I just spent two very different days with very different groups of people, talking about two very different topics, and they all require the same result for success.
Yesterday, David Usher (CloudID) and I had a conversation in front of leading marketers at the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association - From Mass To Grass - Word of Mouth Marketing conference, and then today, David and I were joined by our mutual friend, Michael McCarty (President of EMI Music Publishing Canada) for a panel discussion entitled, It Better be Free, or How Can You Sell What Others Are Practically Giving Away? on the topic of Social Media at the NXNE - North By Northeast - conference (a leading music industry event).
On one day, the Marketers were trying to learn and figure out how to make Word of Mouth Marketing effective for them, on the other day, Musicians and music industry types were trying to learn and figure out hot to make Social Media effective for them.
I think both David and Michael summed it up best: you have to be awesome.
Seth Godin talks about being a Purple Cow (remarkable or invisible), and it's true. Social Media and Word of Mouth Marketing are both the purest forms of Marketing. The kind that works best when consumers (or fans) love what you do so much, that they are willing to do anything and everything to share that love.
It's hard to manufacture and even harder to bottle.
But, as Marketers, that's exactly what we try to do.
What is the best practice? Where are the metrics? Can you guarantee success? Who should Blog? How do you know if a Word of Mouth Marketing campaign was effective? How long will it take to see results from a Social Media initiative?
All fair questions, but ones that need to come after the big, major one: How amazingly awesome are you at what you do?
Both Marketers and Musicians are grappling with Word of Mouth Marketing, and it's further complicated by what it takes to be successful in Social Media. The truth is that until you know what the conversation is about your brand (product, service or art) and until the community that is talking about you knows that you're an active participant, it's really hard to just use these channels to "market."
Even if you are listening, monitoring and joining the conversations, no one will really care all that much, unless whatever it is that you're doing is pretty incredible.
So, make amazing stuff. It will excite people, and get them talking (naturally) about what you do, versus trying to "sell" them on why they should pay attention.
Never before have there been so many channels and opportunities like this for both Marketers and Musicians. We all now have personal contact with close to one billion potential global customers. We no longer need big machines to control and mediate the messages. Instead of worrying about how this is going to change your current practice, why not focus on the reality that it is here, it does work and what you can do to make it most effective for yourself?