Minnesota AMA and Smart People

Business Communications

I had the great opportunity to attend the Minnesota AMA Conference on Tuesday and wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone I was able to meet while there. It was such a fun experience because many of the pros there were people that I either didn’t know at all or had only met online until Tuesday. The conference brought together a good mix of dedicated marketers along with many from related industries like PR, advertising, or sales.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, it’s important to understand and continually learn about these connected industries to provide good counsel to clients and/or our own employers. I walked away with a number of new ideas and many good reminders about constantly providing value propositions that will resonate with the end-user.

Some highlights for me included hearing more about how Bahram Akradi, Chairman and CEO of Lifetime Fitness, approaches adding value for members and how Michael Keller, Chief Brand Officer of Dairy Queen, is enhancing a strong emotional brand with a new line of product offerings designed to extend that brand further.

I’d like to also collect comments and ideas from others who attended the sessions. What did you learn? Who did you meet? I’d love to hear about your experiences and thoughts on breaking down boundaries with other pros who have differing responsibilities. That’s how we can all learn and get better.

5 thoughts on “Minnesota AMA and Smart People

  1. Thanks for getting this conversation started. I had a fantastic time at the MN AMA event on Tuesday. I stuck close to the social media track as I like to hear how social is being discussed specifically as it pertains to the marketing community, rather than in general or in a PR setting. A few of my thoughts per your request Dave:

    I found John Olson’s discussion to be interesting as his interest was to bring social away from the typical “Top Ten Ways to Exploit Twitter” model. I found that to be a cute comment and didn’t take it at face value, but rather a nice anecdote to the 101 or the scratch the surface type conversation. In his chat, John discussed the anthropological side of social, only top-of-the-trees, but enough to articulate what many presenters tend to fail at, which is the fact that we are human beings on this planet having an experience and we want that to be real and genuine, rather than contrived and controlled.

    Additionally, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Paul Isakson (@paulisakson) who broke social media down to “It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what you do.” Paul’s interpretation and presentation of social hit on not a novel idea by any means, but one that is somehow still profoundly misunderstood in general. “A revolution doesn’t happen when a society adopts new tools, it’s when they start adopting new behaviors,” said Paul. A comment and discussion I love to have, as I share with those who believe that this is a revolution in communication, business and human interaction as a whole.

    There were many more great presos and discussions at Minnesota’s American Marketing Association Annual Conference. Perhaps others will chime in here.

    1. Great observations Lisa,
      I also thought the connection to community and need for human connection in John’s presentation was important as well. It’s funny how as we become more and more tied to our independent technology, the more we want to use that technology to actually connect with people. I’ve had discussions with individuals who aren’t big supporters of social media and they’ve said “why go online and use social media to connect, just connect with people around you in real life if you want to talk” and that is essential too. You don’t want to lose real connections that already exist, but with advances in technology you are actually able to build human connections with people that share interests and values or test your own values in discussion with others regardless of location or other barriers than can make in-person connections nearly impossible.

  2. Not sure I’ll add a lot as I pretty much sat right next to Lisa the entire conference (sick of me yet, Grimm?).

    I have to say, the highlight for me was really Paul Isakson’s presentation. And, for me, he had the quote of the event: “The future belongs to those of us who are willing to get our hands dirty.” Just love that message.

    Two other messages that resonated with me from Paul’s talk:

    * Join people in what they’re already doing online. I can’t remember the exact examples Paul gave, but I really like that message. In other words, organizations don’t always need to push the message or build the platform. Sometimes (actually, a lot of times), it makes sense to “fish where the fish are.”

    * Listen for opportunities to make your product/service better. Most organizations have egos. They don’t want to admit they don’t know it all. That’s the mistake. Companies that are listening to their customer are prospering. In fact, some are even encouraging customers to work arm-in-arm in designing products and services with them. That’s the future.

    I was very interested in John Olson’s talk about anthropology and social media. Just wished he would have dove into that a little more. I think there’s a very interesting conversation there.


    1. Bah, you always add good stuff Arik-
      I think you picked up on a great point from Paul’s (@paulisakson) talk in terms of “fishing where the fish are” as communicators/marketers need to constantly remind ourselves that to have an impact, you must keep the goal in mind at all times. Coming up with a new idea that isn’t going to engage or provide value to your audience isn’t going to help achieve tangible results. Find out more about your audience and what’s important to them, talk to them, listen to them. From there you can build a program that will help you and your brand.

      Talk to the fish….well, so to speak. Really talking with fish raises a whole different set of issues. =) Thanks Arik.

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the conference Dave! I sat in these same sessions as well, and totally agree with you all here. I think Paul’s presentation was excellent, and I also really enjoyed hearing John Olson’s thoughts on social anthropology. I love that he took a step back from focusing on specific tools and talked about behaviors. Both John and Paul Isakson took that approach, which I highly appreciated. Paul made the point that there’s a tendency to focus on the tools, and that is just asking for trouble. I found Olson to be very insightful, although I wish his presentation were a bit more structured, I loved hearing his thoughts.

    I’m pretty impressed with the way this year’s conference turned out and I’m very glad all of you could attend. I’m so relieved to finally have met you in person Dave. I thought it might never happen! You still have to tell me your McGovern’s story. I’m not going to forget. :-)

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