and they're searching for whatever is in the news right now, you can give your side of the story, at least.

Steve Wallace: The hardest thing, I think, for traditional marketers and agency people is brands is a very old concept. The idea is I have a product or a service. This is what I stand for, and you can't touch it. It's impermeable. You can't penetrate it. I throw out a 30 second TV spot, and I talk to you.

To Michal's point, while I get to talk back to you now, and if I don't like you, the BP example. There was a Twitter feed called "BP Cares," and it had the BP logo dripping in oil, like it was blood. This was somebody who was slamming them. This is what terrifies traditional marketers is that we have, all of a sudden, lost control of our brand.

We can't just say we're cool. We have to be cool now, and that's a challenge because how many of you wander online to have brand experiences? No, you go online to solve a problem or satisfy a need. You're taking care of business. You want to talk to friends. You're not going out there to be, all of a sudden, influenced, wow, I need to buy Nike today.

This is what confounds marketers. How do you bring real utility to a brand concept? How do I make chewing gum relevant on a website to you? How do I do that? How do I make it interesting for you to want to go to Stride.com? And that's the challenge that I think is confounding people. It comes down to understanding why people engage with software in the first place. There's satisfaction and joy you get out of solving a problem or getting content. I think we're in the middle of this market shift right now.

Kathy Heldman: Terrific. Thank you. A follow-up to the brand question for both of you, and so, from a student who is thinking about creating their own personal brand. How might they use digital marketing and social media tools to help them build their personal brand, and to kind of take it the next step further and use that in a job search in building their career?

Michal Lorenc: Personal brand is critical. You can no longer just assume that you can do whatever and get away with it. Internet captures everything. So on a very tactical level, the first step, clean up your Facebook account.

The second step, you probably had a MySpace account that you forgot about. Delete it. Take some of the pictures off. Just because you do it, by the way, doesn't mean that those pictures are gone, but at least you are controlling some things.

Set up a LinkedIn account. Set up Google Profiles. Try to create and own as much content as possible. If you can buy the URL, the domain of your first and last name, do it. Actually, it will help you twofold. On one hand, it will really show people that you interview with that you understand the space. You don't just talk the talk, but you walk the walk, and you have done some of those things.

On the other hand, it can help your SEO, search engine optimization, because the more content that you can control, you can put up on the Web, the lower on the page or kind of deeper into the index, things that maybe you don't want people to see will go down. So, that's kind of it.

You need to own it. You need to build the content. If you are trying to market yourself as somebody that understands the space, the first thing I would do, I do it all the time, I Google this person. I check their LinkedIn account. If they talk to me about being very active in social media, if I don't see their Twitter account, they're lying to me. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Kathy Heldman: Thank you. Steve, anything to add?

Steve Wallace: I think you nailed it, that you need to walk the walk and talk the talk. If you're going to talk about social, you'd better do social. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool, and I'd recommend you use it. This idea of digital reputation management is real. We do go out and look at what you have on LinkedIn and what you have on Twitter. We don't want to see bad photos on Facebook because it's a poor reflection on you.

There was a woman who I think in this industry was a trailblazer by the name of Julie Rome, who was the head of digital marketing at Chrysler. She did incredible things bringing car marketing online. If you Google her name today, all you will find out is that she got fired from Wal-Mart. I mean, one bad thing, one bad event can dwarf all the great things that you did because Google never forgets.

Kathy Heldman: Last question. This one is actually for the three of you. You all sound so passionate about what you do. Could you share with us, kind of what drives you, what you really love about digital marketing?

Michal Lorenc: My personal story, I grew up in Poland. I came to the U.S. in '92. I remember very well the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the change, just getting access to democracy. For me, the promise of the Internet, democratizing content, allowing everybody to access everything and make up their own minds rather than being told what to think, what to do is an extremely powerful tool.

It's also leveling the playing field. Anybody can compete with anybody. If I have a great idea, if I have a great product, I don't need to have a huge marketing campaign to start my business. Technology lowers the cost of doing business. Technology allows people to interact with people that they haven't before.

When I came here as an exchange student and I remember this distinctly, my way of communicating with my parents in Poland was writing a letter on the yellow pad, folding it up, putting it in the envelope, sending it via air mail. They received it two weeks later. They read it. They responded to me. Two weeks later I received it.

The instant messaging 16 years ago was 4 weeks. We called every so often because it was extremely expensive, and right now I can IM with my sister who is in London on the phone, when I'm on a plane sometimes because there is a Wi-Fi. This connection, it's just extremely powerful, and, as I mentioned, it changes constantly. I get bored very, very, fairly quickly. I couldn't imagine myself doing the same job for more than two years. My job changes every six months.

Kathy Heldman: Thank you. Steve?

Steve Wallace: Much the same in terms of the variety. This space and this industry is constantly changing. You have to change with that. I would say ten years ago, when I was getting into strategy, it was all about solving problems. I love that. This is hard. This is what we need to do.

Now that I'm manager, I'm training problem solvers. That's interesting, too, because when you're working with people, you've got to allow them to fail and learn that you have to fall down, pick yourself up, and try it again. That's hard for me because I know the right way to do it, and I want to just take the keyboard and say let me do it.

That's what's driving me, I guess, now. Ten years from now, I don't know. Maybe I'll be teaching here.

Kathy Heldman: All right. Thank you. Can we get Michael? Okay.

Michael Stebbins: To answer the last question, we see the Web and the ability to be online as the ultimate voting machine. If you're able to put out value, people can find out about it in a very fair and even way. If you stand out, you'll be rewarded. If you don't stand out, then you won't get the attention.

We love seeing the results. It's like putting out a net and fishing. It's a lot of fun to see how many jump in the net and, of course, if you provide good value, they'll come back again and again.

Kathy Heldman: All right. That brings to a close the Q&A portion of the seminar. As we close, the first thing I would like to do is offer my tremendous thanks and gratitude to our speakers. I can't tell you how fortunate I feel to have each of you here, sharing your insights and your personal experiences with digital marketing.

Thank you, thank you very much, Michal, Steven, Michael. and I'd like to thank our participants. Thank you for sharing this incredible evening with me. We have opportunities for you to get more information. If you have any questions at all on the program, questions on internet marketing, anything that you'd like to know, we have on the slide, you can call us, 888-5-Rasmussen.

We also welcome any feedback that you have. You can e-mail imevolution@rasmussen.edu. And we will as part of the seminar be recording and posting a recorded version of the presentation so that if you missed something and you want to go back and view it, we'll have that easily accessible to you as well.

Thank you again for your time. I appreciate it. Gentlemen, thank you. Thank you very much, and have a wonderful evening and a wonderful rest of the week. Thank you everyone.

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