Webstock 2010 panorama
Source: Kiwi Flickr

This year was the third time I’ve been to Webstock. I go for a few reasons: to visit Wellington!, to get perspectives on web design & web development that I wouldn’t normally, to let my brain think about things other than digital marketing and to catch up with people.

Of course, it isn’t easy just to turn off from the digital marketing side of things so I spend a lot of my time at Webstock thinking about the impact of changes & future trends to the digital marketing industry.

Here’s what I learnt online businesses need to be doing this year:

  • Iterate. Listen to your customers, watch your analytics, learn what needs improving and optimise like a crazy person. The website that is most agile will win.
  • Don’t be late to the mobile party, be early. How does your online audience want to engage your business via mobile? Does that exist? Is there a business case for it?
  • Be wary of “gut feel” or “I just know” interpretations of data by your staff or your third party providers. Expect empirical evidence that backs up that gut feel.
  • “If you review the first version of your site & don’t feel embarrassed, you spent too long on it” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn.com
  • For Barack Obama’s US presidential campaign, his online team were tracking how dollars spent on online ads were turning into dollars received via fundraising. If a campaign that complex can achieve it, no-one has an excuse for not knowing their ROI from online spend.
  • Jeff Attwood‘s description of social software was very good: “tiny slices of frictionless effort, spread across an online community”. A good reminder that to leverage user-generated content you need your users to want to contribute and make it super-easy to do so.
  • I thought Daniel Burka‘s recommendation that “subtraction is iteration too” was a good reminder. Don’t be afraid to subtract

The talks & presentations are going to be made available in the near future so keep an eye on the Webstock blog for those.

You can also follow Webstock on Twitter: @webstock.