Archive for category The Conversation Group

Chris Heuer’s Upcoming Speaking / Travel

Wow – can’t believe how long this has been in draft mode – I am all over the place over the coming months – hopefully we can catch up at some point in person and chat over some chai tea perhaps?

Today and Tomorrow, I am in San Diego on a social networking panel with Geoff Livingston, author of Now is Gone. We are doing a podcast from my room overlooking the ocean very shortly… the panel is tomorrow morning for the CEA Industry Forum.

Next week I am in New York City from October 22-24. On Tuesday night (October 23) I am doing a Social Media Club talk on “Business is Personal (Again)” with Howard Greenstein and on Wednesday I am doing a short interactive session at the Social Media Summit. This is going to be one heckuva trip east. I will also be heading out to New York again the following week for a little networking shindig we are doing on Monday October 29 and will be available in the afternoon/evening for some quick meetings on Tuesday October 30.

I am also going to be down in Austin on November 5 & 6. We will be hosting a Social Media Club conversation on Monday November 5 and then hosting a paid Social Media Workshop all day on Tuesday November 6 sponsored by the great folks from Dell. If you are interested in attending the workshop, use my promo code CHRIS so that I can prove to the other great workshop leaders (Shel Israel, Connie Reece and Kami Huyse) that people actually read my blog! From Austin, I need to leave a few minutes early and head to the airport for an early morning speech with Marshall Kirkpatrick at BlogWorld & New Media Expo on November 7.

I am then attending the Society for New Communications Research Annual Symposium in Boston on December 5-6… Heading into next year, thanks to a recommendation from our good friend Shel Israel, I am speaking at Frost & Sullivan’s Sales and Marketing Mind Exchange.


Are you a “real marketer”?

Chris Brogan shines bright and demonstrates why I really wanted him on The Conversation Group advisory board as much as Doc Searls and David Weinberger in this post “I am a marketer“. I try to avoid the word marketing like the plague – because of bad marketers – or more accurately, I should say badly intentioned marketers, which is the key reason the profession has been besieged for the last several years in some parts of society.

It’s time to talk once again about what I still think of as “real marketing”. For me this means the process of matching a product/service with the people who will get the most benefit/satisfaction/enjoyment from it. This is about serving the market’s interest by being a matchmaker of value between people and companies – caring about both, but more importantly caring about your own integrity.

Unfortunately, marketing has become more closely linked to selling, where oftentimes the systems and expectations of management are about producing quarter over quarter increases in numbers, without concern for the state of the product, its usability or its appropriateness for a particular use. This is where integrity breaks down and an individual’s self-esteem becomes linked to ‘hitting the numbers’ regardless of whether or not that is the right thing for the company or the people buying the product. This can also result in companies selling their product to the wrong people, creating an unnecessary negative impression in the market among people who might otherwise find value in it.

The bottomline is some marketers create a bad name for the rest of us because they are selling without concern for the buyer. Of course, everyone has some self interest, which is not in and of itself bad – it is when the interest is more focused on money than integrity where things go bad.

Chris also brings up the often talked about issue of transparency, which is still overused and misunderstood, but is getting more directly at the root of the bad marketer problem. According to Merriam Webster, being transparent means “free from pretense or deceit” – in short, it means being honest. As I have been saying a lot lately, “say what you mean and do what you say” – this is what leads to trust – being honest and continuing to demonstrate that honesty through your actions. Too many people misunderstand transparency to mean a completely open kimono, a view on everything going on – which is not feasible or completely appropriate. What it really means is don’t lie and make clear your intentions.

From my perspective, the bottom line here is a matter of intentions and authenticity. What are you trying to do and are you being true to yourself?

Chris speaks very eloquently to these ideals in action and lays out a great path for all marketers, but it is your point of origin where it all starts.

Are you working for a company you believe in? Are you working in a market you care about? Are you able to be human or must you uphold a fake ideal?

If you can answer these questions truthfully and affirmatively, you are a real marketer. I can proudly say that I am a real marketer, don’t you want to be a real marketer too?


The Conversation Group, The Beginning of the Story

The Conversation GroupThe story of how and why we have come to form The Conversation Group is an epic – a story that is worthy of thousands of words, which I am going to share with you over the weeks ahead. There is the socioeconomic environment; the fertile cultural ground for our perspective; the advent of social media (aka participatory media, aka conversational media); the deep need for this sort of transformation in marketing communications; the disruptive technologies such as Tivo and RSS; and the changing nature of our relationships with each other as individuals, as colleagues and as community participants.

Then of course, there is the story that Ted Shelton, Giovanni Rodriguez, Stephanie Agresta and I need to tell regarding what brings us each here, at this moment in time, to work together towards this shared vision of our partnership. Of equal importance is the story our advisory board members, Chris Brogan, Deborah Schultz, Shel Holtz, Mitch Ratcliffe, David Thorpe, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger have to tell. Finally, there is the story of our kindred spirit and Board Member from the UK, Mark Adams, of Pembridge who previously co-founded Global Technology PR firm Text 100 and the genius of Peter Hirshberg, CMO and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Technorati.

Our story together as The Conversation Group, is the sum of all these parts and so much more. Everyone with their own important perspective on what is going on, everyone with a unique value to contribute to the conversation on conversations, and everyone describing a different aspect of the same proverbial elephant. For me personally, I feel it is the continuation of the Cluetrain Manifesto, those ideals being manifested, yet evolving in fascinating ways, inspired by the widespread use of enabling technologies and an open source ethos of sharing and collaboration.

Throughout each of these many facets of the story, it is very hard to define the underlying nature of the transformation that is underway now – the thing that Doc talks about regarding the ‘greater significance’ that I can talk about easily (not quickly), but struggle to articulate with written words. That which a single phrase can not describe – a story that doesn’t break down well into a 30 second clip, or tagline – a story that we (you and I) are writing together through our exploration of our social media and our connections with each other. It is a “conversation on conversations” and participatory media that is just now beginning in earnest with events like Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit that is taking place today.

The Conversation Group is but one part of this bigger story – my partners and I are striving to work together to make it an important part, but we know we don’t have all the answers. Rather, we have the experience and perspective needed to ask the right questions, that lead to better answers, discovered together, through conversations.

—more to come—