Introspection at the Inbound Marketing Summit

October 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm 6 comments

As I write this, I’m half-listening to a presenter at the Inbound Marketing Summit and wondering a little bit why I’m here and, even bigger than that, what wondering why I’m here means in terms of my life goals.

Last year I was beside myself to be here. I had been on Twitter for about six months, so I recognized most everyone’s face and name but was too nervous to approach anyone. I was just starting to get into social media and inbound marketing in business, not because I didn’t think it was a good idea but because I was at a small non-profit that was hard to bring into modern marketing due to time and budget. I didn’t have any history, nothing in my portfolio to prove I knew what I was doing. The two days I spent at IMS then blew my mind. Some of the information was new, a lot of the information was stuff I knew but needed reminding of, and the rest was pure inspiration, something I needed desperately.

Now a year later I’m steeped in social media. I have some pretty awesome things in my portfolio. I’ve been to enough networking, social, and educational events to know a lot of the people here pretty well. I am not by any means an expert, nor do I know everyone I probably should know. I came to IMS this year looking for conversations with people I haven’t yet met, and to get some knowledge I can finally put into practice now that I’m with a company that understands and supports inbound marketing.

The conversations are happening on an ongoing basis, although that’s not really a problem for a chatterbox like myself. And the knowledge? Some of it was great. Tim Hayden noted “There’s always an offline component to your business” which is one of those “I knew that but I should’ve been thinking about it” types of knowledge I came for. And Tom Webster gave a great session on matching social media metrics to metrics that actually matter to your business, instead of just counting followers and tracking page views. But then after lunch there was a panel about using CMS for your website, and the crowd was asked to raise their hands to show who was putting what kinds of content on their site. There was some implied tongue-clucking over the low show of hands, but the truth is that webcasts on our site aren’t going to improve sales. (And yes, I want sales to always improve – I believe very deeply that I work for a company with a product -and more to come- that makes a marked improvement in peoples’ lives.)

I started to zone out, feeling a little like the presenters were speaking to people who work at large companies that aren’t quite fully invested in inbound marketing. There was more talk of specific products as solutions. There were slideshows with impossible to read slides full of tiny print and impossible diagrams. Suddenly it was like everyone was speaking Charlie-Brown-grownup speak.

Maybe the morning sessions were just better than the ones in the afternoon. Maybe the stresses of taking on new responsibilities at work and planning a wedding are taking their toll and I’m just tired. Maybe getting dumped last week by a close friend who would rather chase a job title than attend my wedding has me wondering what career goals are really worth. All I know is suddenly I’m not feeling inspired or in the loop or even interested in this anymore. It’s not to say I don’t love what I do and believe in it. I hope it means that for the first time in a long time I’m realizing that I need to seek out something new – new educational opportunities, new connections, new inspirations.

I’ve got some thinking to do.

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Entry filed under: marketing, personal, social media. Tags: , , , , , .

Pardon Me, You’re Standing On My Thoughts My 7 Favorite Takeaways from IMS10

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janet Aronica  |  October 6, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    I am SO proud of your honesty. Tom’s presentation and Greg’s from Blue Sky Factory were most valuable for me. Perhaps I have very specific needs or information I am hoping to receive with the presentations, and so presentations that don’t somewhat help me find answers to those questions… I feel guilty spending time outside the office listening to them. However, vague evangelizing about engaging our customers is not something that I think this audience needs. I think this audience already drinks the KoolAid – that’s why we are here – what we need is information that will help us translate that across departments at our organizations. What we need is information like Tom’s that will help us translate our work into value for our business as a whole. We need to add value, connect the dots to our overall businesses that we work for… I hear you.

    Reply
  • 2. Jennifer Scott  |  October 6, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks, Janet! It is hard at such a big conference, when you have people who are at a lot of different levels. I think what I’m really craving – and you put it so well – is information that translates work into value. Given some of the work I’ve been doing (very very recently) the presentation now from Scott about Chief Relationship Officer and screw that you can’t put ROI on a conversation is really hitting home.

    I get that we can’t use “ROI” to measure social media and trust and relationships. How do I consider success, then, and how do I translate that value in a data-drive strategy?

    Reply
  • 3. Casey Cheshire  |  October 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

    This is something I’ve also noticed- kudos to you for finding a way to put it in writing. I too have rapidly grown within the social & digital marketing world. When you spend effort learning new things & have the acceptance to put them to use you’re on your to becoming an expert. Add lots of experience to that mix and you probably are one.

    Tech events I’ve observed typically go in two skill related directions- you’re either a noob who hasn’t excepted social/digital yet or a professional already working in the field. Too often they’re catering to the former. Nothing wrong with that ‘per se,’ but it does leave a whole bunch of pro’s in the odd position of mostly networking during a presentation.

    Tech / Social burnout tends to be cyclical with me, usually a good weekend away hiking in NH helps. So maybe you don’t tweet or blog this week and read a book. I can totally relate to how you’re feeling- we’re chasing that eureka discovery moment feeling, and the more we know the less frequent it happens.

    In the end, not too much really matters other than loving someone and experiencing life with them. I’ve found mine and you’re on your way to a beautiful wedding. Perspective is a marvelous thing!

    Reply
  • 4. My 7 Favorite Takeaways from IMS10 « Out Of My Head  |  October 7, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    […] learning I’ve done here has had little to do with the presenters, some of which I covered in yesterday’s IMS10 post, although there are some great points I heard over and over from the best presenters here and in […]

    Reply
  • 5. Walter Elly  |  October 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Last year was my first IMS too, and it was superbly intense, an incredible learning experience. I went in this year thinking, knowing that not all the panels were going to be as earth-shakingly-awesome for me THIS time around because, like you, I’ve really ramped up the self-learning since last year. But when it came down to it, it was still difficult for me too to stick with it mentally when those panels came. Reading your post was almost cathartic for me in a way.

    BUT, in those moments I knew that whatever value was missing from a particular panel for me was totally recovered, thrice-over, from the Online-Offline experience [hat tip to @ducttape’s O-to-O comment!]. And that experience was of course made that much more stronger and awesome because I had gone last year and had made all those Online and Offline connections since then.

    At the end of the show Chris Brogan came over to me and asked me if I thought it was a good IMS this year. I hesitated at first because I thought about comparing it to last year without the context I just discussed above. But I thought about that context and told him that it was indeed good. And I meant it.

    Thanks for the great post Jen!

    Reply
    • 6. Jennifer Scott  |  October 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I’m so glad to know I wasn’t the only one. I’ve never felt like that before, and I’ve always been able to bond with others about all the great things we’re learning. When I felt like I wasn’t fascinated by the slides this year, it was kind of isolating. But I suppose not all learning experiences are as black and white as learning the thing that’s right in front of you.

      Reply

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