Recently, the marketing executives interested in word of mouth marketing, viral marketing, social media and [insert your favorite term du jour here] met in Las Vegas to ponder the state of the industry and learn a few things about how to engage with customers more effectively.

As the years go by and this industry matures, people are getting smarter and common sense becomes more pervasive.

As I sit here on Sunday morning writing this prior to heading off to what I am sure will be another glorious Indianapolis Colts victory (sorry, had to get that in), I have reflected on the culmination of events of two weeks ago.  I purposely chose not to write about the event immediately afterwards for two reasons:

1.  I was a bit cynical.  I always am after these events.  As good as they are, we have loads of work still to do.  Still, too much focus is placed on the tactic and the tool, instead of when to use the tactic and how to engage the tool, as well as, effectively measure its effectiveness.  Strategy, program integration and business based measurement (which would hold up to the glare of any qualified COO/CFO still remains elusive).  It is better though…loads.

2.  I wanted to see what bubbled up in the echo chamber post event.  I was sort of shocked to see what I had hoped to bubble up didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, the WOMMA event set a new standard in depth, clarity and sophistication of content, as well as, crowd size and engaged users.  We are light years from where we originally began.

The the things I had hoped to see more of included:

-Multi-channel and consistency of program integration

-More focus on long term CRM driven marketing initiatives which drive profitable engagement

-Engagement beyond lead gen.  Engagement around support and feedback.

-More focus on lessons learned and mistakes, work-arounds and sustained results

More focus and attention on the new FTC guidelines.  This is a topic that a lot of marketers are glossing over and would wish they hadn’t.  For this conference, I truly wish more people had paid attention to this very real new set of guidelines….guidelines that have teeth and very real consequences if ignored.

I was thoroughly excited with a quiet little event that occured during the conference though.  One that I think will see greater visibility in the future.  Socializing Media:  The Podcast is a twice monthly show that I host with Blake Cahill of Visible Technologies, Jonathan Salem Baskin of Baskin Brand and Sean O’Driscoll of Ant’s Eye View.  Thus far on the show we have had Fortune 200 CEO’s, CMO’s, best selling authors, best-practice leaders in community management and industry leading analysts.  Furthermore, last week’s show had one of the best minds on CRM I have met in a while.  Not bad for an under-funded, cottage produced podcast.


At WOMMA, we taped the podcast from just outside the event rooms.  At any given time we had quite literally some of the best minds in the space, representing numerous disciplines, sitting around the table at the same time talking about meaty issues.  No fluff, no hype no singing to the choir.  It was an amazingly valuable discussion.  Some of those who stopped to listen into the show (live) took notes.   Most, however, missed the whole thing.  It is worth listening to or watching highlights of.

I am not going to give an executive summary here in this post, because you won’t watch or listen.  I think you should, so I won’t give you the same immediate gratification sought out by many.  As Lauren McCadney of CDW told me recently, most marketers seek the Miracle of Doneness.  Meaning the expectation of being finished quickly and easily trumps the end result of doing it right…which is usually longer and harder than most are willing to sign up for.

If you chose to sign up and listen or watch this podcast or others, and can put up with some of the technical glitches we continue to experience (hey, we are not professional podcasters), you will get something very worthwhile….insight on how to do social media, social marketing, customer engagement or whatever you want to call it better.

I hope you either watch the highlights or listen to the show.  Enjoy and maybe it’ll prompt you to come to the next WOMMA event and ask some tough questions yourself or possibly extend your social marketing efforts to be one of the best practice standards.

Steve Hershberger

Steve Hershberger