The city of Austin in Texas USA was the venue for 7th ISA Marketing and Sales Summit.
Though not as many people attended as did their Water and Waste Seminar the previous week the twitter buzz was if anything twice as active. This year however the event was not tranmitted simultaneously over the net so those unlucky enough not to attend had to rely on a fairly steady flow of tweets from attendees to keep up with things. I’ll try and give a virtual flavour of the event as it appeared to somebody seven hours or so ahead of all the action!
It seemed to run fairly much in line with the previously published programme.
The first day started with a call to the lobby of the venue for a tour of the local TECO/Westinghouse Wind Turbines facility. There was little tweeting on that but from what little there was it appeared to go swimmingly (Are we mixing metaphors or something here?).
The afternoon was spent in pre-summit details setting up booths and registration and workshops including Jon DiPietro presenting on “How Not To Suck at Social Media”
The summit started off with an evening panel entitled, “Best Practices from the Social Trenches” which was moderated by that pioneering Social Trench fighter, Emerson’s Jim Cahill. There were some great contributions like ISA’s Juliann Grant, “tend your social media like a garden to cultivate,” or Larry O’Brien (Fieldbus Foundation) who made a conscious decision to not have a Facebook presence. “The blog is the center of our strategy.” Deirdre Walsh of Jive Software said “I would argue about Facebook… but it depends on your business objectives and making the social media work toward it. Integrate the organization to maximize social media engagement.”
When Deirdre drew on her experience in National Instruments she was reassuring. “It’s okay to try something and kill it. I put NI and Labview on MySpace. How silly is that now?”
“We talk about social media but is it possible for business to really participate as social or is it just another form of advertising?” “…via Twitter, is it only advertising? Answer, not necessarily. Engagement is a key.”“How do you make Twitter relevant?” “Use hashtags and Search correctly, and remember that tweets are temporary.” Also “One key marketing use is listening.” A tweet which said “The half-life of a tweet is about four hours.” struck a chord though this is being written referring back through tweets three days ago! In short, “Three rules from FTC: be honest, have a social media policy and training, and correct mistakes.” (Not sure what FTC is but the ideas are good – see the contribution later on TLCs -3 letter acronyms!)
Day two started with an introduction and a included an address by Jim Keaveney, ISA’s treasurer in what Control’s Walt Boyes described a “ruthlessly honest fashion” on their operational picture “which has changed dramatically over past 4 years.”
The keynote was given by another speaker from Emerson, (There were three speakers from this company and their contributions were commented on by Jim Cahill in his blog “Connecting Process Manufacturers and Automation Suppliers”) . Jane Lansing is Vice President of Marketing for Emerson. She shared her view of Plantlandia during the opening Keynote session of the Summit.
Again the tweets are illuminationg. “We live in Marketingdom and our customers live in Plantlandia.” So it appears that there is a possible disjointedness there! “We speak marketing-speak and our customers speak plantlandese. We don’t go home at night and operate a chemical plant.” “Plantlandites do NOT understand TLAs (three letter acronyms!) They are a terrible disease in our industry! “ “We need to do a better job to meet and communicate with our customers where they are…vs where we are!” There are other problems like where the market is and how marketing and how the customer accesses information has changed in the last thirty years.
Marketers must be sensitive to the fact that our young/new customers need plain language copy. “They don’t know last generation’s tribal language!” Mature industrial control markets will be eclipsed by emerging markets by 2017 she maintains. And she said lots more…
This keynote was followed by a networking break and a brek-out session. The flow of tweets lessened during these breaks and became slightly disjointed as they came from different threads! There were some interesting contributions though. “Automation marketers hesitant to embrace Twitter. Think of it as your own headline broadcast service 4 any content you create” And this from Gary Mintchell of Automation World, “Marketers still searching for nirvanna of community. Reminds me of AOL in 1993.” (AOL=America On-Line an early ubiquitous giant in the early days of the internet!).
What story are you telling about your products!
The third speaker from Emerson was Mike Boudreaux. He was on deck to talk about storytelling in sales and marketing and he proved to be a very entertaining speaker. Indeed one delegate was moved to tweet, “When was last time you laughed and cried in one presentation? @MikeBoudreaux rocks storytelling.” He showed “how to talk to lizard, mammal and human brains using funny and heartbreaking commercials as examples.” “Message, Plot, Conflict, Character, these are the keys to good marketing stories. “ Emotion-packed, compelling stories make the best sell in any marketing context. He used the marketing excercise of PlantWeb to illustrate his points. (OK he’s biased but it is his experience being used to illustrate what he is trying to say!).
• Mike has published his presentation on SlideShare: What story are you telling about your products!
A fascinating tweet was that Joel Don (of Comm Strategies) promises to give us an ironclad ROI formula for social media. (another TLA – ROI=Return on Investment!) but the subsequent tweets seemed not to tell us any more though he himself did have one or two gems including this one which is often overlooked: “Social media is not a strategy. It is a communications tool.” Serendipitously I came across Seth Godin’s blog the next morning where he wrote about the case of marketing failure by Progressive Insurance, “Corporations are not people,” which failure, Joel later told me, was used as an example in his presentation.
“Most product data gen’d by prod mgrs lives in excel and is disconnected from everything -not helping any one said” from Radhika Subramanian of Emcien and Kate Laneve of NCR, talking about the big data challenge of Transforming the Sales Approach From Reactive Selling to Demand Shaping.
Kyoko Fukuda of Yokogawa spoke about marketing after an Earthquake disaster.
Day three had a roundtable chaired by Walt Boyes on “Distribution” and there were presentations by Shari Worthington (Telesian Technologies), who delivered electronically from New England as she was uanble to attend in Austin, and Doug Brock, from Chattanooga (Like most Europeans we are amazed that there is really such a place, though we suspect that the Choo Choo may have reached the end of the line!), who spoke on “Five steps to an integrated sales & marketing plan incorporating social media.”
This latter was tabulated by tweet, though the tweeters stopped enumerating them after number three! “First listen and survey the realm; Second step: map your course; Third: create consensus so everyone follows same game plan; Consistency: use an editorial calendar & avoid irregular shotgun approach; When day is done, figure out what works & what doesn’t.”
While all this was going on Shari was delivering her “My Search Marketing Update.” “What gets a website in trouble? High % of duplicate content, low amount original content” “More site trouble: inappro ads dont match search queries, page content & title tags dont match queries, unnatural language.”
At this stage it was obvious that people were trying to follow both presentations and this led to the cry “Next year don’t schedule @doug_Brock and @sharilee at #isams in the same timeslot. Both are great presenters!”
This was followed by a “Speed dating” session with 25 mins on each subject ” Social Media, Sales, and Voice of the Customer.” I’m not to sure how that was organised but it looks like it was an effective way of sharing information.
The meeting finalised with a lunchtime buffet and a keynote (if that’s not too formal a name for it!) from the irripressible, incorrigible and incomperable Dick Morley who spoke on Moneyball Marketing – whatever that is but I do know it was instructive and entertaining and held everybody so enthralled, Indeed somebody commented that to tweet it would be “Like tweeting a super ball path. RT @garymintchell: You can’t tweet a Dick Morley talk. Maybe he’ll be back next year in New Orleans.”
There were many other tweets a which I haven’t covered. It is to be hoped that the presentations will be made available on line and if and when they are we will put a link to them here. Here is the facebook page for the M&S Summit!
Apologies for the disjointed nature of this posting but hopefully readers will get a general flavour of the exciting event and perhaps tempt him or her to arrange to attend the Eight Marketing & Sales Summit wich is scheduled for New Orleans in 11-13th September 2012.
Finally Jim Cahill shared a little cartoon strip. I think he was being humorous, but could it be that there is a message for sombody here?