(Also posted on Linkedin)
Yesterday was my own Birthday, I turned 42. But it also was the birthday of ‘my Digital baby’: State of Digital. And it was only the first birthday. Last year on September 17th we launched the ‘new’ website.
Well, not really new, after all for the few years before it was called State of Search. A website I originally set up with Lisa Myers and built out to be the biggest of its kind in Search in Europe in only 2 years. I was running it, but did that with the help of many.
The re-brand last year wasn’t just a new name however, it was a new direction. It wasn’t a step away from search, it was a step towards a more integrated digital marketing world. A world in which Search, Social, Conversion, E-mail all work together ‘as one’. A world in which not the tool or the channel comes first, but the audience. You could say a revival of ‘the customer comes first’.
But when I say ‘the customer comes first’ I can’t help but think that that is interpreted most as ‘doing whatever the customer asks you to do. Where I believe that (thinking about the segmentation remark I made before) it should be about understanding the customer, or audience (whatever name you want to give it). And after the understanding comes the delivering. Understanding, again, is not the same as doing what someone tells you they want, but doing what comes most natural.
And that’s what State of Digital should be about: getting an understanding of how to do that best as a marketer.
Getting back to the site…
I have worked hard on the ‘new’ site last year to give it the right direction. That has gone with ups and downs. As I said in my post “Lessons from one year State of Digital” yesterday: it only starts after the rebrand.
I must admit that there have been times on which I thought ‘why am I doing this again?’, but funny enough in the last few weeks it has become more clear on why and how. I still believe in the same things as last year, but an important lesson I learned, which I didn’t put in the article, but will share with you here, is that I had too much of a ‘rush’ myself. I wanted things to go faster, I wanted people to immediately understand and embrace what I was doing. But that’s not possible. For one thing because it’s my idea, not theirs.
Also for business reasons I tried to speed up things which need time. That doesn’t always work, and to be honest, it can actually slow you down. Dropping the ‘need for speed’ attitude gave me a lot of relief recently. I am now making plans again for the site, for new things and for exciting things, but with an understanding of time. We are working with only volunteers on the site, absolutely nobody gets paid. Which is a big difference for example with websites like Searchengineland, Marketingland or The Next Web, who all have paid editors getting content out there. I’m not saying that makes us better, it doesn’t, working with paid editors has its own challenges, but it’s different.
It means that we will need to take more time to get where we want. And that’s what we’ll be doing in the upcoming year. Taking our time to build quality. Which will mean more quality articles, some webinars, some white papers and more. But always with this thought in mind: quality over speed.
It will also give me time to do some other exciting things, like more writing, speaking and who knows, a surprising exciting project soon.
And then I’m sure that we will be able to do what I have in mind with State of Digital: make it a platform that will help marketers do a better job, by better understanding the audience.
And hey, we have time, after all, we’re only 1 year old right
Thanking a few people:
So, one day after our birthday I want to thank a few people for their support in the past year and before. Support which consisted of different things: from hands on help (writing, building, designing) to mental help to strategical help and network help.
I know I will be forgetting people so apologies if I do, but here are some names of people who helped and whom I’m thankful for:
Off course the : Sam Noble, Barry Adams, Jo Turnbull, Louis Venter, Jackie Hole, Sarah Bradley, Annabel Hodges.
The bloggers from State of Digital: Russell, Agnete, Aleyda, Arienne, Arianne, Claire, Clarissa, Dave, Gemma, Gianluca, James, Jodie, Kate, Krystian, Laura, Marcus, Matt, Ned, Neil, Polly, Shelli, Bastian and Stephanie
Those that blogged for us before (also on State of Search): Alex, Ben, Bryant, Carla, Cindy, Claire, Evert, Haukur, James C, James M, Jason, Jeroen, Jon, Kelvin, Martijn, Michel, Nichola, Nick, Paddy, Paul, Peter, Sam C, Sam M, Paddy, Hannah and Sarah
Those that helped me get started in what I do: Lisa Myers off course (thanks for the ‘pepper’ ;-), her husband and friend Jon Myers, all the people at Dutch Cowboys, Roy Huiskes (still miss our radioshow!), Joost de Valk, Dave Naylor, Becky Naylor, the people from Jong Management in The Hague (Kim, Tessa, Frank, Herbert), Dixon Jones, Marcus Tandler, Esther ‘Wilg’ Gons, Louis (and Roisin off course!) Venter, Webmasterradio guys Brasco and Daron, the people at Basket Builders, Frankwatching,
Friends who supported with strategical or just ‘mental’ assistance: Kristjan Mar Hauksson, Matt Roberts, Collette Easton, Paul Madden, Dom Hodgson, Sara Clifton, Kaspar Szymanski, Jose Truchado, Bryan Eisenberg, Andy Betts, Lee Odden, Alain Heureux, Nita Huang and James Murray.
Industry friends that helped in different ways: Gareth Hoyle, Martin McDonald, Dennis Goedegebuure, Rishi Lakhani, Ben Norman, Mel Carson, Mikkel de Mib Svendsen, Andy Atkins, Paddy Moogan, Cedric Chambaz, Kristine, Simon Heseltine, Kevin Gibbons, Jon Henshaw, Andrew Girdwood, Crispin Sheridan, Chris Boggs, Nick Garner, Michael Bonfils, Angie, Anne Kennedy, Eduard, Motoko and Bill, the search awards judges, Fili Wiese, Julie, Jeffrey Eisenberg, Barry Schwartz, Debra Mastaler.
Those in the events business: Rebecca Tandler, Mike Grehan, Matthew Wood, Danny Sullivan, Nicky Wake, Dan Bell, Jackie Bissell, Jonathan Allen, Chris Johnson, Matt McGowan, The SMX crowd (Matthew and Sandra Finley).
And then off course finally my family, the wife and kids and parents. And off course everybody I worked with or partied with in the past years and everyone I forgot!
Thank you all
Now, enough with all the ‘softness’, let’s get to work!
From Bas Van Den Beld Bas van den Beld