Strategic Leadership Forum, if you're in the Toronto area, is a good place to hang. They may seem dusty, if you judge them by their web site and brochures, but they have great programs and speakers. Case in point, this week's session on using new media to communicate with customers.
James Powell, currently a Marketing Director at Rogers, and Sean Moffitt, word of mouth expert and world class networker gave a fabulous evening to a group of about 20 marketers. Good speakers, great examples, well prepared and engaging.
Some of my takeaways:
 Know your customers. There's no one right medium to reach them. You need to reach them where they live, where they have fun, where they shop, and of course in the media they encounter while doing those things.When you know your customer, the choices are much clearer. [Of course, how can I not love someone who wants to go deep into customers' lives???]
 You don't have to use new media to be heard. You could just be creative with existing media. The point is to think about the media, not just blow the budget on television
 Don't assume the execs will see your edgy stuff. That's not the neighborhood they live in, and those aren't the magazines they read. Take responsibility for marketing IN to the organization
 When faced with questions about ROI and GRP and other payback-type acronyms, focus instead on the opportunity cost of shifting the budget to something different than your traditional spend. For the cost of one full page ad in a major newspaper, you could run a whole new-media campaign
 Major agencies have business models that don't support these kinds of projects all that well. Try out some small shops that want to win awards. And give them a bit of room to have fun and do cool work -- after all, you have them on a shoestring budget
 The blog world tends to say 'gotcha' a lot when a major company tries something different and it isn't totally brilliant. Ignore that and get out there. There's learning to be had and the risks are small relative to the potential
 New media are driven by advocacy, dialogue, authenticity, openness. Yes, you're heard that before. It's not going away. If anything, these themes are gaining momentum
It's pointless to talk about the internet as a specific, monolithic medium. E-bay may be a medium. Google Ad-words may be a medium. Facebook may be. Blogs may be. But the internet really is infrastructure, like asphalt or paper, that can carry many different kinds of things.
When we add the new, the old doesn't always go away. We have credit cards and debit cards and internet bill payment, but we still use cash and we still use cheques. They may be buggy-whips, but they linger on. Communication tools appear to be similarly constructed. We may have reduced our snail mail, but we still use it, and sometimes in new and creative ways.
James Powell talks about the Rogers Picnic, an event created to target males aged 18 - 24, in Marketing Magazine.
Facebook's plan to hook up the world, by David Kirkpatrick, Fortune, June 11, 2007. Talks about Facebook's move to let anyone write applications for their platform. A blog buddy recently suggested we start a remote Scrabble game using -- you guessed it -- an add-on to Facebook. If you haven't taken the plunge, you'd be well advised to invest a couple of hours in your education. Be forewarned however -- as Sean Moffit told me a while back, it can take a lot of your time if you let it.