What an amazing week this has been at Social Media Marketing World! I moderated a session on corporate blogging with Justin Levy and Waynette Tubbs. Justin leads the charge at Citrix for their social and content strategies, and Waynette leads the help of SAS content strategy efforts. Two amazing people that are running enormous strategies efficiently and practically.
Since I moderated, I had to keep quiet and stick to questions that explored the strategies that both organizations deployed to grow their business efforts. It may have been a first for me :). So the spotlight was on Justin and Waynette… and while they worked at two totally different corporations, there were a ton of similarities to the policies, plans, processes and measurement they had put in place.
Most refreshing was that they didn't sound like the average Social Media speaker. They didn't say goofy things about writing what you love, find your niche, just do it nor other hippy and theoretical crap that only works within the pages of a best-selling social media book and in the mind of its creator.
As this industry matures, I'm starting to really see some separation between the knowledge, experience and insight of social media marketing leaders. I believe they fall into 3 buckets:
- Practitioners – speakers that share insight as to their own personal efforts for developing, executing and testing social media campaigns in order to keep their company profitable and growing. Justin and Waynette are great examples, as well as many of the agency leaders in the space.
- Theorists – these are the guys that make up new marketing terms, write books and speak on theories that have never or rarely been tested. They make a great income on book sales, speeches and some corporate consulting. At times they innovate and provide new perspectives on the existing problems – but often the advice they supply is just plain fluff.
- Vendors – while agencies also benefit from speaking and sharing how they're improving client results, they don't try to win over or sell an audience member by crafting the message around a specific platform. The problem with vendors is that they're all fighting for budget from each other and they all believe they're the center of the universe. If you own an SEO platform, SEO is the answer. If you own a Social Media platform, Social Media is the answer. If you own an email platform, email is the answer.
There was a solid balance of the three buckets at Social Media Marketing World and I truly feel privileged to be a speaker who has been included multiple times. I get a bit frustrated, though, at some events where I see buckets #2 and #3 overloaded. I know I'm biased because we're practitioners… but as I speak to the attendees, the response is always consistently the same… how do I implement these strategies.
Attendees aren't attending a conference without an investment… airfare, hotel, tickets, food… that's a good investment for most attendees. It's critical that they leave the conference with the information they need to advance their program forward. I'm glad the folks at Social Media Examiner had such balance in their tracks – if you sign up for a virtual ticket, you'll get the information you need! Not all the sessions did… but more than enough to make it worthwhile!
I find myself skipping buckets 2 and 3 and scheduling my own attendance around bucket 1.