Last night I had the opportunity to hear Bill McDermott SAP’s President of Global Field Operations (and member of the SAP AG Executive Board) speak at Villanova University’s 3rd Annual Marketing Professionals Showcase, a showcase for two student groups to present their marketing projects to local companies.
Bill kicked off the night talking about today’s economic crisis and how in his life he’s seen and worked through three others: the oil crisis (70s), the Wall Street crisis (80s) and the dot.com crisis (early 2000). During his keynote, Bill mentioned transparency as part of corporate culture (although in this sense he’s referring to Sarbanes-Oxley). During the Q&A portion his advice to the companies attending was that excellent customer service is what would help them to stand out and help them to survive…nothing new or earth shattering there, right? But then he said something that made me smile. He said that business is about people helping people.
I took that as an opportunity to ask Bill how he felt about social media and how it “pulls back the covers of a corporation so that ‘people’ were the face of the corporation, not the brand.” To which he replied (and not verbatim at all) that he embraced social media, social networks, etc. Of course, he also said that there are negatives. As an example, he went on to say that he’d rather have relationships with people online so that they got their information correct vs. someone writing something that wasn’t totally true (i.e. bloggers). He also mentioned online communities and how it’s important to be a part of them. And let’s be clear, SAP is walking the walk when it comes to implementing social media.
Next were two student teams that were presenting their findings after a semester long (I believe) project. One team presented a new product they developed for kids and the other a new marketing campaign for a company. The students did a great job and their marketing research, plan and presentation were really well done. However, when it came time for Q&A they really struggled with these questions:
Q: How would you use web 2.0 and Internet marketing in your promotions?
A: We have a website and a link to it so people can buy.
Q: How could you use social networking to spread the word of your new product?
A: We will have kiosks and the game at a camp and will use word of mouth.
Can you see the dichotomy at play here? SAP embraces online marketing and social media and I am sure if you were a new marketer looking to get on board, you would most likely be expected to understand it too. And yet, the kids who have lived in this “social” world all of their lives don’t understand what’s being asked from a business perspective.
It’s like convincing kids that a playground can be used for business and adults that business can be done on a playground.
I have blogged about this before…if marketers (apparently new & experienced) don’t take the time to learn how marketing is being changed forever by online marketing and social media in a few years they will be extinct.
So, how can that gap be bridged? Education, a renewed passion for marketing…and online marketing training.
And by “online” I don’t mean take an online class. By online I mean learn how online marketing is affecting how marketing and business is done today.
The Online Media Boot Camp
I hope you all know me well enough by now to know that I am passionate about marketing, communications, social media and education. The opportunity to combine it all to help fellow marketers (and companies) get a leg up in this horrible economy is important to me.
On April 9th Liana (Li) Evans and I will hosting and speaking at the Online Media Boot Camp in King of Prussia, PA (right outside Philadelphia and convenient to NJ, NY, DE, MD).
The Online Media Boot Camp is limited to 65 attendees and offers the following online marketing training sessions:
- Social Media Fundamentals – Li Evans
- Selling On-Line Media Internally – Shashi Bellamkonda
- Corporate Blogging – Valeria Maltoni
- Public Relations 2.0 – Beth Harte
- Social Networking & Community Building – Mack Collier
- Online Marketing Workshop (Just to make sure that attendees confidently hit the ground running at the end of the day!)
Why the limited number of seats? Because as speakers we all want to make sure that we can spend as much time as possible with attendees to help get their questions answered, to help them bridge that gap I spoke about above, and to make sure that they leave with a new competitive advantage.
Online marketing and social media isn’t just for large companies with budgets. In fact, that’s not true at all! If you are a company, non-profit, agency (creative or government), college/university, etc. who wants to engage customers, prospects, shareholders, students, constinuents, etc. online, the Online Media Boot Camp is for you! Let’s face it, the Internet isn’t going away and even if you aren’t there…everyone else just might be. Why miss out on that opportunity?
To learn more about the speakers and what they are engaged in, check out their blogs:
- Liana (Li) Evans, Key Relevance
- Shashi Bellamkonda (The Social Media “Swami”), Network Solutions
- Valeria Maltoni, Conversation Agent
- Mack Collier, The Viral Garden
Registration is open and the Online Media Boot Camp is $349 per person. After 3/16 the registration is $449.
If you are already embracing online marketing and social media, how about passing on this information to a marketer that might be looking for a leg up or who gets it, but wants to learn how to implement it? You have my appreciation and thanks in advance!
If you have questions, please e-mail me at beth [at] onlinemediabootcamp [dot] com. Looking forward to hearing from you!