You would think social media would come easy for a conference company, at the end of the day we are in the business of networking and information sharing…right? Don’t get me wrong, we have some amazing marketers at IQPC, who are doing some amazing things in social media and online marketing in general. But it’s not easy… nothing worth doing ever is!
The challenge is not doing it, it’s when to do it, it’s how to do it, it’s who should do it, it’s how often do you do it, it’s who should measure it, it’s how to measure it, it’s how to cost it, it’s how can my event become an overnight viral web sensation…… It’s a BIG question. And let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here! We have to find ways to integrate this new ‘conversation’ into the customers’ experience.
Seth Godin put it nicely in his blog post, Magic beans, TV and the web, which I have pinned on my wall, which says:
Marketing online takes too much measurement, patience, creativity, technical knowledge, flexibility, speed and authenticity. It requires too much thinking and not enough going out for dinner with clients.
I also believe as Drucker once said, “Managers may believe that industry structures are ordained by the good Lord, but they can – and often do change over night”. The Conference business is changing, Marketing is changing… and the process of change is never easy, especially with complex business models. Just look at this great post on the notion of complex business models and change by Clay Shirky, it’s a long post, but well worth the journey.
For IQPC, we have started tackling this challenge in multiple ways:
- Launching our own online communities, like; www.sixsigmaiq.com, www.customermanagementiq.com, www.ssonetwork.com and others. We have staffed these teams with online marketing specialists and industry knowledge.
- We have also started hiring more specialised skill sets in search, analytics, content creation, and web development
- We also work with numerous external solution providers
- We are active on lots of existing social networks in our key topic areas
- We share lot’s of information and case studies, frantically, like a torrent of information sharing
- We listen, we watch, we learn, we practice…. repeat.
The goals for us is to “Add more value than you can capture“, expanding the customer experience beyond the conference to offer a blended learning and networking experience that helps our delegates and sponsors exceed their objectives.
It’s a lofty goal, but the progress to date has been phenomenal. “The Future is here it’s just not evenly distributed”.