I can comfortably say "eating your own dog food" is the strangest answer I've ever received to a question. But that was Mark Wright's response to my first question when I caught up with him ahead of his presentation at Integrated Live.

Mark rose to fame in 2014, securing a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar by winning The Apprentice - a stepping stone to the creation of Climb Online, a marketing company specialising in SEO.

If you're wondering what Mark meant by that comment, it's his response to me questioning whether or not being a marketing company gives added pressure to get their own marketer spot on.

"Ultimately I am firm believer of the concept of ‘eating your own dog food," the Climb Online founder started. "[That] basically means that you should use and believe in your own product or service. As marketing agencies we should be able to deliver innovative and effective digital marketing for our own firm if this is what we claim to offer to clients."

A lot of digital marketers spend time looking into the future, coming up with predictions for how marketing will evolve in the years to come. Mark sees three key trends coming to the fore in 2017.

"With the focus in SEO moving more towards mobile we have seen a boom in AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)," he said. "AMP are slimmed down versions of pages which load super fast on mobile. Optimising your content to get it delivered to consumers as quickly as possible will be a huge focus throughout 2017.

"With more of us talking to our mobiles through Cortana, Siri or Google now and the recent launches of Google Home and Amazon Echo – optimising content to support voice search and voice delivery will grow heavily in 2017.

"No way near a done deal but rumours suggest Google will buy Twitter in 2017 if not sooner. Expect Google to integrate G+ into the social platform or the other way around. Google will also likely over time integrate Adwords into the Twitter platform."

One thing you learn from interviewing so many marketing experts is that they have a genuine love for their job and the industry. Mark explained what his favourite thing about digital marketing is: " marketers are constantly challenged by having to keep apace, with the growing and developing landscape – working hard to keep up to date with the latest social media platforms or Google algorithm changes to ensure we continue to provide an excellent service for our clients."

Climb Online focuses on search, and with the digital marketing hierarchy always changing, does it retain its importance? Mark believes so, but also expects to see PPC become more important than organic search.

"I think search still has its place, but at the same time I think that we cannot ignore Google’s growing revenue and evolving algorithms – and how as a result more and more businesses have been forced into pay-per-click advertising to stand a chance of winning new customers or converting sales online.

"In addition, I think social media advertising will continue to grow – with more and more businesses realising the return on investment that can currently be achieved at a lower cost."

As I mentioned, Mark is speaking at Integrated Live, so I asked for a sneak preview of his presentation.

"For me I have great success in building the Climb Online brand through digital marketing, as well as supporting the growth and development of other firms. My talk at Integrated Live will, therefore, focus on building a successful business through digital marketing, with a brief focus on key trends for 2017."

You can find Mark's presentation on building a business with digital marketing in the Keynote Theatre at 10:30am at Integrated Live on 17 November, but you'll have to register for your free ticket first:

Eventbrite - Integrated Live

Originally posted on Digital Marketing Magazine