Monday, November 14, 2005

Can Any Good Marketing Come Out of Utah? Redux

The November 10th meeting of Utah's Marketing Exec Forum offers glimmers of social media marketing hope for Utah-based companies...

I meant to post this last Friday, but my post (and the ensuing discourse) on 'synthetic transparency' consumed my blogging bandwidth for the day. Here's hoping 'better late than never' is a truism.

Lest we come to the conclusion the high-water mark for marketing in Utah was achieved by this year's Utah State Fair 'Napoleon Dynamite' campaign, the November 10th meeting of Utah's Marketing Exec Forum on 'Social Media' was attended by around 40 of some of Utah's finest marketers.

Mentioned in my October 20th post, Marketing Executive Forum co-founder Cydni Tetro, and her employer NextPage, hosted the event at their corporate headquarters.

Suw Charman, author of the popular blog Strange Attractor, addressed MEF attendees via a combination of Apple iChat video and Skype audio from an undisclosed location in England.

Charman's comments were audience appropriate (no small feat when working remotely) and provided an excellent primer on ways organizations can start to make use of 'social media' including corporate blogging and Podcasting (audio and video).

I talked with a couple of attendees after the event, and had some interesting discussion. Highlights of those chats included comments from Brad Hintze of CanyonBridge who said:

"Blogging is an interesting marketing phenomenon because of the conversation that it breeds rather than the message being forced to the audience. My sales experience has shown how effective one-on-one conversations are with potential buyers but logistics and traditional marketing make that conversation difficult. Blogging allows consumers to have a conversation with company representative’s and not just be passive recipients of a crafted message. In my experience that has helped me understand more thoroughly why they offer the product they do and how it will affect me in my position; more so than just reading the literature. As was emphasized [by Suw Charman], sincerity--or lack thereof--is an important part of the success/influence of the blog. That is probably going to be the most difficult part of a corporate blog, sending the corporate message without compromising sincerity."

This comment became more interesting in light of my aforementioned November 11th post about a Northeastern University professor and students in his 'Advanced Organizational Communications' course who believe corporate blogging risks serving up 'synthetic transparency.'

Cydni Tetro's comments to me were interesting, too. Tetro told me:

"I feel blogs, Podcasts and video blogs are going to change the face of marketing as we know it. Markets truly are conversations and when we can create a relationship with prospects and customers we create relationships that transcend the moment. For marketers the key to success in this market is authenticity - it is about being honest, open and committed to your market and customers. And these tools now provide us with the opportunity to reach past just ourselves for our messages."

Given that NextPage is about as invested in 'social media' as any company in Utah, she's 'walking the walk, and not just talking the talk.'

Hailing from Utah myself, I gotta love a good pioneer story!


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