It seems that one of my early morning questions at the OMMA Social conference yesterday prompted advice that merited a mention by MediaPost. As a business and marketing strategy consultant, I work with clients that range in size from $1MM in revenue to multi-billions. From "Not for Tourists," Campfire and ning to Time Inc., Pillsbury and Scripps Networks. And I work with organizations that are completely immersed in the newest, most bleeding edge innovations to those who are thinking about developing their first digital strategy or figuring out how to translate their print assets to an online environment.
When I attend conferences such as those sponsored by OMMA, CEA and iBreakfast, I am in a world where Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, hash marks, retweeting, and hyper-localization are part of every day discussion. Then I meet with a client in the financial services industry who reminds me that employees of large financial institutions can not access any of these tools while at work due to compliance regulations and Blackberry servers. And I work with another client who feels strongly that the people using these tools and websites are not her core Baby Boomer consumers.
So, how do you bridge that gap? To what extent should we recommend that marketers and publishers who are new to the Internet, let alone social media, focus on these high-impact but low-penetration tools. Twitter has 18MM monthly uniques - with 10% of users creating 90% of content, and there are 17-18MM iPhones worldwide (each is about 6% of the U.S. population) with relatively low median ages - though not as low as you might think.
Well, I've had success with some of my own approaches, but I was interested to ask panelists at the OMMA Social conference this question. And my early morning question to the participants of the panel "Creating an Authentic Brand Dialogue Using Social Media" warranted coverage by MediaPost's Joe Mandese (which I discovered via my daily Google Alert):
"How To Convince Clients To Embrace Social Media: Try Search.
That was the advice Ro Choy, Chief Revenue Officer, RockYou , gave Karen Levine of Triple Play Consulting, when she asked the OMMA authentic panel how she could convince some traditional clients to embrace social media.
Another way to drive that is to do a search for Twitter on your product, Choy said, noting that those clients would see plenty of conversations about their brand taking place on Twitter, and then they could decide for themselves whether they need to be proactive about it or not.
Choy said he recently conducted exercises like that for the Snickers brand, and for the term cat food, and found plenty of discussions taking place that were ripe for social media marketing and sponsorships."
Well, after I heard this very powerful response, I proceeded to Twitter and ran a search on "Harvard Club," which I then forwarded to the head of the Program Committee of the club. Why? Because I wanted him to know that Twitter is not only relevant to Iranian politics but to the members (especially the young members) of the club.
This evening I will have more than 100 members coming to hear Shelly Palmer speak about social media. Some of those members needed to call the Program office to learn how to log onto the new website to make a reservation. Others were born squarely into the digital generation. In fact, this particular program is prompting members to bring their 20-something children to the event, which will lower the median age significantly. I am very curious to see how Shelly addresses this broad set of skills, understanding and objectives, but have little doubt that he will do so successfully.