Over the past 30 days it seems that more and more senior business media executives are absolutely overwhelmed by the flood of information, media attention, and hype around social media and virtual events. They are being barraged by requests to fund new projects to create communities or launch virtual events when very often the business model or commercial prospects from such activities are unclear. They’re being told they just “have to do it”. Sound a little like 1999?
At the same time they are being approached by a stream of technology suppliers who all promise that their solution is “the” answer. At the ASAE annual meeting this week, there were a dozen exhibitors marketing social networking platforms alone and another dozen marketing virtual event solutions.
At the recent SISO meeting in NYC, an excellent half day intensive workshop on social networking focused on a vision of communities enabled by social networking technology as the answer to show organizers dream of influence and engagement of their markets 52 weeks a year.
What’s making things even more challenging for these executives is a general unfamiliarity with the torrent of tools and technology that are at the eye of the storm. All this while their core event revenues are off 20-30% and their print businesses are off 40-50%.
To help bring some order to the madness, here are three steps I think can help:
1. Commit 30 minutes a day to becoming familiar with the new media tools that are impacting b2b media. Attend a webinar or a virtual tradeshow, use twitter, set up a linkedin profile, read a book on social networking. If you’re really brave, find a bright twenty something employee in your organization who can mentor you (that’s right mentor you) on social media.
2. Assess the “technographics” of your respective markets and prioritize them based on those you think are most likely to be served effectively with these new tools.
3. Identify unmet audience needs in selected segments of these markets and start small with a couple of modest projects.
A disciplined and methodical approach to making several small bets will prevent paralysis and pay big dividends long term.