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Top 5 from WOMM-U

May 18th, 2008 No comments

There is an advantage in the tardiness to this wrap up post from WOMM-U in Miami: the following highlights have already stood the test of staying with me for a full week , these are observations that have at least held up through a full week of work, media consumption, deep thoughts and Twitter. As a tribute to WOMMA’s always-useful Daily Five newsletter, I thought I’d use that construct for the wrap up.

Highlights from WOMMA’s WOMM-University in Miami:

1. New Format: WOMMU was the trial run of a new event format that John Bell and I were part of hatching from previous event feedback. There were 3 types of sessions: Mainstage keynotes/case studies, 12-person working group sessions with experts, and large working groups tasked to complete a Word of Mouth Marketing plan for 1 of 3 charitable projects. Most of the feedback I heard was very positive (balanced with the fact that participating in discussions and workgroups is more tiring than being fed Powerpoint presentations), but I also had lively discussions with someone who vehemently disliked the new format. What I learned is that by enacting a radical change, we began a dialogue that no amount of theoretical “how can we improve?” questions could have elicited. Go ahead and build that strawman to get people talking.

2. Word of Mouth is “marketing’s butt crack”. Jeffrey Graham from the New York Times chose to use this particularly colorful metaphor as a tribute to the appearance of the sliver of WOMM spend as a part of the total marketing spend pie. Graham shared great data surrounding the increased return of WOMM as part of an integrated program – brands require both relationships and impressions to achieve communications goals.

3. Dell’s social media transformation story continues to grow and evolve very swiftly. An amazing 120 ideas from Ideastorm have already been put into production. Check out the very light touch of Regeneration.org. My favorite quote from Dell’s VP of Community was “Beware of Content Pushers“.

4. Carnival Cruise Lines has come a long way since Kathie Lee sang “Ain’t We Got Fun?”. The blog of Senior Cruise Director John Heald takes brand personality to the next level as does their enthusiast club named for an on-board drink specialty “The Monkey Head Wasters”. Carnival noticed that a group had formed and built them their own forum to keep in touch. Bringing customers together is powerful marketing.

5. OPI proves names contribute to WOMM. Technically, this wasn’t the point of their case study, but it was demonstrated by the women who asked questions afterwards – all of whom identified themselves by the fun OPI color they were wearing. The effort put into hatching names like “I’m Not Really a Waitress” certainly creates some brand preference.

If you missed it, check out the live blog for all the details. Hope to see you at the next WOMMA event in November!

New in Events? WOMM-U and nTag

April 23rd, 2008 No comments

What’s new in the world of conferences, you say? 2 things particularly spring to mind.

WOMMU BadgeI just finished all of my plans to attend the upcoming WOMM-U Conference in Miami, FL. There is a great list of mainstage attractions, but what makes this event different is that the 2 days will be peppered with small group working conversations with experts from various arenas – including some focused on putting WOMM to use for good.

  • Keynotes include would-be-Blogger-Socialite Joseph Jaffe, Ogilvy’s Carla Hendra and Dell’s Andy Lark.
  • Faculty include my Ogilvy PR 360 Digital Influence colleague (& newly minted author) Rohit Bhargava as well as my former manager from Dell (& dominator of all things digital marketing) – Liana Frey.
  • “WOMM in Action” sessions will bring together attendees from various different background to create a Word of Mouth action plan for the Wilderness Society and the Overton Youth Foundation.

And now, for something completely different, I want to share a casual interview that I had the pleasure of conducting with Rahul Bhargava of nTag. (Still getting used to my FLIP cam)

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/yQrOX2ju9Wg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]Rahul is a technologist who really does spend his days thinking about the future of events as we know them. I have been to a couple of events recently that have done away with the printed conference book – putting materials online. Good progress, but a baby step compared to the future that nTag is envisioning. Enjoy the video and let me know if you ever get to experience one of these in person – I clearly don’t get invited to enough sales conventions!!