Back in the summer I did a Q&A with Andrew Keyes and Jay Aber. I had intended to interview Emily Rayson but the weeks kept sliding by and it didn't get done. Eden Spodek, an AIMS volunteer who contributes regularly to the blog jumped in and found some time with Emily. Thanks Emily for your patience. And thanks Eden for getting this done. At long last...here is the Q&A with Emily Rayson...
Emily Rayson grew up in the Internet world, starting in 1992 with one of Toronto’s first New Media agencies, The Bulldog Group. You can still see some of her work in the marketplace today – the Famous Fast Lane at Famous Players movie theatres was one of the first of its kind in Canada. From there she went on to become General Manger of PointCast, an independent consultant, Co-Managing Director of Grey Interactive, and Managing Director of Organic. She enjoyed continued success each step of the way. After a couple years off spending more time with her family, Emily stays involved in the industry by consulting on projects across various industries.
Q: When you started AIMS in 1996, did you think about what the industry might look like in 5 or 10 years? How does it compare now?
A: One of the reasons we started AIMS was because things were changing so incredibly fast and we couldn’t possibly be in all places on our own. We were all with what I like to call ‘poor’ companies and there wasn’t room in the budget to attend most conferences, to buy a lot of the research, to explore all the new and emerging trends that were cropping up almost on a daily basis. And even if we did have the financial resources, we certainly didn’t have the time to digest it all. So a few of us decided to get together once a month and share what we had learned, where we had learned and to begin to think about what it might mean – both on an aggregate level for everyone and on a micro level for me and my company.
Although things have changed significantly since those early days, I think a lot of the basics are still in place today. We all still question what advertising model to use, what content should we publish, how should we brand and market it, and what other ways can we monetize it. The fundamentals remain the same building blocks we used 10 years ago.
Q: What has surprised you the most in the past decade?
A: One of the biggest surprises for me has been development of the devices or the appliance market. I don’t think I could have imagined getting the Internet on my cell phone, on my Blackberry, on my TV, on my fridge (Yes, that’s available too!) and on my computer. I definitely never thought I could access the Internet unless I was connected to a wall socket somewhere.
Another big surprise to me is that, even after the tremendous downfall of the industry and the exodus of many talented people, the Internet can still capture the imagination of so many people.
Q: Which of the current trends do think will have biggest impact in online marketing 10 years from now? Which trend do you think is over-hyped? Which trend do you think is under-estimated?
A: I think we’re still evolving the appliance, and delivery to these appliances, of the Internet. Cell phone technology continues to evolve, wireless appliances continue to mature and with that, comes opportunity to get your message out in exciting, new ways. That means that the online marketer, as in the past, needs to remain current with new appliances but also needs to look ahead on a continual basis. There is no telling where the next ‘digital’ marketing opportunity will arise and someone in your company needs to be on the constant lookout for it.
I think all trends are worth watching and should never be underestimated. For instance, VoIP is not a reliable phone service offering today but I’m pretty sure they’ll work out their kinks and get it right in the next 24 months. At the other end of the spectrum, kids today can hold 35 simultaneous IM conversations without getting confused. What does that mean to marketers as they grow up and become the first generation to really have grown up with the Internet at every touch point?
Its 10 years later and really, the job remains the same – stay as current as possible, share ideas and knowledge amongst yourselves, and continue to learn and apply that knowledge as it makes sense for you and your company.