WOMMA Summit Thoughts

I’m back from the WOMMA Summit, and it was a great time. As mentioned before, I was impressed with how many smart people I met. There were a ton of great presentations and honestly, I didn’t take a ton of notes about the presentations themselves. I was making notes mostly about things I was thinking of as I listened. Supposedly, I’ll be able to download the presentations soon, and then I’ll probably be posting even more.

I was on a panel with Coni from Discovery Education and Michael from the GM and the Fastlane blog. The focus was basically case studies from brands using community.

Michael mentioned that the GM blog is getting 4000-5000 visitors a day, with comment levels off the charts. 200 blogs from 45 countries are linking to it. Bob Lutz is blogging via his Blackberry, and sending it to someone to post. The vibe of the way the posts are written sometimes, that makes sense.

Interestingly, someone approached me after the panel and mentioned that I was being too humble about my community building efforts. I had tried to make the point during the panel that I’m not building community, I’m supporting community. There’s plenty of community happening already, I said. Why should I try to recreate the wheel? When I say that I “build community”, this audience especially would have assumed that I was responsible for setting up “corporate communities”.

Guy Kawasaki, not at all surprisingly, was a terrific keynote speaker. He used his typical top 10 list, so that if he sucks, you’ll know how much longer he’s going to suck (as he put it).

His 10 points (plus a bonus) about “Selling the Dream” – being an evangelist. He was completely on target, and they’re the rules I live by.

  1. Make Meaning
  2. Niche Thyself
  3. Don’t Be Paranoid
  4. Localize the Pain
  5. Let 100 flowers bloom
  6. Look for agnostics, not atheists
  7. Enable Test Drives
  8. Provide a Slippery Slope
  9. Make them feel a part of the team
  10. Don’t ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t
  11. Be a mensch

Both Ben and Jackie from Church of the Customer were terrific speakers, and great folks. Michael from GM was hilarious.  The BuzzMetrics folks were good people, each and every one impressed the hell out of me. Dave Evans from GSD&M nailed his presentation.

But Jim Nail from Forrester made me want to kiss him when he refuted the point that there should be a VP of WOM. Instead, he made the point that there should be a VP of Customer Advocacy, covering a number of areas. This would mark a significant change in company mindset, and not just taking this community/WOM thing and shove it into the mold of all other marketing programs.

The guy from Brand Autopsy was wearing a white lab coat, helping to cement his site in my mind. I don’t remember his name, but I certainly remember his site. Over on the site, there’s a great recap of the Keynote from Emanuel Rosen?s keynote. UPDATE: More on the dude in the lab coat.

If I don’t hear the term “Word-of-Mouth” for a year, I’ll be a happy man.

Dave Evans made a great great point that brands can’t outsource their WOM or viral campaigns entirely. Certainly they can get help in creating strategy and the implementation, but outsourcing the work doesn’t equate to turning over the keys to the house and leaving town. As Dave said, there WOM manager is the product brand manager.

George Silverman was a terrific speaker and a great magician. He told me at one point that he was so happy, after 35 years screaming about this idea of companies talking with consumers and putting the concepts of WOM to work, people are finally listening. If you ever run into George, convince him to do a card trick or even better, the rope trick.

More later!

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