Saturday, October 14, 2006

Catching up: The MIMA Summitt

I meant to say a few words about the time I spent at the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association annual summit at the beginning fo the month.

I cannot recommend highly enough that if you are a social media developer, marketer, consultant or evangelist you get out there and speak at such events. I've been to South Carolina and Minneapolis recently. Soon I'm going to DC and Omaha.

Let me tell you what I learn when I get out of Silicon Valley physically (and the Silicon Valley mentality mentally.)

-There is huge opportunity in our industry because the adoption rate is still quite low. I hate to disagree with many of my esteemed colleagues, but we are not at a tipping point (not if you mean a tipping point to general or mass adoption or spread...which is what Gladwell was talking about.) The vast majority of people in our own marketing business do not blog, are not immediately tasked with starting blogs, do not do much outreach to bloggers etc.

If Pew is correct that nearly 40% of online Americans are reading blogs, then I say either a) they're not business folks or b) they don't know that what they're reading are specifically blogs.

-Curiosity abounds, but fear gnaws away at that curiosity and keeps companies from simply trying different things. Fear and a lack of understanding of the commitments (time, money, human resources) that they'd have to make to give this new world of tools a try. nearly every question I (and other speakers) get asked is fear-based. And it's not just that people are afraid of losing control of their message, which is the assumption of many blogvangelists that I read. They're afraid of real-live negative business outcomes.

And who are we to tell them they shouldn't be? Who do we think we are?

You know, these MIMA folks, and others like them in other parts of the country and world, are doing way cooler things with traditional online programs than I am. They know their stuff in a myriad of ways. They certainly don't deserve to be patronized for asking rational business questions.

Getting out to these events makes me very excited for BlogHer Business '07. Because people are eager to learn. And every time I sit down with any group of curious business folks...I learn too! Get yourselves out there with people who aren't already bought into the value of social media in their everyday business endeavors. It's a great way to figure out why you're so convinced.

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