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MARCOM 2008 Debrief

Well, it’s been a little while since my last true post, mainly because my brain has been overloaded and working overtime on absorbing all the rich information it was exposed to over the last few days. I thought I’d share some key items that I found of particular interest while attending and participating at MARCOM 2008. First of all, I’d like to thank everyone that attended my Social Media Marketing Workshop, we had a great turnout of around 40 people. I have been reading some of your wonderful testimonials and suggestions on how it can be improved in the future. One of the main aspects of the workshop that I struggle with is balancing the needs of social media newcomers with that of existing advanced users looking to develop a Social Media strategy in their organization. There has been a sudden surge of the latter within government, which is of course great, however it makes some of the newcomers feel lost and overwhelmed during discussions. It’s hard to please both crowds, after all I am a marketer and have to consider the needs of my target audience when developing any workshop. What I have decided to do for the fall season is to develop a beginner workshop and an advanced workshop and cater them to the appropriate audiences. Perhaps the advanced workshop will be further broken down into specific areas of interest within Social Media Marketing such as Social Media Monitoring, Social Media Segmentation, Social Media Press Release Development, Social Media Performance Measurement, etc…The introductory workshop on the other hand would focus on defining all the elements of social media along with providing relevant examples and case studies from the public and non profit sectors. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Ok, getting back to the topic at hand, the actual Marcom conference was very well executed and had a solid line-up of speakers in three streams: Public Sector, Non-Profit and Both. Here are some of the ones I attended along with a few items I learned (some may be slightly off topic but relevant nonetheless):

Keynote Address: Unlikely Utopia, the Surprising Success of Canadian Pluralism – Michael Adams, Environics

  • The one statistic that stood out more than any (and which I actually wrote down), was that 5% of Toronto’s population does not speak a word of English of French. What are we doing to address this? Looking at ways to accommodate these individuals as opposed to requiring them to learn at least one official language. That’s a topic for another day however…Be sure to check out Michael’s book Unlikely Utopia.

Developing a Marketing Culture in a Public Sector Organization – Denis Vezina , CEPSM

  • DFAIT has hired an individual that is solely responsible for filming trade commissioners as they travel all over the world and then turning the footage into audio and video podcasts available on the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service website. Also, SurveyMokey has now been officially approved for government use.

Marketing Research in the Public Sector : Five Key Trends that Affect Your Research – Nat Stone, PWGSC

  • All of the raw survey data from past Public Opinion Research polls is available for extrapolation and data mining free of charge at the Canadian Opinion Research Archives run by Queens University. Imagine the amount of money departments or organizations can save by leveraging what is already available rather than re-inventing the wheel each time. You can choose to use the data however you want, and make it relevant to your particular marketing research objectives (as opposed to useless statistics on the “general public”).

Applying Social Media to a Public Sector Environment – Jeff Braybrook, Treasury Board Canada Secretariat

  • This was the biggy. Presented by the man who whose team is responsible for developing the policies governing social media usage in the public sector. Bottom line: The Federal government is currently rolling out policies for internal usage of social media (e.g. Creating an internal social network application to replace GEDS and using wiki’s to create project/initiative communities). As for everybody’s main concern (i.e Social Media policies for communicating with Canadians), the CIO Branch is working as hard as possible to get these out ASAP. They want to walk before they run. Many departments are currently experimenting with social media and as a result, best practices and lessons learned are being collected. I even learned that Library and Archives Canada has bought some property on SecondLife!

Developing Effective Private Sector Partnerships

  • Anyone working in government here in Canada interested in the process of developing effective partnerships should visit PartnerNet, which is essentially a community of practice for federal public servants involved in partnering.

Integrated Marketing Communications : The new norm in public sector marketing communications – Jim Mintz, CEPSM

  • Ok, so I’m a little biased here seeing as how my boss was doing the talking, that being said Jim’s speech was a wake-up call for many in the room that were still not integrating all the various aspects/touchpoints of promotion (i.e website run by IT, brochures by communications, exhibit by marketing, etc… ) Read Jim’s Blog where he often rants on this subject.

Target Marketing: New Ways to Connect with Your Constituents – Doug Norris, Environics Analytics

  • This is by far my favorite exhibiting organization every year. I unfortunately missed this presentation since I was having an engaging discussion with someone that flew down from BC for the conference and was about to leave to catch her flight. That being said, I did talk to Environics folks beforehand and am quite familiar with their research, which I use in client strategies all the time. For all the newbies to segmentation and targeting out there, have a look at the work Environics has done segmenting Canadian Society with something they call PRISM CE Clusters.

Library and Archives Canada, CBC, A Genealogical Coup – Peter Levick, LAC

  • Fascinating presentation on the work LAC has done in terms of spurring interest in Canadians regarding their genealogical roots. Research your family history by using their Online Genealogy Search Tool!

Ushering in a New Era of Audience Development at the National Arts Centre Orchestra – Inga Petri, Strategic Moves and Vickey Marsolais, NAC

  • I was pleased to hear how the NAC managed to improve its membership rates by 13% using a classic strategic marketing approach. For starters, it had to convince the rest of the organization that marketing is not just about brochures, but rather has to be involved in all aspects of business (i.e. there are 4 P’s to marketing not 1P!).

Closing Keynote: The Complaint Free Organization: How to Transform People Who Whine into People Who Shine – Will Bowen, Author of “A Complaint Free World”

  • Great motivational talk by Oprah guest Will Bowen, who has managed to effectively spread his contagious message (i.e. why people should stop complaining) in over 90 countries around the world!

Ok, that about sums it up. I also had the privilege of hosting a few great round table discussions, which I will summarize in the near future.

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  1. Thanks very much for this summary Mike. Also thanks for your social media marketing workshop – I enjoyed it a lot. I would definitely be interested in more targeted “advanced” workshops. I have a feeling that social media monitoring especially will become an increasingly hot topic round town – as this is the logical first step for organizations who want to get their feet wet in social media. Gotta start by getting up to speed with what people are saying about you online.

  2. great summary ,

    Especially the fact that the federal government is working on a policy relating to social networking and the public.

    Was any insight offered on the platform or technology being used for the social networks that are going to be used internally? Or is the approach still to give various departments freedom to try their own approach for awhile, then use the lessons learned to come up with a larger strategy (something we are trying to advocate on a paper we are putting out on Web 2.0 government adoption

    In terms of your course, (the basic one that is) do you ever offer it in Toronto? I could think of a couple people in our firm would be interested in attending.

    Jeff Anderson

  3. Thanks Peter and Jeff!
    Jeff , in terms of the platform for internal apps, I know they are likely all going to be open-source. For example, MediaWiki wil be used for developing wiki’s. The challenge the CIO branch is facing right now is in procurement of open-source. If everybody owns it, who is going to take the time to answer mandatory government RFP’s? As for my workshop, yes I will be presenting in Toronto again on September 18th. You can register on my “upcoming workshops” page via my blog, or by visiting our website . I’d love to see you there!

  4. Still trying to decorate my family tree.

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