Interviews With Sree Sreenivasan on Live Video and Philipp Westermeyer on GAFA.

We talk with Sree, the former CDO of NYC, about how to "take your audience someplace special." Then we sit down with Philipp, Founder of OMR, to talk about how the "Big Four" tech companies are affecting marketers.
Maxwell Gollin
Maxwell Gollin
September 24, 2018 - 5 min. read

Sree Sreenivasan: LIVE! Lessons From Going Live Around the World

Sree Sreenivasan is the co-founder of digital consulting firm Digimentors and the former CDO of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Museum, and Columbia University. And best of all, he’s coming to Spark in Copenhagen on November 14 to share his knowledge about optimizing live video on social media.

We were lucky enough to chat with Sree before the conference and get some of his insights on the value of live video content and how marketers can use it as part of their social media strategy:

Q: On the subject of your upcoming keynote speech at Spark, LIVE! Lessons from Going Live Around the World, I wanted to ask a few questions about live video content—a topic you seem to be very passionate about. After all, you’ve shared over 500 live videos! So I’m curious, what made you first fall in love with this medium?

Sree: I believe the ability to easily go live on your social networks on your phone is the biggest advance in digital media in the last decade. As someone who once had a TV career, I understood the power of live appearances, whether on set or on the street. As soon as I saw Facebook Live, I got it and was in love.

Q: In your opinion, what are (or should be) the main differences between creating live video and regular video content for social media?

Sree: There are four easy ways of going live: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Each has its own rules, etiquette, grammar and style. The best way to take advantage of your live videos is making sure you are taking your audience someplace special: unique locations, people or experiences win the day.

sree sreenivasan live video social media spark

Sree Sreenivasan says the key to making successful live videos is highlighting unique people, places, and experiences.

Q: Many social media strategists are recommending live video as a way to boost reach and engagement on organic social. What do you see as the main benefits of going live on social media for brands and organizations?

Sree: In a sea of video content, live videos are still rare and special when done right. The platforms are favoring live content and using various tricks to alert more people on the network that you are live. All of this helps you stand out and reach more people. On Nov. 14, I will share my best tips for optimizing your live videos.

Q: Social media managers and digital marketers at smaller organizations often say they don’t have the resources or time to experiment with live video. What would you say to them?

Sree: Social media takes time, energy, dedication and, increasingly, the ability to pay & play. All of these are problems for smaller orgs and nonprofits. But there are several cheap and inexpensive ways to build an audience and reach it in smart ways by going live.

Q: Finally, when it comes to going live, it can be pretty scary. Do you have any rituals to calm your nerves before going live?

Sree: My broadcast writing coach, Mervin Block ( always taught us, ‘Better an hour early than a minute late.” That’s great advice for the world for social live, too. If you show up early, scout the location, test the tech and prep your post in advance, you won’t have time to be nervous!

Philipp Westermeyer: Winning in Times of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA)

Philipp Westermeyer is the Founder of Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR), a platform that connects and informs marketers in Germany and around the world. He also hosts one of Germany’s biggest podcasts, OMR Podcast, with over 20,000 regular listeners. Oh, and he’ll be at Spark this November delivering a keynote on how digital marketers can succeed in the era of Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon (GAFA).

We got to ask Philipp some questions on OMR, GAFA, the GDPR, and a bunch of other acronyms:

Q: You’re the founder of Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR), a top platform for digital marketers both in Germany and around the world. Why did you start OMR and how have you seen it evolve over the past decade?

Philipp: I started OMR as a hobby. I wanted to do something more content-oriented and creative while working in the media industry. My previous companies that I started work in were very quantitative and tech-oriented.

Q: Through OMR, you get to meet all sorts of entrepreneurs working on new tech and marketers working for big tech, so I’m curious: what technologies are you most excited about in the martech space right now?

Philipp: There are so many. It is such a huge space. So many things evolving. It goes all the way to the new and exciting tools that we employ at OMR—Pipedrive, If This Than That (IFTTT) or the big players that I invest the most in such as Adobe and Hubspot.

Q: A lot of people think of digital marketing and only focus on tech behemoths like Google and Facebook. Is there a digital marketing channel that you think is underused or underrated?

Philipp: Yes, definitely. In terms of big platforms, probably Amazon. In terms of smaller platforms, I’m a huge believer in podcasts as a medium and a marketing channel.

philipp westermeyer omr podcast spark

Philipp Westermeyer of OMR sees podcasts as an underrated marketing channel.

Q: At Spark, you’ll be giving a masterclass entitled “Winning in Times of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA).” In a broad sense, do you think the dominance of the big four (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) is a positive thing for digital marketers?

Philipp: It is really difficult to answer the question from a general perspective. There are companies that only strive for the Big Four. On the other side, there are traditional businesses that struggle with adapting to these platforms. Another perspective, of course, is from a civic or from a social standpoint: that these companies’ impact on society in general is unclear at the moment and needs to be shaped in a positive way. So I guess it really depends on how you look at it.

Q: The EU has taken several steps in recent years to regulate these huge tech companies, from the right to be forgotten to the recent implementation of the GDPR. In your opinion, what impact has the GDPR had on digital marketers, and do you think it’s likely the EU will pass stricter regulations in the future?

Philipp: I think the GDPR regulation is impacting regional and national players more than global players. I’m not sure this was the intention of the EU. I’m certain that we’ll see further developments in the whole digital marketing and legal system, just because the space is changing constantly. 

Thanks for the awesome insights, Sree and Philipp—we can’t wait to hear more at Spark! ⚡️