On February 9th and 10th 2016, Blue Fountain Media hosted a seminar on "The Future of Omni-channel Marketing." With the help of an esteemed panel of industry thought-leaders, we discussed how the landscape of digital marketing is changing, and what trends and initiatives we see on the horizon. Stay tuned to our blog in the upcoming weeks, as we hope to highlight each speaker and their individual presentation. However for now, here is a quick look at what you can expect to see from each member of our panel, as well as some key tips and takeaways from each of their presentations.

"The Future of Omni-channel Marketing" Joe DiNardo, Director of Paid & Social Media Marketing at Blue Fountain Media 1. 2016 is the year of VALUE. As marketers we always want to have this year be "the year of something" that we are going to provide to consumers. 2014 was the year of content. 2015 was the year of context. We want 2016 to be the year of providing value. This is about taking a multi-channel approach to consistent messaging so that the user is getting more from you, than what you are asking from them. You should be providing an audience with something valuable whenever you interact with them. 2. People love to "discover" things. As users continue to make their networks smaller, they are expecting quality content that meets their interests to come to them, instead of them actually pursuing it. You need to make your audience feel that they are naturally interacting with interesting content, not that they are blatantly being targeted by a brand. 3. Go all in. Don't fear failure. Value always wins. Take the time to refine, target, and optimize your ads and your content to figure out what works for you and your audience. Don't just give up on something after a week of trying it out. Plan out content that is catered specifically for each channel rather than simply promoting the same content across all platforms. If you are going to invest the time into doing it, do it right.

"Beyond Search: Reaching Your Audience at Every Moment with YouTube and Display" Noah Plaue, Agency Partner at Google 1. Media consumption has changed. When your customers are going to consume media, and where they are going to be when they do, is no longer as predictable as it once was. It has become much more fragmented as people tune in more than ever before. People check their phones on an average of 150 times a day, and each of those moments is another opportunity to interact with your customer. 2. Take advantage of "micro moments." Every time we pick up our phones, there are moments when we are thinking about what we are going to do next. Each of those are "micro moments," and therefore the moments in which we can be influenced. We decide what action we are going to take, and that process of consideration can be taken advantage of when trying to target consumers. 3. Influence the customer consideration. Before the customer knows that they even want to buy a product, you want them to be influenced by your brand so that yours is the first thing that they think of when they move on to purchase. If there is a video on YouTube that discusses your industry or a product of yours, target you video ads to play before them. The viewer will see your brand before they even see the video.

"Responsive Website vs. Native App: The Mobile Investment Smack-Down" Jacquelyn Wossilius, Director at Bowlmor AMF 1. Omni-channel blurs the distinction amongst channels. Omni-channel marketing opens the door for you to provide an interconnectedness among touch-points for your audience as they engage with your brand. You can display one mind and one voice at every point in which you are communicating with your consumer. Having a mobile app or a responsive website helps to maximize this potential. 2. Choose the right mobile experience for your brand and your clients. There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration when planning the next step for your business and how you are going to integrate mobile into your marketing. Not only do you have to determine your budget in terms of cost and timeline, you also need to figure out which mobile experience will best benefit the user experience of your customer. You don't want to disrupt their mobile experience. Instead, you want the customer journey to be a smooth and fluid transition that becomes a natural addition to the rest of their time on a mobile device. 3. Consider the actual utility. Is there something that your mobile app will provide that a mobile website wouldn't be able to? Is it worth the investment and the maintenance to design, develop, and implement a mobile app if a responsive website would be just as functional and beneficial? These are important things to consider when determining the right path for your brand's mobile experience.

"The Importance of Technology For Digital Marketing Success" Jose Martinez, Global Head, Digital Services at Pactera Technologies 1. Technology can be your worst enemy, or your best friend. With the evolution of trading and selling, has come the evolution of marketing. Technology is regularly presenting challenges, as well as benefits, to the marketing world. Rather than letting technology prevent your company from maturing, you want to leverage it. Use it to understand your customer patterns so that you can pinpoint opportunities to better access them. 2. Context is key, but content is still king. Just as we said we wanted this to be the year of providing value, you don't want to lose the importance of context and content in doing so. Delivering quality content in the right context creates a value for your business. Through this they are able to see what services you can provide to them. 3. Data should not be an afterthought. Data can help you to understand your customer inside and out, online and offline. You can understand them on a personal, social, emotional, physical, and geographical level based on collected information and analytics. This data should be implemented into your marketing strategies from the very beginning, and technology should be leveraged as a tool to build relationships with one customer at a time.

"Campaign-based Marketing Strategies for 2016" Yoni Ben-Yehuda, Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Fountain Media 1. Have a deep understanding of what the assignment is. What problem does this marketing campaign need to solve? What are some general issues that the industry your client operates in face? Figure out what the specific client needs in relation to their industry, and make that your assignment. Its never just a marketing campaign, it needs to accomplish much more than that. 2. Put an emphasis on the creative. This is the vehicle that fuels the journey of the campaign. No industry or client should undervalue the importance of a good creative strategy. The right team with the right idea can make a business stand out amongst competitors in the eyes of consumers. 3. Omni-channel execution. Making the most of your campaign by utilizing omni-channel strategies allows you to take your creative ideas and deliver them to an audience. Through research and data analytics you can target the right people rather than all of the people. Because at the end of the day, that specifically targeted group is the one you really want to influence.

"The Evolution of SEO: Where is Your Audience Now?" John Marcinuk, Director of Integrated Digital Marketing & PR at Blue Fountain Media 1. SEO grew up. What was once solely focused on keyword targeting and building links, has evolved into a process of building brand equity. Optimizing for search now requires a deeper understanding of audience behavior, and creating content for the needs of consumers instead of just robots. This allows you to provide people with a more memorable digital experience by promoting quality content through PR initiatives, supplemented by a strong social media presence. All of these need to work cohesively in order to successfully build a brand. 2. Offsite recognition > Onsite optimization There are no longer simple and technical rules for how to succeed on search engines. Each initiative needs to be focused on the overall theme of your brand rather than a specific keyword you want to rank for. The quality of a link is now more important than the quantity, and creating a brand presence across all channels both on and offline is an essential step in long-term success. 3. Be everywhere! Social audiences trust the reviews and opinions of their peers. This means you need to fulfill the customer needs by being wherever they are. Take care of your brand, employees, and clients, and nurture the reputation you want for your business. Sometimes the best marketing efforts, happen organically and can do the most in helping your brand grow.

This is just a taste of the incredible presentations we saw at the seminar. We are very eager to continue sharing the insights and tips the members of our panel were able to discuss. So stay tuned for a deeper look at what each presenter had to say about The Future of Omni-channel Marketing. Feel free to share your thoughts on these topics in the comments below, or tweet us @BFMweb.

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