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> Solutions Are Power :: Getting A Whole New Marketing Experience From Chris Brogan & Friends
post Apr 19 2010, 06:42 AM
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(IMG:http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2788/4520726017_416dbb743e_m.jpg) One of the premiere conferences focused on inbound marketing was held in San Francisco on April 13 – the New Marketing Experience. Formerly known as the Inbound Marketing Summit, the event was organized by Chris Brogan and his New Marketing Labs troupe. I wrote about the event that took place last year and it was two days of non-stop presenters giving presentations or panel talks about issues affecting inbound marketing. This year, it was consolidated into one day and seemed to focus on a set of core issues that plagued marketers in getting people to do business with them. Amazingly there were a lot more people who represented companies that did business to business in the room than there appeared to be those that focused on business to consumer transactions. Nevertheless, the topics presented were relevant for any business.

Held at Fort Mason, the New Marketing Experience was Brogan’s attempt to pass along this concept of the “One Big Idea” which seemed to involve having people share with others an idea that would be huge or important to others to reach customers. No, this wasn’t a pitch session or an attempt at being entrepreneurial and the big idea could be practically anything. With that being the theme of the day, the conference got underway with sessions and 30 minutes in a “deep dive” session. These “deep dive” sessions were meant to include the audience and have them interact with the speakers and panelists to find out more about the topic being presented so that they could better understand it. In fact, you could consider it a very intense Q&A session. In all the conferences that I have attended, typically there isn’t any time for people to address questions on stage and even if they do, it’s merely only one or two that they can choose from. However, in these “deep dives”, Brogan has virtually assured attendees that their questions WILL be asked and answered.

(IMG:http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4070/4518443103_442e4b17e9_m.jpg) So we get started with the first panel moderated by New Marketing Lab’s Chief Operating Officer, Colin Brower with Brogan and Scott Albro, CEO of Focus talking about the digital bridge and how you can align your stakeholders to support social media. After that, we moved onto metrics and analytics and understanding the adoption of the Internet across the United States and what it meant for businesses trying to reach out to customers.  This presentation was filled with statistics and insights that I wrote about in my other blog post here on Network Solutions. In perhaps the only real case study presented, Nicole Goodyear, the CEO and founder of Brickfish, showed us client work that was produced on behalf of Coach. It was a real eye-opener on the power of the social web and the results that it generated – through their crowdsourcing and efforts to let customers make Coach bag purchasing “their own”, this campaign garnered over 6 million customer engagements with 3200 entries posted on over 8000 URLs across the major networks including Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and myYearbook. Proof that social media works in inbound marketing, right?

(IMG:http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4036/4519086082_9a30f2d282_m.jpg) We then moved more into traditional sales, or so we may have thought. On the contrary, this was Sales 2.0 where we brought back the human side of selling. With a panel of successful salespeople, the audience was told what social media and the web could do to help facilitate the face-to-face interaction that has helped to close so many deals. In fact, the main message shared here was that you needed to go to where the customers are and contact them how they want to be contacted – if they give you a phone number and you don’t like using the phone, then suck it up and dial the number – it’s for their convenience. The theme of being human also extended to the next panel on experiential marketing where we learned how the real way to get in touch with customers is a cyclical pattern – from live face-to-face to mobile and then to online, and starts all over again. It’s become a bit of an alternative reality.

After understanding the statistics and trends of the general public with respect to the web, we moved to understanding the process of meeting the people. Now we need to delve a bit deeper into figuring out just how can we encourage them to keep coming back and learning where they are getting their information – it’s no longer from just your website. Don’t ever assume that your website is the place frequented by your customers. In fact, look at some of the curation tools out there that your customers would use to find out what’s really important in their lives. By putting together relevant content that reaches them, you have a better shot at being seen and heard.  And what better way to reach out to your customers than by looking at email marketing – sometimes under-represented at social media conferences. Email marketing is still an invaluable tool and, when done right, can be a huge advantage to your company. There are definitely some pitfalls to avoid, but the strengths of helping tie everything together and being an appealing teaser in someone’s inbox can really be a good tool to have in your arsenal.

(IMG:http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2767/4520728805_93918e8a5f_m.jpg) Just finding where your customers are and then throwing interesting content their way is still just not enough. While you’re good at that, when people look at you, who do they see? Is it someone interesting or just another boring salesperson who they don’t give a darn about? In a session run by Brian Solis, author of the new book Engage and principal founder of FutureWorks PR, he taught the audience how to look at their brand and show how human it could be and what other ways you can give your brand a voice and get it out there to engage/communicate with the customers.  But while you’re doing that, don’t also forget to listen…the last panel at the New Marketing Experience focused on teaching us how to listen and analyze what was being said. It’s important to have a well-rounded system in place that shows that you’ve done your research, understand the landscape and can now go out and talk effectively while measuring its success.

Overall, I rather liked the New Marketing Experience because it wasn’t just piecemeal advice. On the contrary, Brogan and his team did an excellent job showing the attendees a process that they could take to build their big idea. Each of the sessions and panels took us one step closer to establishing protocol and understanding the path that we’d need to take in order to facilitate communication and get more people interested in our business.

More New Marketing Experience conferences are being planned in two more cities in the United States – Dallas and Chicago. Another related conference, the Inbound Marketing Summit will be in Boston as well. You don’t want to miss it.

Photo credit: Kenneth Yeung

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