For what it's worth - I will be posting a great deal on the Word of Mouth Marketing Conference I just returned from. The official title, for those who haven't been following, was WOMBAT: Word of Mouth Basic Training. You can read the comments and postings of a whole lot of others, on the WOMBAT site.
I have a LOT to say, most of it complimentary, some of it critical - in a helpful way, I hope. Nonetheless, the first thing I want to say is that this was an outstanding event. Not so much because there was a lot to be learned, and I did learn a lot. But, more for the in-the-hall meetings and conversations. I know a lot of people say that's always the best part of any conference - the out of session meetings. But, I felt it more here. I saw more people connecting, I connected with more people, and the entire two days buzzed with excitement in ways I've not experienced before.
At some point I will report on my group presentation with Terri Whitesel (terrific lady: smart and very businesslike, but open and approachable at dinner) and Kevin Burke (the quintessential new millennium guy - tall, confident, friendly, and warm. Reminded me of my brother.) That report will wait, since I have so much else to say. Important impressions on the entire event and on specific sessions.
My goal is to post comments here over the next week or so, while I work on a Top 10 Benefits of Attending WOMBAT podcast, featuring yours truly. Following my Top 10 Benefits, there will be a Top 10 Wishes for the Next WOMBAT, because I wish they'd done a few things differently.
Overall, I did get to meet and shake hands with Steve Rubel of Micro-Persuasion. He sat next to me during one of the keynotes. I was a bit intimidated (who? me?) mostly because he was live blogging, and making it seem like child's play. But, I gathered my wits and my courage and I introduced myself. Here's the thing - Steve is a pretty intense guy (at least he appears that way - so stern, concentrating on the speakers, as if the rest of the room is invisible) but when he accepted my palm in a handshake, his face broke out into the friendliest smile I've ever seen. I wonder if he realizes how terrific that smile is? Suddenly, he went from stuffy to spectacular.
I wish I could have had a chat with him but he was off...before I could say much more than my name. Oh, he did take a picture of my WebBrowser pin, complete with web and spider. But, I don't see it on his blog. Awww.
Steve has a blog post on "Sound Advice on Corporate Blogging" in which he notes some "awesome advice":
- maintain a consistent tone
- have strong and newsworthy content
- disclose intentions and sources
- post frequent updates
- deal with comments
- keep innovating
Sorry, Steve, and David Binkowski (of Blogworks )but that's so...old news. Yes, I know a lot of folks still don't 'get it'...but, I expected better from you.
Still, a quick click over to David's blog shows advice from Steve, which is more on target:
1. Find - Seek out conversations online / identify your influencer online evangelists. Technorati's a great place to start.
2. Listen - What are they saying about you? Be an active listener. Steve touched on a company's higher holy calling (see: white bread & kids health) Formulate your strategy for step 3 here.
3. Engage - Pretty self explanatory -- launch that blog!
4. Empower - Use the blogosphere to empower your evangelists to tell stories.
That's the advice I give all my blog clients. They all need hand-holding to accomplish it, but when the lightbulb finally goes on in their heads...wow! Riches lie at their feet! Meanwhile, how many more times do we [bloggers] have to say this...before the rest of the net gets it??
In the marketing to women space, online or off, I can report that a lot of speakers talked big. Whether they meant to do so or not, I noted dozens of instances where the gender being discussed was "her" or "she" ... indicating a recognition of the power of a woman's purse. And, I was mildly surprised by the constant reference to 'kids'...not from a Mom's viewpoint, nor from a Dad's. It was encouraging to just hear men going into long talks on marketing, buzz, business, ROI, and other stuff and throwing out comments about kids. Your kids. My kids. The neighbor's kids. Just the acknowledgement that kids rule.
Quick take-away: the ladies rooms had more than a dozen stalls, and I still had to wait in line! That's a compliment to Andy Sernovitz - there were a lot of women at this conference, women speakers and attendees, and I personally didn't mind waiting in line. Disney didn't skimp on the ladies' rooms...Andy just attracted too many of us! If you weren't there - you missed something fantastic. Plan to be there next time.
More to come...oh, I can't sign off without saying thanks to John Moore of Brand Autopsy and Josh Hallett of the Hyku Blog, two extraordinary men who should be elected to office, if you ask me. Even if you don't ask me. Only thing is...though we could use men like this in politics, we're really better served having them where they are - in the blogosphere, blogging their fingers off.
Cheers for now. There's lots to come. BUT...I've neglected other, important information that I will report on in the morning. Word of mouth in action...stay tuned.