What better place than here? What better time than now?

Yesterday we had the pleasure of participating in a breakfast discussion with a group of our community's top marketing and communications professionals. Topic:

Broadcast culture and social media.

As a group, we unpacked a consistent set of organizational challenges and barriers to entry:

  • Measurement -- Can it be done?  And how?  And why do our discussions now focus so much less on good ol' ROI and revenue generation? And is that okay?
  • Buy-in by Leadership -- How do we overcome fear of transparency, fear of the unknown and fear of the loss of privacy?
  • Time -- How do we manage our time to add yet another thing to our to do list?  Is this reasonable? Is it sustainable?
  • Value -- How do we define this?  And how do we ensure relevance in this new environment AND continue to communicate, market and sell at present or greater levels?

The answers? We won't say the group had them all, but there were some pretty terrific ideas and best practices to model our efforts on re: audience relevance, grassroots community engagement, and the intersection of culture and connectivity.

How do we all get to be best practices?

We stop transferring models of old onto new culture, tools and platforms.

And we get back to fundamentals.  We stop blaming the tool (cars don't kill people, people kill people) and focus on the basics:

  • We define our business goals and objectives, then map those to meaningful indicators of success, i.e., level and quality of participation among the percentage of subscribers/fans/followers in our target demographics. (Here's a great resource to get us all started.)
  • We ask ourselves fundamental questions about our business models, i.e. do we really NOT want to be a part of customer conversations? (Because people are going to talk about us, our businesses and our brands whether we're there or not.)
  • We take a hard look at our work priorities and determine whether it's time to retire some of those daily tasks that don't contribute to community-building and meaningful connections.
  • We remember to "know our audience", and put them first in terms of what they need and where/how they want to be engaged.  (Or, we listen, we don't yell, and we engage them in 140 characters or via their mobile phone.)

In the revolutionary words of Zack de la Rocha:

Ah, hell, can't stop us now.