Today I’ll be live-blogging a panel discussion that includes David Crabtree, one of the news anchors from WRAL, Phil Zachary, the President of Curtis Media, Chris Baysden a reporter at the Triangle Business Journal and our own Vice President of Social Media, Morgan Siem.
Setting up now, no good wifi so that’s disappointing, but God bless my personal wifi hotspot! First thing I notice is that Chris Baysden brought a stack of business cards that is at least 4 inches high – I love a guy with confidence. Phil Zachary is talking radio with Chris on the side.
Good crowd here, about 50 people and here we go…
Oooo, neat a weird guy just ran in and did some ad hoc Rebecca bashing before being whisked away, it was really weird. I thought it was going to be something about “interruption marketing” but I guess it was real.
David Crabtree is up first. “If all you want is publicity, buy advertising.” Reminds the crowd that what WRAL is looking for is stories that move people, not stories that are designed to push your brand. He says that a business that is super successful isn’t enough, he wants to know what that company is going to do with those profits.
Authenticity is what David likes to see. He talks about a video about a dog named ricochet. Nobody seems to know what he’s talking about. The dog taught people how to surf – even a quadriplegic. He talks about a study that came out recently that said men tell 6 lies a day and women tell 3/day. Why is that? He says he wants a story where a company lowers it price so that more people can afford your product during tough economic times.
Chris Baysden is next up. First he does a background dump on his company and all of it’s tentacles including newspapers and magazines all over the country. They want a weeks notice on stories that get pitched and they like “hard” news stories best. That was quick… 3 minutes and done.
Next is Phil Zachary from Curtis Media. He asks if Rebecca actually wants to put him before “this poor woman”. It’s obvious he’s never seen Morgan work a room.
Phil needs a white board for his presentation. Rebecca gives him a big intro about how he helped her many years ago get started. Phil is speaking without a mic, which I always like. He says he does not speak about marketing any more, so this is a one off event for him.
Phil says he subscribes to the idea that there are 3 types of people in marketing: Innovators, Imitators and Idiots. He mentions the book Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. Think of your mind as a series of ladders. What you buy and where you buy it are all different ladders. Wal-Mart wasn’t even an available ladder for him 5 years ago, now he not only has a ladder but Wal-Mart is at the top for many commodity products like soap, tissues and dog food. Then other things snuck in like english muffins and even some produce.
He goes on to tell the story of Anheiser-Busch and Sam Adams and how Sam Adams could never get up the domestic beer ladder, so they build their own “micro-brew” ladder.
The basic question is: How are you different than your competitors? If you can’t answer that, what the hell are you doing in business. Good story of the blind house painter. In the end, the moral of the story is if you’re at the bottom of the ladder it’s awfully expensive to move up up – so a better idea is to create your own ladder.
Groupon is hot. Groupon is a life preserver for some small businesses, but for most it is just putting off the end of a business that can’t figure out how to attract customers normally.
Hooray, Morgan’s up now!
Is social media worth it? It depends on what you do with it!
Use social media tools to do what you need to do more efficiently. Social media is a great way to inspire people. You can spread a message of what you stand for and what you believe in.
Morgan uses her personal story of jumping on the St. Baldrick’s head shaving bandwagon to talk about looking at what’s possible rather than only looking at limitations.
It’s Q & A time!
First question is for Morgan: Social Media – how do you separate personal from business on the social media platforms?
Answer: It’s all about being authentic and true to yourself. So everyone draws their own line there. Every track you leave on the Internet becomes one of your brand assets.
Do you have to be connected 24/7? Phil says no, in fact not being connected can sometimes work as a differentiator. He relates a story of being at an event where many in the audience were checking email on their phones instead of listening to the speaker. He goes on to say you would never open real paper mail in your seat while at an event and try to pass it off as if you were still paying attention.
How do you use social media to increase business? Rebecca mentions Google alerts. Chris says only put a sale or contest on one platform. The problem with that is that information doesn’t stay in just one platform anymore.
Morgan finally takes control and answers it with real data and use cases. The truth is that the answer to that question could be an entire 2 hour presentation all by itself.
Next question is “How do you know who to trust when everyone is selling you?” Morgan answers by saying – don’t trust anyone. Ask what they can do for you among your network and see what they say.
What is the most effective in radio? Is it a remote or what? Phil answers – quality creative. If you hear gas is on sale for 99 cents across the street – you will act on it because it grabbed you. That’s an ad you don’t need to repeat 20 times for the person to pay attention to.
Question about blogging. What’s success can blogging lead to? It can provide answers to questions.
Next question is about doing a non-religious inspirational minute type of thing on a local radio station. Phil says that they’ve done stuff like that and are currently doing it now. He says that just start at the top by asking.
College student asks a question about how would she leverage social media to start getting better internships or jobs? Morgan grabs this one and says follow who you want to connect with them. Phil says, call them on the phone directly.
Question about is social media productive? Phil says that big deals are not done on social media.
That may be true, but most people in the room are not the president of the largest media conglomerate in Carolina and need a way to connect with people so they can get to the point where the big deals are possible. In my case, my current job was offered and accepted over Twitter – now it’s not a 9 figure deal like Phil Zachary was talking about, but it was a big deal for me!
One of the best parts of attending an event like this is having an opportunity to meet new people. Two stand out to me from this morning, one was Jennifer Kingman who runs Viamark Advertising. After Morgan mentioned that she was shaving her head for St. Baldricks, Jennifer stood up and emphasized how awesome it was and how it is also a really big differentiator. I had a chance to talk with Jennifer after and she is smart, beautiful and has very short hair.
Second was Woody Howard from New View Photography. Woody was the photographer for the event but came over after to talk with Morgan about how to get more traction for his stunning 360 degree photography business.
My final suggestion for future events would be to give it a more “new media” feel. Wireless access and a Twitter hashtag would have been 2 simple additions that would have helped spread the word about the event.