Self-replicating Awesomeness at SXSW

Deborah Schultz, Chris Heuer, Jeremiah Owyang, Tara Hunt, Hugh MacLeod, David Parmet

  •  DP: Brian Oberkirch put this together – he asked 2 questions. How to market into community without being too marketer like. And how do you build a community around what you are doing?  What does ‘no marketing’ look like? How can we use social media?
  • DS: None of this is about tools or technology, but is about the customers.  Here to talk about some of the subtleties, not about the tactics. It’s about marketing, customer service, product development. the marketing silo needs to be changed, why are they afraid of the opps. This is not telling or selling, this is being in the trenches.
  • CH: what is really bugging me right now is the number of people who are saying to me ‘build me a community’ but this does make a community, it is the interpersonal connections that make it. Social media is not new media, it changes how we relate to each other. You have to shift the way you think about participation. have to change mindset from stop trying to sell me to help make me buy.
  • JO: I do a lot of research on this, such as online community best practices.  it was clear that the ones that let go and let their customers take charge have the thriving communities.
  • TH: "marketing is the price you pay for creating mediocre products". this was a big part of the reason for this panel. [history of her and move and Citizen agency] Looking at social capital – relationships and reputation.   It’s all about whuffie in these communities, what you can give away.
  • CH: you need a patronage model, where there is money, in corps, it needs room to do it in there. there has to be a genuine spirit of giving in there .
  • TH: we talk about doing things that are good for the world alongside the product that will sell.
  • HM: [wine, blogging stormhoek story.] Social objects help drive conversation. when we talk about community, when a corporation talks about it, it’s liek a lever they think they can pull, which is not there. you have a bunch of people who use and talk about the product. they are not the company community.
  • DP: the concept of giving it away for free is a powerful one, that scares the companies away.  Have used Stormhoek as an example, suggesting that companies do this.
  • DS: there are lots of companies for 100s of years…this is a new skillset that is an art rather than a science.  if you are at a small company, where you have a certain amount of control, then you have to get out of the ivory tower. get out to conferences, find the edges.  Larger companies have the problem that they only listen to the complainers, how about listening to the people who love you.   Why do small companies put up an FAQ? why not bring in people who can answer the questions? this is marketing and customer support. get out and flatten it.
  • JO: you can give away things for free, I give a lot of my knowledge for free, make people nervous.
  • HM: James Governer, gives away 90% of ideas, sells 10%. he can only execute on 10% and it works/
  • TH: you can tell people you have knowledge and they will see what they are talking about.  It’s a smart calling code.
  • CH: it’s the because effect. Will It blend gives away entertainment.
  • HM: there has been a paradigm shift from message to social gesture and that cannot be faked.
  • TH: a lot of traditional marketing aims to do a generic spread of message. you throw the net out wide and hope to catch as many. with stormhoek HM saw a great opportunity, of people who were doing a lot of events – its niche, opportunities,
  • CH: it’s not the message, it’s not the brand logo, it’s what it represents. We have to think about the human connections, about being of service to fellow human.

Audience Questions

  • Q: JO – when selecting brand evangelists, how?  And HM – what about Cooler?  A: JO: tools to find them, who is talking online, goign into communities, finding out who is talking the most, customer support forums. go to brand monitoring companies, who do good job of mining the whole place. the main point is that you can find the people, great people to start with.   HM: Kula is South Sea shells that had a story. Talking about the iphone with Tara, what matters is that tara is a friend, we talk about shared stuff. stories are key. tech is still about socialising around objects.  DS: this is about a cultural shift – getting out. Traditional not a relationship. in a relationship you can’t ignore until you have something to say. giving away things for free, the whuffie payback comes back way later. this impacts all lines of your business.
  • Q: I understand giving away the small things. what about the big stuff?

    • A: CH: audi are doing a great things. doing a lot of things around the experience, the educational classes, spa treatments.
    •  TH: some people give amazing support and service. 
    • DS: you have to break it down to smaller segments, go local. 
    •  HM: great brands have lots of little small brands, like starbucks. it’s not just about the big thing, it’s all the small things. 
  • Q: how do you actually get some money in the short term? (ref a movie, document)

    • A: HM: put half out there, and if people want to learn more they will buy it. 
    • TH: start telling the story, getting people to start telling his story.  
  • Q: giving away for free reduces perceived value?  what’s the rebuttal. 

    • A: DP..when selling things, I had a client for selling to teenage girls. they wanted to ‘go viral’. I had to remind them they can’t the product can only go viral.  I suggested we find people to talk about it.  My response is not to go to an intermediary. go to the customers.  put it to the people who would actually use it. 
    • TH: it’s not giving products away for free only. It can be the things around it, the experience.
    • DP: audi, free wifi, breakfast, things to do
    • DS: now everyone has a different perspective on audi. it’s nuanced. 
  • Q: can you distill this into a takeaway?

    • HM – social objects ate
    • TH: turn it around, be part of the community, listen, embrace the chaos, find your higher purpose
    • CH: passion for people and product
    • DS: technology changes, human behaviour doesn’t. nothing replaces listening, get out of tower.
  • Q: I work for PETA and what we give away for free is our message? is that annoying?

    • CH: saying the only thing you have is a message is wrong. you are connecting to a higher purpose, to a felling.
    • TH: I don’t remember the emails, shows that you have not connecting.
    • DS: are you giving them something they be interested in or just what you want to sell. Think about you are only talking to these people when you need them – cultivate the connections you have.
  • Q: I work for Kaboom. A lot of the things you have suggested we have done and it has not taken off as we hoped. now I have all these goals I need to reach. What can I take back to explain that this takes time.  The vision is to make a great place to play for every child in america.

    •    HM: they don’t get it…
    • CH : it’s not campaigns, it’s programmes, you have to change the mentality. get qualitative results, people who have heard online and show the stories.
  • Q: Why are you doing this – because you believe or is it a fad?

    • JO: marketing does not exist to hide shitty products, there is a reason.
    • CH: marketing has become associated with sales as opposed to matching product with user.
    • DP: it’s about stories and relationships, helping them work out what they are doing. it’s been a fun ride.
    • DS: it’s a personal mission, not a fad. I’m not a marketer, but a customer advocate. I love that everyone has a voice,
    • CH: it’s about what is your intention.

HM – a story without love is not worth telling

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