I have just got back from Mozcon 2013 and I loved it. Did I love all of the presentations? Quite honestly no, I didn’t. Did I learn huge amounts of new information, to be frank, I felt as if I could have learned more. I did however learn a few things that I am going to take back with me and I am excited to try and implement them. These things could really deliver a positive ROI for my company, B2B CFO.
What I am going to take back and cherish the most may not present an easily trackable ROI for the business, but it is going to make me a happier, better person and a happier, better employee. It will also make my industry a happier, better place to be.
Backstory…Read it 🙂
Before I tell you what I learned, let me give you a little bit of background. I went to school to get my marketing degree with the hope of getting a job in sports marketing. For several reasons, that never worked out and I am fine with that, my next goal was to work for a big Advertising or Brand Agency. I didn’t want kudos, I didn’t want big money, what I did want was the opportunity to be creative, tell a story, infuse a product or organization with character that is compelling, memories that will grip, intrigue, inspire, and enthuse. In short, I wanted to be a storyteller.
Fast forward a few years and I seemed to stumble into several careers, I was a project assistant for a local authority organization, I then became an SEM Marketer (lasted 2 months), then I was the UK Business Development Manager for a company that built websites.
Leap forward a little more and I moved to Arizona with my wife and kid. At Church one day, I was asked if I would like to work for a local Agency for free. “Work for free, for an AGENCY?” You bet I would! I didn’t even need to think about it, I just stuck out my hand and shook on it. I thought this would be my ticket to getting the career I had longed for, but within 3 weeks, I was a full time employee up to my neck in SEM and SEO. After two and a half years I was headhunted from that agency to become the SEO Manager for the company I work at now.
Was I good at what I did? Yes… and I still am. Not only am I responsible for SEO and SEM on a daily basis, but I also manage the internal graphic design team and the copywriting team. However, all through this time, I harbored a little resentment. A little disappointment, perhaps a little embarassment. Whenever anyone asked me what I did for a living. My answer would be online advertising. I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was an SEO. You could see one of two reactions when I slipped up and revealed my secret: They either knew what I did and hated it, or they didn’t have a clue, but hated it, once I explained it to them.
Mozcon…Deliverer of foot…to butt!
What I LOVED about Mozcon though was the realization that I didn’t need to change my job or career. What I did need was a kick up the butt and a change of viewpoint. The foot to derriere (thats fancy for bottom) was delivered particularly well by both Rand Fishkin and Wil Reynolds. They talked about the importance of building brand and doing #RCS (Real Company Stuff). I came out the other end with a sense of enlightenment. I am not ‘just’ an SEO. I am a marketer, I just happen to use SEO as one of my channels and I happen to do it well. Don’t like that? Well, that sucks….for you 🙂
What else did we learn?
The zeitgeist of the conference seemed to be be, ‘build a brand and make sure your user has a great experience’ (especially if they are using a mobile device). Both of these are things what I always wanted to do originally. I feel as if I now have permission to go back to my company and tell them that I am a brand marketer. Not just because this is who I am, but because building their brand is also going to improve our SEO, it will improve our bottom line, it will make me happy and it will make them money.
“My name is Andrew Francis Freeman… and I am a Brand Marketer.”
I am not naive enough to think that I am going to be a top Brand Marketer right away, but if there is one thing I am good at, it is learning. So learn I shall…
Thanks Mozcon, thanks Seattle, I hope to see you next year.