DJ Edgerton, CEO and co-founder of Zemoga

In an exclusive interview DJ Edgerton, CEO and co-founder of Zemoga, talks about the most exciting things taking place right now in the digital world. He also shares some insights, social media marketing tips and much more. Enjoy!

PromotionWorld: Would you tell us a few words about yourself and your professional background? How did you get into the digital sector?

DJ Edgerton: After graduating from Pratt with a BFA, I started my career as an Art Director at Saatachi & Saatchi and K&B in NY. I quickly identified that digital was the future - first with print design through apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, then the advent of the Internet had me designing for the web as early as 1995. I started my first firm called Underline in 1992, sold it in 2000, and started Zemoga and its unique service proposition with Alejandro Gomez in 2002.

PromotionWorld:What distinguishes Zemoga from the other digital media agencies and what keeps you ahead of the competition?

DJ Edgerton: We have a unique delivery model that provides our clients with leading digital innovation and execution services from Bogota, Colombia, a country that has an unmatched talent pool for Latin America. 95% of our clients are US firms. We currently have 140 employees in Bogota,

15 in the USA. Our constant commitment to innovation keeps us ahead of our competition. We have a dedicated team of creative and technology professionals whose sole job is to create and innovate new and exciting products and services.  We play an active role in the industry, providing thought leadership across several verticals, including CPG, eCommerce, Healthcare, Automotive and Media & Entertainment. Our innovation work has won multiple awards and been featured in forward-thinking  reports and research papers.

PromotionWorld: What do you consider progressive or unique about Zemoga’s offerings and services? Which of the services you offer are most popular among your customers?

DJ Edgerton: Our "Innovation Lab" provides a collection of proprietary processes that allow us to identify for customers unique points of opportunity and differentiation. We build on these innovations through discovery, definition, and deployment of digital solutions that drive revenue and bring real business results for our clients. Our recent activity in social media for clients like Sears, Pfizer, Continental Airlines and TED Conferences has taken advantage of this approach. Innovation in social media is a very hot space for us right now, especially in healthcare.

PromotionWorld: What might be the most impressive changes and improvements that have taken place at Zemoga over the last year or two?

DJ Edgerton: We made a substantial investment in our process and our staff. We provide advanced active training for leading technologies that are just beginning to be deployed. Making this a real part of our corporate DNA has done two very important things for us: it has attracted the best and the brightest talent in both Latin America and the US, and has gained the attention of the marketplace. A second area that we have worked on is reinforcing an entrepreneurial culture where employees are encouraged to create unique ideas - if they are good, and have roll out potential, we will fund the build ourselves, versus waiting for a customer to sponsor it. The Health Tweeder is a great example of this.

PromotionWorld: In your opinion, what are the two most exciting things taking place right now in the digital world?

DJ Edgerton: The leveraging of social media platforms to create meaningful two-way dialogues with customers has reinvented the way consumers and brands interact with each other. The challenge is remaining relevant in a very crowded world of messaging. Consumers are now dictating the terms through which they willing to be marketed to...we are helping our clients  identify, navigate and leverage this new paradigm.

PromotionWorld: What is the next trend on the horizon that marketers need to prepare for?

The digitization of EVERYTHING. From coupons to CRM, the way consumers will interact will be completely through the web and the quickly advancing and expanding world of iTV. Custom configuration is also a major trend, as people look to create "original" products that help them stand out amongst their peers. Brands that offer more variety, and the ease to configure to "my needs" will get the lion's share of consumer attention online. The adoption curve for consumers making purchases online is almost at its apex. When it does become the de facto norm, the majority of purchases will occur online. I see a day when the auto delaer becomes a thing of the past and people configure their cars completely custom online. The car is delivered to the specification, and they have 48 hours to test and accept. The cost savings between the risk of returns and the cost of maintaining a network of dealerships will be obvious. Besides some "flagship" dealerships in major markets, Main Street will become the new showroom.

PromotionWorld: What's different in the formula for creating successful products/campaigns in the digital space?

DJ Edgerton: The 4 C's: Content, Commerce, Community and Convenience.

The content of the program must be relevant, fresh and more often than not, entertaining.

Commerce must be the ultimate option. The days of brochureware driving people in-store are over.

Community is essential, in Social Media especially. It is a powerful part of the human condition and can be leveraged when done right.

Allowing people to participate in a community feeds that need of belonging and acceptance. Whether it is reading a user-generated product review, or looking to their Social network for dress recommendations through Facebook, community is part of the social currency that we all trade. Marketers who help create that sense of community can bring their audience engagement and loyalty to a much higher level.

Convenience begets loyalty because you save the most precious of personal non-renewable resources: time. Make it easy for the consumer to interact and transact and they will come back again and again.

Heck, if you do some of the thinking and work for them (through recommendations and bundling) they will be all the more delighted. We have seen this work time and time again.

PromotionWorld: How do you see the relationship between client and their marketing and advertising agencies evolving in the coming years?

DJ Edgerton: A strong lean towards collaboration of multiple firms. Technology changes so rapidly that large holding companies can't retain the talent that lives on the edge. Digital innovation talent follows the least point of resistance, something larger "full service" firms have mounds of. I see a trend of "specialists" working in open collaboration for the greater good of the end client.

PromotionWorld: Who do you see as doing digital and social media well now?

DJ Edgerton: On the consumer side, Pepsi and the work that Bonin Bough and Shiv Singh have done is great. Pepsi Refresh, among other programs, is very engaging and has exceeded many expectations.

In healthcare, Johnson & Johnson and the work of Marc Monseau through Twitter and their blog have had a major impact on creating a sense of real trust with consumers and patients. Trust is something that the space lacks greatly. J&J's efforts are real attempts to connect with consumers on a very human level through Social Media.

PromotionWorld: What are some of the shifts in marketing driven by social media trends that organizations need to address?

DJ Edgerton: There must be clear guidelines for organizations to follow; otherwise, they run the risk of rouge messaging and muddled interaction and efforts across an organization.

Do not ignore the conversation that is happening now...and it is.

Listen first, assess, and put into action a plan that addresses consumer needs first. If the bean counters dictate the investment value and expect immediate measurable ROI, then you'll find yourself limited in what you can do to be effective, and the conversation will happen without you. And that can be devastating for a brand.

PromotionWorld: How do you stay on top of trends in digital marketing?

DJ Edgerton: I am an active participant. I follow influentials whose opinions I respect and who have proven themselves and do great work for their clients. This includes Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott and Jonathan Richman.

I attend industry events and innovation summits across the world, and my team leads do as well. Nothing keeps us motivated more then discovery.

PromotionWorld: Could you share with PromotionWorld’s readers some tips on what they should take into consideration when planning an online marketing campaign?

DJ Edgerton: Good planning is essential. An online campaign has multiple facets and complexities that go beyond anything in traditional media. If the planning is weak, the likelihood of both program and technology errors occur.

Make people laugh, or cry. We have found that the programs that either tickle the funny bone or tug on the heart strings are the most effective.

Let them contribute. There is a world of content creators that are more then willing to be a large part of your campaign. It is these approaches that tend to have the greatest viral success, as people love sharing their participation in "The Community."

Choose the right partner and do your due diligence. It's easy for the less educated purchaser of digital services to get duped. Successful interactive firms need to know more than what HTML stands for. I suggest considering the membership of SoDA. The Society of Digital Agencies is a collection of industry thought leaders with a mission to advance the industry through best practices, education and advocacy.

Membership includes the worlds leading firms and Zemoga is a proud member.