I was inspired by the WOMMA wrapup post made by John Bell, and thought I'd liberally copy his idea, and some of his conclusions, after attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit last week. He opines that 1. Big Brands are sounding serious about social media/word of mouth marketing; 2. There really is a difference between a historically ad-centric view and a public relations view of social media; 3. Value metrics are moving from incidental to explicit; and 4. A community of practitioners is priceless.
This was the fourth or fifth WOMMA Summit I've attended, and I have to say, this year there was more of an urgency to hit the ground running. Nearly all of the presentations were focused on best practices, where in past years, there were a lot of sessions focused on theory, general frameworks, and lessons learned from campaigns that weren't all that successful.
GOOD NEWS: The tools are out there, the agencies are getting up to speed, the customers want to hear from brands, and the "new" way of marketing is becoming the "regular" way of marketing.
The industry is seeing a dramatic shift, from one of a handful of enthusasts who were trying to figure things out in the "Social Networking" space, to one now where corporations and agencies alike are managing real, fully-integrated marketing campaigns that incorporate traditional marketing (advertising, web, PR, CRM) with WOM, or at least what they might call "social networking."
It has become not so much a matter of "if," but "how" companies are going to integtrate their Social Networking/Social Media/Digital Marketing strategies into a comprehensive, Integrated Marketing Plan.
That's not to say there aren't plenty of obsticals. Budgets are tight. Convincing some CMO's to divert "tried and true" dollars to Social Media still requires some education, and finding the right agency, one that has people on board that can walk the walk, can be tricky.
Check out the overview of the Summit, if you didn't get to attend. And if your company/firm is still not a member of WOMMA, look into joining. You may find one idea that will be the spark for a successful comapaign, and you'll be surrounded by people like yourself, who are looking for ways to make your brand more "talkable."
Disclosure: I sit on the Board of Directors for WOMMA, a fully unpaid/uncompensated role.