Monthly Archives: November 2009

Why the Visceral Reaction to Questioning Social Media?

I have no conclusion

I just thought it would be interesting to start the conversation and hear from each of you SM devotees (oh, how social media of me!).

They didn’t call your baby ugly

This was sparked by an excellent post by Ines.  There were several fantastic responses, and some interesting reactions where folks seemed put off that someone dared to call BS on SM activities and predicting it will die out as a fad.  To the point of questioning the intelligence of the person with the opinion. 

I recall another post questioning broad stroke advice on SM that got some interesting feedback.  But, opinions are like noses.  Everyone’s got one. 

I’m not saying I agree with the author of the article Ines sited.  In fact, I think it’s reckless for anyone to make broad sweeping absolute statements, particularly with no data.  Again, opinions and noses. 

One hypothesis

Do SM devotees feel almost part of a cult?  Not a cult as in “The Hale-Bopp comet is coming, grab your Nikes, put your money in your pocket, eat the pudding and wash it down with vodka” type of cult.

Instead the sort of cult that is purposefully and specifically built by brands, such as Apple or Harley Davidson (I wrote a post about it here) – that makes people believe they are part of a small tribe with a unique common dominator the masses just don’t possess.  AKA – the “cool kids club”.

For now, I’m neutral.  Since there does not yet exist any absolute hard data that proves to me that it’s a highly impactful tool for agents.  Before you kill the messenger with that statement, continue reading.

What I mean is hardcore analytics.  Not “I got three listings from FaceBook in the last six weeks”.  While that’s certainly a measurable output, it doesn’t take all necessary contributing factors into account when measuring success to an agent.

For example, per Heather Rankin’s comment in Ines’ post, it sounds like she’s got a corner on her local market (yay, Heather) so the density of population and agent SM users could be a factor and measure.

Having said that, nor is there any data to the contrary – that it’s ineffective, or less effective than other measures.  So, I’m neutral. 

A second hypothesis

Nobody likes to make mistakes or errors in judgment.   And when we do, we don’t want to feel worse than we already do if we’ve discovered it.  It’s too much a hit to our pride.  While questioning social media isn’t outright saying a misstep has been taken, it’s implying a poor choice was made.

Read the rest here

THE REMIX: Are You Paying Unqualified Experts?

I wrote a post, and you (insert liked or hated) it

Last week I wrote a post suggesting a social media service provider should possess marketing acumen. 

While I stand behind that, I thought it interesting that several people pointed out that all marketing types aren’t suited for social media.  On this point I agree.  So I’d like to dive a bit deeper and share more of my thoughts, fwiw.

I stumbled upon this quote from Scott Monty, who heads Ford’s SM program, and thought  it relevant:

“Let’s not kid ourselves.  Using social media as part of your marketing mix is far more than recruiting some über-connected individual who can bring attention to your brand. It starts with crafting a strategy and understanding what your business objectives are.  And it means never, ever taking your eye off the customer and doing what matters – providing value to them. After all, isn’t that what you’re in business for?”

Two points I zeroed in on: 1) That social media is part of marketing and 2) There are skill sets required beyond the ability to amass followers.

So, if it’s a marketing program, doesn’t it make sense to have a person with some marketing background head the program?  Or, at the very least contain the overall program within the marketing department?   

Once upon a time ….

“Interactive” agencies were born – from a need.  I remember those times well, and (as a marketing leader) it was a hassle to hire two separate agencies for what – IMO – needed to be integrated efforts.

I had each whispering their specific agenda into my ear, albeit with good intentions, but their viewpoint was decidedly one-sided.  They weren’t thinking around the sum total of all efforts/programs.  My job was to look at the bigger picture:  The overarching strategy, how these executables supported my company’s strategic imperatives, and how I benchmark and measure each.

I was caught in a tug-o-war between experts in their particular, specific fields.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I needed experts.  However, if the web shop had more “traditional” brand strategy experience (and appreciated its magnitude), or my agency had web capabilities it would have made my life easier.  

Fast forward to smart “traditional” agencies that, foreseeing the coming paradigm shift, staffed up with the specialized talent (creative, strategic and techie) to offer all services under one roof.   (Can you imagine any agency now failing to offer web development?)  

Now, while a plethora of specialty shops (agencies or consultants) exist, be it by industry- or discipline-specific, for the most part the great divide of “traditional” vs. interactive is arguably lessened.

See where I’m going? 

No matter the offering (creative services, social media, product development, user experience, etc.) a strategic roadmap must exist.

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Conferences Should be about Education, not Profit


Associations, I’m talking to you…

I hope all event planners for industry conferences read this, as IMHO it’s time for some real change around association events.  Specifically, the focus should be solely as an educational opportunity to enrich members, as opposed to a profit center.

This week I was fortunate to be among a small group (~300) invited to the Distressed Servicing 2009 Conference was developed and presented by EuroCatalyst and Housing Wire. 

The event‘s theme was to challenge best practices in debt servicing and the U.S. Impact on Global Mortgage Markets.

Their tag line was “You Will Never View the Industry the Same Way Again.”  That’s an understatement.  Additionally, I will also never view conferences the same way again.

That’s all I can tell you.  Seriously.

The organizers brought together C-Level (COB, CEO, COO, etc), high-level executives from across the servicing value chain (and around the globe), economists, GSEs and others for a series of peer-to-peer, brutally candid conversations lasting two days.  The concept was to foster open, candid sharing and panelists were asked (and answered) challenging questions. 

Interestingly, to encourage open discussion, ensure confidentiality and privacy, thus alleviating the need to stay “on message”, everyone was asked to sign a No Media policy.  No taping, tweeting, writing, blogging etc. about the specific content or attributing quotes to anyone.

Associations, I challenge you!

I understand the need to make money.  I do.  I’m all about profit.  That said do your members really want to attend events where they get more value from networking than the sessions? 

Have you ever had 300+ heavyweights, CEOs, etc. arrive at 8:00am and sit in a conference room, engrossed in every single session for 8 straight hours? 

“This is the first time I’ve actually learned something at a conference.”

Big associations and conference organizers – are you listening?  What a shame for your events that this sentiment was echoed again and again at this event.  

Commented Toni Moss    , CEO of EuroCatalyst in the July issue of HousingWire

“We wanted to do something different by focusing on interaction, education and entertainment – particularly because networking is needed to become more sophisticated rather than drinking in bars and hallways; we had the challenge of educating an audience of extremely senior people who did not feel the need for education; and we find most conferences void of content so we thought we’d provide more color and commentary by editorializing through music and art.” 

Provide value, they will come!

And, they will pay handsomely for the privilege.  The key word here is value, in addition to perspective.  This was not a fluffy event.  No economists sharing flowery predictions of a hockey stick home price index magically appearing over the next two years.   No blame storming, not too much time checking the rear view mirror.  Just true grit discussion on moving forward, what that could look like and potential impacts for future generations.

Another fantastic feature at the event was the “Twitter-esque” audience interaction.  Each table had a laptop where the audience could anonymously ask panelists questions, make comments, sneer, jeer and engage one another on the topic at hand.  And, periodically the rolling dialog would be projected on the screens be it for a good laugh or an intriguing comment.

Predictions of failure


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