Simon Penson is the founder and Managing Director of Zazzle Media and will be speaking at Search Elite Manchester on September 27th about Voice Search. I wanted to find out how he keeps ahead of the news and where he sees the search industry going in 2018.
“1) You run your own company, Zazzle Media, what gap did you see in the market to run your own agency? How have you managed to stay ahead of the curve with the Search Industry changing so quickly.
I’m not sure I saw a gap necessarily but an opportunity to improve how brands connected with their audience online. I had been running my own websites since about 2000 and seeing them grow through content creation and sharing but so many were focused on gaming Google to make cash online. There was very little brand building and little in the way of useful experience or value-add to find out there.
Meanwhile I was working at a major print publisher and seeing audience numbers dwindling. For me that was a ‘budgie in the mineshaft’ moment and it became clear that I had to build a business that offered brand the ability to own their own audience – with content at the heart of that strategy.
That journey was extremely slow to begin with but as Google changed and started rewarding the things that matter. Social also took off and the rest, they say, is history.
The experience has taught me the value of looking ahead to ensure we do ‘stay ahead of the curve’ – and to do that I focus on consumer behaviour and technology advancements. The web as we know it is only a stepping stone and I want to be certain we remain ready to pivot and evolve when the next phase arrives…
2) How has PR and SEO changed in the past year and what can we expect for 2018?
Inherently they haven’t changed at all as disciplines but the tactics involved are ever evolving. PR will always be about sharing amazing content with relevant audiences and the key holders of the platforms that aggregate them. SEO has always been about ensuring that relevant content is discoverable by the right audience and that platforms are ‘fit for purpose’ to maximise ROI from the investment in those platforms.
Tactically everything has changed. Search opportunity will switch to voice and conversational search in 2018. PR will continue to play a part in search but brands will figure out its wider ranging value over the next 12 months and how to deploy it as part of wider digital campaign plans.
3) You are going to talk about Voice Interfaces at the conference, how important is voice search for online organisations?
I’m so so excited about this area right now. To me it feels like the beginning of a web 3.0 or sorts and the birth of a new digital interface. All marketers should be quivering with all the opportunity that will create. Lots to learn and I’m certain an equal amount will change in the space.”
Some great insights from Simon Penson, thank you for taking part in the interview. We can’t wait to see you at Search Elite Manchester.