Discussing “What’s Next” in online marketing with Dream Local Digital’s Shannon Kinney

This is the fifth in my series of interviews with folks who will be speaking at the BDN What’s Next Conference. Check out my talks with Spose, Anthony Ronzio, Patrick Roche and Amanda O’Brien.

Shannon Kinney is the Founder and CEO of Dream Local Digital. She has more than 15 years of experience in the development of successful Internet products, sales, and marketing strategies. Kinney has worked on the teams that developed successful Internet brands and more than 60 online media properties for newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. She is an expert in the field of online marketing and social media and she is one of MaineBiz’s Women to Watch in 2013. 

Tell me a bit about your company. What needs are you meeting that other companies are not?

Dream Local Digital helps small businesses manage their online marketing so they can manage their businesses. We also specialize in helping media companies, ad agencies, web development firms and more expand their product line so that they can offer more solutions to their advertisers and clients. For the traditional media sector in particular, they are experiencing a huge shift in revenue to mobile and digital products, and we assist them in achieving growth in those areas. We’ve worked with thousands of small businesses through workshops throughout North America, and we have run hundreds of campaigns, strategy development, design and execution for clients. In terms of what space we specialize in, really it’s content marketing. We help businesses tell their story and then use tools like e-mail, social media, blogs, video, search engines and more to get that story out there.

You are moderating the Social Media, Marketing, and Personal Branding Panel with Amanda O’Brien and Spose. What of their accomplishments makes you most excited for their panel?

Amanda is amazing and like me has been in this space for some time. I love her insights on the evolving space, trends, and how it is changing the landscape of marketing. Spose does an awesome job building in audience engagement – getting people to feel like they are part of the experience and that kind of strategy can spread your message virally. Both are going to have a LOT to say about how to engage and build community which will be two common themes throughout the What’s Next conference.

You have a decade and a half of experience in this arena, and have worked with some substantial brands and online properties. What emerging trends have been the most game-changing over the past five years?

For me, I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, a lot of platforms blossom and fade, but one thing that never changes is the need to focus on the user experience and connecting with your audience. And, helping them find what they’re looking for faster, making their lives easier. Today we’re helping small businesses leverage what traditionally only larger businesses could in terms of truly connecting with potential customers and really create an amazing experience through that connection. Helping businesses tell their story, but also to listen, is a very powerful opportunity today particularly through social media. We help small – medium businesses and also large-scale media companies, and every day we’re making one of those connections it’s an amazing experience.

What in the arena is happening today that excites you most about the work that you do?

I love seeing a client’s face light up when we really move the dial for them – help them sell more of their product or service, better service their customers, reach new people. Many businesses today don’t realize the power of online marketing to do that. We’re working directly with Twitter to build in even more opportunities to listen and respond in real time and will be rolling that out to our clients later this month which is really exciting for me, and we are launching a suite of new video opportunities for many of our clients this month that are fantastic. We have one client that we’ve used as a test, and when I saw the piece that told a story about his business I literally cried. Such a powerful medium.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.