Marketing Lessons from Converge South

Last week I attended the ConvergeSouth Blogger Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. This gathering of technology professionals, personal bloggers and business marketers had a decidedly political tone to it. Many bloggers are charged up over the upcoming election and are using Social Media to get their message out and connect with like-minded people. This is the core of Social Media, but the same principles apply to business marketing.

You start with a goal that you would like to reach, whether it is more sales, more customers, greater brand awareness, and you develop a strategy to reach it. Blogging is a tool that can help you reach your goal. It is just another form of communicating, according to keynote speaker Chris Rabb. The first blogger was Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet Common Sense advocated independence from England. Another form of proto-blogging was the use of quilt patterns to guide people through the Underground Railroad.

As the day progressed, there was lot of talk about the coming revolutions in Social Media. The biggest Social Media sites, MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn, were compared by speaker Anil Dash, to the days of the big three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS for you kids). These companies have too much control over our web experience and how people interact with their own data and information. Revolutions will occur from both the inside and the outside. Technology changes and improvements will allow people to control their information across the web. At the same time, people will demand more control, and get that control by going to other sites.

The lesson for business marketers is to understand your target audience. If you don’t give your customers what they want, they will not be your customers for long. In the early stages of a customer relationship, many things are overlooked, but as time passes, it is critical to provide exactly what customers need. If you can’t do it, your competitor is waiting in the wings.

And finally, internet superstar Robert Scoble spoke about how video can enhance the content of any web site. It is easy to get started with simple tools, but make sure you can record good audio. People will suffer through bad video if they can hear what is being said. And like with any business marketing campaign, the key is to have a plan. If you start a project without knowing where you are going, it is difficult to get there.

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Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen