Unleashing the Future of Digital Marketing: Insights and Highlights from Digital Marketers Australia Conference Day 1

By Published On: March 18, 2023
Digital Marketers Australia Conference 2023 - Day 1


The ‘Digital Marketers Australia Conference’ for 2023 has only just finished yesterday.

Also known as ‘dma’ by it’s close friends the event was held in Richmond, Melbourne over 2 days March 16 & 17. And we were there start to finish.

I have been to many… ok, a lot of expos and digital marketers conferences over the past 20 years and this one did not disappoint.

It was packed with tonnes of information from really good speakers and knowledgeable people in the industry.

They shared real world projects they’d done or currently working on – client names redacted of course.

It gave the few hundred attendees a glimpse into a variety of wildly good SEO treatments, Agency scaling pains, Automation tools and methods along with new tech tools either just out a few months or, released yesterday.

The lead up to Digital Marketers Australia Conference

Our follow up confirmation emails arrive a good week before to remind us it’s still on. And we’re still on too. It’s booked out so the organisers have secured an overflow room called the Breakout Room where all the talks will be streamed live which, was a nice touch. There was no water in the overflow room but wouldn’t that have been something.

It’s been a while since I woke up at 5am but I peel myself out of bed and train-ed it to the city, met by hot air balloons flying over Federation Square. Unknown co-travellers and I all stop to snap a few pics. I hop on the 78 tram up Flinders Street to Bridge Road towards the River and everything is going to plan. We arrive at the Amora Hotel Riverwalk and yes, there are signs. I’m in the right place. Great.

First stop, a strong Melbourne coffee from the Hotel Bar. It’s ok but, we’re real Melbourne people and we’re fussy so that’s on us.

Registration is from 8am. It’s ticketless. We get our giant name badge and plastic lanyards (yep that’s what they’re called) and some assembly is required but, only after coffee.

1. Stephen Esketzis | Digital Marketers Australia

It starts promptly at 9am and its one of the dma Founders Stephen Esketzis live to give us 40 minutes of his take on Digital Marketing. I took notes. All the speakers had slide presentations and apparently we’re getting them all in a week or two which is a great bonus coz there are definitely lines I’d like to cut and paste.

Stephen amps the room and gets into his take on where we are and where we are going. Takeaways; Privacy, Pattern Interception, Mobile First / Desktop next and everything else after that, ChatGPT is amazing and useful for repurposing content (and it is), he likes selling through stories, and he flicks us an octo-plus of AI links; checklist.gg, landbot.io, elevenlabs.io, quillbot.com, kartiv.com, zoomscape.ai, promptbase, and lastly magic8.ai which is going to make some people with a shopify store very upset.

We’re left impressed and if this is anything to go by, what else is coming?

2. Andrew Hubbard | Hubbard Digital

Second speaker is Andrew Hubbard from Hubbard Digital on low cost Facebook Ads. He sets us up easy. Facebook wants any reaction it can get. FB takes note when we dwell on a post we find pretty. As you keep reading, that becomes a filter, engage some more; another filter.

Controversy creates conversation (boy does it). Position Copy is important. Think about your Hooks and create a few and change them mid campaign if needed. Ad-Fatigue is a real thing. Interest targeting is exactly how it sounds. And he has a process for compressed testing. And agorapulse.com. Very interesting.

3. Will Wang | GrowthLabz

Will Wang from GrowthLabz brings it. Roadmaps. Personalised Videos. Email marketing, the planning, the finite details and scrutinising where a full stop should or shouldn’t be or, should there be three…

Always pushing the reader to the next line. We’re reminded how emailing can get spammy quickly and domains get burned quickly too. Using burner domains is a thing I learned which makes sense. We’re passed resources; Hunterai.com, Neverbounce is good. Quickmail.io sends automated emails that start conversations. Warmup emails is also a thing. Frequency is relevant.

4. Alisha Marfatia | The Social Impact

Special note: the speakers were as varied as they can be. Next up was Alisha Marfatia from The Social Impact on Instagram Reels which, you either do or do not. I, do not. But there is no denying their impact on a target demographic and thank goodness there are people across this stuff because it isn’t us. These little video snippets pack power and build brands very well if, the content matches. Wild numbers are the social proof.

5. Mike Rhodes | Websavvy.com.au

A personal highlight was listening to and learning from Mike Rhodes, websavvy.com.au about; Google Ads, The Google Eco-System (which is much larger than we all knew), and how Google is very aware of any and all its shortcomings but, that’s ok because they have Google Performance Max to eliminate wasted Ad spend. It’s there to help you spend your Ad budget wisely. What could go wrong?

I took a lot away from Mike and his delivery of his content might be best of conference if, there was such an award. There wasn’t. We have a new site to play with after all this pebblely.com, and more to think about over a cuppa like, your websites page speed is important to Uncle Google and his cousin Google Analytics 4 is upon us and it’s overly complicated and there will be no apologies so, get in the boat and row.

Thankfully we had a lunch break after that and everyone needed some respite to digest the mornings content. This conference isn’t catered so you’re on your own for nourishment unless you can function off bowls of mentos. There’s a few spots around to explore but not for long.

6. Briana Graydon | Pinkcow Social

People drip slowly back in to the main room for the afternoon sessions. Briana Graydon from Pinkcow Social settles our nerves on managing multiple social media accounts. Scheduling posts going out over different networks at different times with slightly different messaging to suit.

Did you know Instagram has saved folders? Auto-responders for FAQ’s? Many of us didn’t. You can organise assets and content easily and neatly. The biggest takeaway if you’re a social schedulite is skedsocial.com, the Instagram-first social media management platform. Looks useful.

7. James ‘Jimmy’ Mitchell | MyOnlineGuy.com.au

No one was prepared for James ‘Jimmy’ Mitchell from myonlineguy.com.au who hit us all with a very real and vulnerable presentation. Scaling an Agency is hard.

Failure carries tangible consequences, inflicts excruciating anguish, and serves as a formidable educator, particularly when it comes to navigating the aftermath of a business venture gone awry and coping with its profound impact on one’s psyche.

He shared his journey. His mistakes, and how it broke him. Striped it back and built it up again and gave us all the learnings gleamed from the journey. Saying yes to every job is bad. Processes evolve. A broken business is heart-breaking and had more impact on him than his time in an active war zone when serving in the Navy. This particular talk hit me very hard. Relatable.

Providing value with no expectation of return showed humility and a genuine expertise of the subject matter and garnered trust. Personalised Loom videos for clients is something recently made for me and I loved it.

Gorilla Marketing works for his business. His supped up GTR with a branded wrap brought attention and clients. Lead nurturing is important.

Create staging sites as templates for new clients coming onboard is a great prep idea before service. RPA – Robotic Process Automation of things that can be automated is the way, see UI Path. This hit me personally so I clapped the loudest.

8. Jessica Scholz | Ringier

The final presentation of the day was delivered as smoking vapour on dry-ice by Jessica Scholz, group CMO at Swiss media giant, Ringier. It was like a gong was being periodically bashed to ring in the message.

Gong… Google has been lying to us. Gong… Search Console Reporting isn’t actionable. Gong… Google always takes position zero. Gong… Google is encroaching and the end game is they won’t ever send users to our websites, they want them for themselves. Gong… Somebody hold me.

Jessica was a particularly memorable presenter. She stood out for her bold, confrontational approach. While her delivery may have been jarring, it served as a crucial wake-up call, highlighting the harsh reality that we’re dealing with Goliaths and they don’t even see us as people. We are data points – that’s all. And she’s right.

Solution. ‘Content is your product’ so, work on it. See Google Merchant Centre if you’re in eComm and, be on it. Google Publisher Centre, be on it. Google Travel, be on it. The Google Eco-System of products to take advantage of is enormous and then, Bard AI is coming to the frey.

Regarding your website; make it crawlable, fix your robots.txt asap. Block any pages you don’t want crawled, immediately. Have an indexing strategy. Your efficacy score is the time between crawls. Cloudflare is as good as we expect it to be. Validate and fix all errors. XML sitemaps are real and tangible things we must take seriously.

Day 1 Wrap

The day was full of valuable information. Varied. So varied. The people. Their fields. Their persons. All different and I loved it. Real world everything. Raw.

I don’t drink anymore but I could see the need for alcohol filling the room. Fortunately this was anticipated and there is a drinks and networking session across the road at The Bridge. I wonder if an event called ‘Digital Marketers Australia Conference’ should be in other places in Australia and not just Melbourne. I have a lemonade and retire.

Would I go again? Yeah, I still have Day 2 to write up.


URL: Digital Marketers Australia Conference
Where: Amora Hotel Riverwalk Melbourne
Address: 649 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121
Date: Thursday March 16 & Friday March 17, 2023
Sponsors: GrowthLabs / ahrefs / Active Campaign

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Written by : Digital Crew