As some of you may know, I attended a digital marketing conference, Dx3 Canada, this past two days at the Metro Convention Center in Toronto. I haven’t really been to many conferences before, always opting to stay at work and watch the Twitter stream of information rather than being there in person – but Dx3 was an exception. Here are some highlights from this exceptional event:
I spent the majority of my time perusing the trade show floor, checking out what all the exhibitors had to offer – and I was pleased for the most part. There were some standout exhibitors that had eye catching booths, and others that had a plethora of information and talented sales and marketing people available to speak. I started by checking out the Sysomos booth, where their knowledgeable account managers provided me a demo of the platform. Having never seen it live before, it was refreshing to see the power of the tool. I didn’t feel like I was being sold, rather being educated by Jordan about the platforms capabilities. As many of you know, I am a strong evangelist for their competitor, Radian6, but depending on your needs (and your budget) Sysomos is a highly capable social media monitoring and analytics tool.
The cotton candy was marvelous at the Payfirma booth, and information plentiful. An interesting company that provides mobile payment solutions – if that is something you need. I was also very excited to get a free copy of Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki at ‘The Art of Marketing’s booth (TAOM is a conference also being held at the Convention Center in Toronto March 5th).
After filling a bag with free branded swag and collecting and giving out too many business cards to count – I headed to my first session. I was particularly excited for this because I have always thought of Mitch Joel as a thought leader, and had yet to see him speak in person. The session was appropriately titled Your Relationships are Unmanageable, Welcome to Social CRM.
Mitch (and his co-pilot at the session, Frank Falcone) had some tweetable moments, especially when comparing social CRM to highschool sex – it feels good but you don’t really know what you’re doing. He also had some very relevant points to keep in mind and things that resonate with all of us. Customers never want to be another line in your Excel spreadsheet, nor just another record in your CRM database – what we’re missing is the human element. Social media platforms are, at their foundation, human. They facilitate conversation between human beings, be they behind personal accounts or behind a brand – and CRM is anti-human, it’s automation. Your relationships are unmanageable because you’re not managing your relationships. B2B and B2C are dead, we’re in an age of Person to Person (P2P) business and we truly need to adapt to that. I believe I took a lot away from this session, and it’s hard not to with Mitch at the wheel.
I then headed to Dave Fleet‘s session on communicating with bloggers & influencers. My favorite point from Dave’s presentation was something I preach quite often: You cannot discredit someone based on the volume of followers, readers, fans, viewers they have. Those 228 Twitter followers could all be huge tech journalists and major bloggers. Influence is not a score based on the size of your audience, it is a measure of your authority in the decision making process of others. He also stressed that the way we used to use media relations has changed drastically – and the communications industry as a whole is not adapting appropriately. Dave focused on understanding who you’re talking to more than anything, understanding these people rather than just sending out blind pitches with no relationship to warrant any kind of response. A great presentation overall.
I didn’t attend many sessions on the second day of the conference – just one, and I didn’t care for it enough to speak about it now (it didn’t make the highlights reel). I turned on my networking switch and hit the trade show floor again, speaking to companies like Kijiji, divine.ca, Radian6, Creative Niche, Techlightenment, Atum, etc. and to be honest I had a blast doing it. BNotions, a development shop in Toronto probably had the coolest space on the floor (a wrestling ring full of developers building a product). I met a lot of great people and made some potential business connections and I must say the trade show was an excellent addition to learning.
I want to formally extend my thanks to Soshal Group, a true social strategy agency here in Ottawa that focuses on driving actual results – whether it’s revenue, decreasing operational costs, providing direction, and insights. They were my hosts for the two days, graciously putting up with my feet hurting for wearing pretty yet totally insensible shoes, and educating me on what it’s like for an agency in this industry. As a disclaimer – I went to school with Dave Hale, their CEO and consider him to be a friend, however, he has a head on his shoulders and delivers results beyond the fluff that most agencies will provide you with, along with his partners Phil Sonea and Japman Bajaj (and their awesome interns Justin and Asako).
All in all, I had a great experience at Dx3, representing Corel, and will definitely be attending next year!