the grass is greener on the internet

Selling in the trenches
August 27, 2009, 10:36 pm
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Despite the cynicism I often display on this blog about AMI’s Marketing Week, you know that I love to go to these things. I didn’t have as much time this year to go to events as I would have liked, but here’s one Gen Y’s take on the conference…

Things I learnt:

I did two sessions; one on ABC’s ‘New Media Story’ (which is not likely to make one of SBS’s six billion and counting) and a marketing perspective of the opportunities for Australian businesses in China.

Honestly? You learn just as much by talking to other conference delegates as you do from the presentations.

As soon as someone mentions the word ‘networking’ at these events there’s a temptation to pitchorditch and  you can tell when you’ve been automatically assigned to the ‘useless’ pile. It can be enough to put you off your piquant lemon curd tart.

Well, either I only met great people or by the third day nobody wanted to pitch anymore, because I had some great conversations and learnt a lot about different aspects of the industry.

I confess to some minor pitching, but only in a relevant sense.

I notice that most of the people I talked to were in professional services, and most wanted to know more about new/social media. Which is a pity, because…

The sessions:

…mostly concerned marketing in a recession. There were 2 or 3 touching on new media.

The ‘ABC new media story’ was just that – a story. Good to get an overall picture of their activities on Facebook, Twitter, their own website etc. but a little lighter on rationale and strategies. Given the existing consumer base for their products, when they provide an avenue for interaction online they don’t seem to need to do much to gain user involvement.

Disturbing but popular

Disturbing but a huge social media star, with over 67,000 friends on myspace

Fun fact: The internet is the preferred source for information and opinions, but TV still reigns for news and entertainment (although the margin is decreasing).

I hear that another session went into a few further tactics for using Twitter, but generally confusion still reigned.

The session on ‘Doing business in China’ by Viveca Chan of WE marketing had a great overview of the Chinese market and communication strategies specific to Australian companies. Very interesting ride and if you can get a copy of the presentation, do.

The conference:

I hadn’t realised that the Army Reserves were involved, which explains the cavalier invitation design. The idea that marketers are leading the charge to economic recovery like Australian soldiers in World War I makes artistic sense to me.

However my impression is that the metaphor was lost on a few, and it can be a little disconcerting to be summoned for a session with a horn call, being surrounded by cammo, sandbags and guns. Just saying.

I still get confused as to why the conference is run in the middle of the red light district, but as always the running was smooth and the service excellent, so no complaints here.

Less people than last year, I think, and more young professionals.

Would like to see…

More Tweets! The #marketingweek hashtag has been getting some amusing traffic but is also showing the lack of Tweeps around here…would have loved a real-time screen for Tweets which might encourage a few more to look into it instead of just shrugging, so maybe we’ll see it next year…


9 Comments so far
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Katherine, thanks for your summary as I’m keenly interested the apparent lack of serious interest at AMI in social media, or let’s just say social media marketing as at least a relevant subset. I have my own self-interest, but that aside it seems remarkable that all other things put aside so few of the attendees have any form of social media presence during the event. There are about 8 or 10 “present” including yourself, but half ot those, like me, at not at the event. It’s hard to teach someone how to ride a bike if you have not ridden one yourself – meaning are these marketing thoughleaders at the conference leading or following?

Walter Adamson @g2m
Social Media Academy, Australia

Comment by Walter Adamson

I’m a little disappointed too at the dearth of tweeters in the room yesterday. I also think Malcom’s ‘twat’ joke was a tip of the hat to boomer types who just don’t get it (the types who were late adopters of email and probably still see blogging as frivolous) that twitter is some kind of fad, rather than am effective communication tool.

I might mull over this and write a post later. Props to you for actually getting some dialogue going.

Comment by Drew

I wasn’t in that session but from the hashtag it doesn’t look like there were many tweeters out and about. Think there’s enough for a social media meet-up though? Sydney’s got one, Melbourne’s got one, even Newcastle’s got one…

Comment by katherineliew

Great blog post, and good suggestion re the twitter screen. We had the hashtag stream up on our telly most of the time but it would be good to have a more prominent feed – will pass on the suggestion to the folks at AMI who sort such things. Cheers.

Comment by Jason Neave

The Via Media screen was great, had a chat to Rob about it. But I think an official feed would encourage more people to Tweet about the conference, increasing PR reach – big plus for them!

Comment by katherineliew

Considering the impact of social media on marketing (not just sales or campaigns) I was certainly surprised at the lack of engagement with social media by conference participants, so there is an opportunity to go forward on this. Consider just two issues, for example:
– How social media killed branding?
– From my brand to everyone’s brand

Those are just two of the big issues which marketers need to debate.

Walter Adamson
Social Media Academy, Australia

Comment by Walter Adamson

From my brand or your brand to everyone’s brand…

There’s a lot of interesting and thought-provoking discussion about “who owns brands” being stimulated by the impact of social media. For example from Beth Harte of MarketingProfs: If you’ve hung out in social media circles long enough, I am sure yo…

Trackback by Walter Adamson

Given the impact on so many aspects of marketing and brand I was surprised to see the very low level of engagement in social media from the conference participants.
– Walter @g2m

Comment by Walter Adamson

Nice round up, I think people mainly go to conferences to meet other professionals, the type content means people know the type of audience that will go. Must admit I never can find the time for these things… Nice post.

Comment by Nextbrett

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