Net Conferences on SMM, Marketing and Digital

I, like many readers of Thematic Media resources, have a great interest in the latest advances in information security. Ever since the publication of the film “Hackers” (and I will be understood by those who, as a teenager, caught the era of personal computer development by enthusiasts), I imagined myself to be a kind of cyber-cowboy of the new virtual “wild west”. However, instead of studying technologies of the corresponding profile, I went into design, then into advertising, while simultaneously mastering a simple stack of web technologies. The only outlet for an unfulfilled childhood dream was the introduction to the concept of growth hacking :


As you know, such a proud title obliges you to stay in the forefront of marketing thought. For example, what reports are prepared by information security specialists for the largest conferences? Something absolutely crazy: hacking a nuclear power plant from a mobile phone, intercepting the control of a cardio-stimulator, deanonymizing in TOR and the like (if I go too far, it’s not much). Breathtaking, isn't it? But let's imagine what a black-hat conference would look like if its program were designed in the manner of digital (sorry - digital) marketing conferences:


Do not get me wrong, I do not want to say that the topics of such reports would be completely useless. I’m sure that a person with experience could reveal unobvious nuances or, at least, make his presentation interesting and inspiring. However, getting to such conferences, you feel like a gold miner sifting tons of sand in search of a golden grain. Why is that?

Conference is a product

A conference is a product, and the manufacturer is targeting the widest audience. Marketing conferences are perhaps the most advertised of all types of conferences. It almost reaches the point of absurdity when you find advertising for a conference on digital marketing in the St. Petersburg metro (if the share of the absurdity of such a placement is not obvious to you or you, for example, live in a city where there is no metro, I’ll explain: this is how they advertise goods and services of the widest consumption and mostly high profitability For St. Petersburg now it is mortgage, mobile communication, deposits, consumer electronics and food delivery). And the wider the target audience, the easier the topic of the report should be perceived. A highly specialized case may not affect the strings of the soul of the afflicted.

The manufacturer also seeks to spend less effort, with the expectation of maximizing profits (which means reducing risks). The creation of "content" is outsourced, and in fact, the responsibility for quality is delegated. Possible claims will be addressed most likely to the speaker, not the manufacturer.

Zero sum game

The reports of information security conferences, one way or another, make the world a safer place, explaining in detail what exactly needs to be protected in existing systems, require high qualifications and many other restrictions so that someone can reproduce what they heard in the report. But what does the speaker at the marketing conference get, revealing his know-how? While it was a question of traditional types of advertising, where it was difficult to reproduce the final result, but it was easy to try to copy the medium itself, the speaker could arbitrarily describe the process of creating advertising without risking anything.

Let's rewind time a little back. Just six months to a year before the term “muzzle” appears in the midst of seo-shniks. Imagine, you notice that just a few links installed on the main pages of third-party sites to yours significantly raise you in search results. You go to speak at the conference, talk about it - and thousands of satisfied seo-shniks easily repeat your method that evening, thereby sharply devaluing its effectiveness.

A conference is a party

Somehow, in a conversation with a friend who has experience in organizing events, I was surprised that conferences were organized on a weekday. To which he reasonably objected to me: “And who will spend his weekend on konf? It’s much nicer to take time off from work to the conference. ”

For conferences, parties, dances and dinner with speakers are now being sold in the appendage. The entertaining nature is strongly emphasized, is it any wonder that the topics of the reports are becoming more and more “casual”?

It's all about cases.

Are everyone happy with this state of affairs? Maybe not, otherwise the organizers would not have attempted to convince us of the usefulness of their events. The magic word was “cases”, the final argument and the main reason to buy a ticket. There will be no water, there will be cases. From practitioners, not showmen. Thanks to the cases, you can find out that someone, advertising something, spent 3 rubles 80 kopecks per transition and achieved a conversion of 12%, as well as the cost of advertising in the vlogs of new YouTube. You will expand your horizons in every possible way, becoming a mini-encyclopedia of someone’s last year’s recipes.

I do not deny the usefulness of cases as such, but this is not a concept from which, like from bluetooth, everything automatically gets better. Cases without analysis of the source data and the result obtained can only serve as a source of inspiration (they could, which means I too), cases as the basis of the conference content should be outstanding and relevant, reproducible, they should illustrate the main idea of ​​the report, and not be its sole content.

Statistical competency

Once I was struck by an extremely interesting case. Imagine you receive a message on the eve of a football match in which it is reported that such and such a team will win. The match is passing and you understand that in the message the winner was named for sure. A week later, before the next match, you again receive a message with the winning team. And again, the match ends with the predicted result. When the time comes for the next game, you get an offer to buy a forecast to make a bet.

I explain to those who are not familiar with this case. Fraudsters send a message to one group of recipients that team No. 1 will win, and to another group of recipients - that team No. 2. The next time the message is sent only to those recipients for whom the forecast turned out to be correct, exactly by the same principle. As well as the final offer to buy a forecast, again, only to those who got the correct forecast both times.

The same algorithm can be used to create a factory of experts. Imagine that each forecast is signed with a unique first and last name. If it turns out to be true, one of the following options retains the original authorship. The chain of correct predictions for one expert cannot be endless, but by setting a certain acceptable level of errors, you can get a certain number of first names, which, as real people, would gain the authority of football experts. What would they be able to say at the match prediction conference?

Well, if they were placed in the appropriate environment, future matches would be commented with a great deal of uncertainty, but they would willingly discuss the correct predictions for matches already held, I think it would be extremely difficult to guess the nature of their extraordinary competence.

Practical advice for those who go

The speakers I know are, for the most part, people with experience, professionals who are interesting to listen to. A correctly asked question during the report can save you time looking for your own solution (if it resembles a “bicycle invention”) or give the right direction. You can also enjoy the wit of a speaker, his ability to find interesting examples or analogies. However, if you expect practical benefits, give priority to the performance of the speaker who:
  • Does not write or sell books
  • Not the owner or head of a “glamorous” agency
  • Whose topic is not worded in common words
  • Whose topic is not just buzzwords?
  • Works in a similar (your) or similar niche
  • May possess insiders of important services, platforms, applications

For any exceptions to these rules, write in the comments. And see you at the conferences :)

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