Last week I made my way to San Jose (yes, I knew the way) to join the discussion at SMX West. What began as the conference for search marketers, SMX has expanded to help marketers connect the dots across the digital landscape – from search and beyond.

This broadening of the scope could be seen in the many cross-channel sessions offered during the show, one of which I had the pleasure of joining on stage. The session, Search & Social: Better Together, featured Ellen White of Team Detroit and was moderated by Search Engine Land Community Editor, Lauren Donovan.


Additionally, I was a part of a panel at the end of the day to share key takeaways from the show. I classified my learnings into 4 themes – content, context, consumers, & convergence – or as I like to call them, the 4 “cons” that are actually pros. So, let’s breakdown these pro-cons.


While there was no content-specific track, there were several sessions devoted to improving content marketing practices, and many speakers addressed the importance of compelling content and creative. Whether running organic or paid programs, strong content is the foundation. If the foundation is weak, the performance and outcomes will also be lackluster.


Once you’ve mastered good content, make sure it can reach your audience in a contextually relevant way. These days, this definitely means a mobile-first mindset. Speakers shared strategies for converting the mobile visitor, maximizing the mobile experience, and acing app engagement.


When it comes to framing your content, thinking about context, and developing your plans, I think all the speakers agreed that a consumer-centric approach was key. There was lots of talking about alignment to the buyer’s journey in all parts of your program – from keyword research to attribution.


Like the session I joined, there were multiple discussions on the breaking down of channel silos to create cross-channel coordination and the opening up of data to inform programs in a more holistic manner. And, if we’re talking big-picture themes from the conference, I think the idea of convergence of marketing and technology fits that bill.

We’re at a critical tipping point where marketers are becoming more sophisticated and technology is growing more innovative. This blending of the art and science of marketing is creating new, exciting opportunities for advertisers, and the future looks bright.

If you missed the show, click here to review the speaker presentations and uncover additional trends and topics.