I've just sat through two days of meetings, presentations, case studies and drinks with some of the smartest minds in advertising, marketing and new media. The venue was the Conversation Marketing Summit hosted by Federated Media.
All things considered, it was a good event and I hope they have it again next year. I think my time was well spent there -- as both new media advocate and traditional online advertising agency guy. Yes, I did learn a few things. But I think what I got most out of the event was validation. No, not of me. Validation of where I've been watching this industry go.
If you follow me on Twitter, you received a lot of information as it happened, as I was using Twitter as my note taking and retention device. It makes a good repository, for sure. But there were times when the internet connection was being taxed by all the other people trying to access the webbernets, so you missed somethings. Like:
- The Jawbone headset is really freaking cool and I so want one. Johnny Vulkan! (Coolest name, EVAR!) I need a hookup!
70% of all of thew views of Ask a Ninja come from their "back catalog". What does that mean? There is value in archived content. Those interested in monetizing content would be well served to have a solution for this. I don't think it's hard-embedded ads.
Embedding video from sources like YouTube and Lulu TV is cool, but what gets cooler is when someone develops technology that lets us embed the video from 1:12 to 1:56 of a five-minute video. That's coming.
But the biggest takeaway, for me, was this: we're early. It is very true that conversations are happening, have been happening and will continue to happen about brands, products and services around the net. It's true also that smart companies will find ways to leverage those conversations -- and that can mean many things -- to their advantage. But that is hard, and it doesn't scale for shit. Trust me. I heard that message over and over again. And it needs to. I'm thinking a lot about scale as of late.
Is conversational marketing the next gold rush? I honestly cannot say. Yes, some companies and firms will find ways to make money. And just like the gold rush of the mid-1800s, most of those companies and firms will make the picks and the shovels used in the mining process. But unlike the gold rush of old, we're talking about a currency of reputation and the ever-changing nature of "consumer conversations"... and people generally hate being talked to as "consumers".
Sorry that I don't have an easy answer for your or a solid point of view on how you should point yourself, your agency or your media property. I'm just not sure we have the right questions yet.
Photo credits: Me, in the SFO airport around 6:00 tonight.