Day one at OMMA Global was tiring, but well worth the effort.

I arrived while Magid Abram, CEO of comScore was well into his keynote speech, but caught ALL of Scott Monty, head of digital at Ford Motor.  It really sounds like Ford is embracing social media in the company for a lot more than just a marketing play.  This is an important distinction, and deserves a lot more discussion.  Scott mentioned something to the effect that 90% of the game (regarding social) is just showing up. But then, that the difficulty was in the rest.  Scott’s presentation is on SlideShare.

A morning panel had a few different industry heads speaking, but most notably (from an otherwise all-male panel), Deborah Schultz, from the Altimeter Group. She reiterated that its about relationships, not sales, and that its a mistake to think of social media as a marketing channel.  No doubt, many in the audience disagreed – and in fact, our own firm helps companies market using social media – but it belies an approach to social media that is just a lot bigger and more significant.  Deborah is one of my heroes of the day.

The lunchtime keynote from Terence Kawaja was a hoot.  Be sure to see his Mad Avenue Blues video below.  The title of his presentation (The New Socialism is Destroying the Old Capitalism) mentioned in Twitter will invoke the “Red Scare Bot”.  Try it.

Martin Nisenholtz, from the New York Times, spoke at length… The biggest sense I got that is that venerable old organization is not going gentle into that good night.  They are leaders in using new media in innovative ways.

The followup panel that included Nisenholtz was pretty good, too.  I can’t wait to tell my 12-year-old son that I say, in person, the CEO of The Huffington Post (he’s an ardent reader).  But the panel suffered for lacking someone, say, from the Wall Street Journal – that is, an organization that is successfully wielding the pay-for-content model. It would have added a whole other dimension to the conversation.

The Mommy Blogger panel was great.  For one, the panel engaged each other in conversation – interrupted one another – got passionate. Something missing from every other panel I saw.  The message to marketers was an important one: Know what they’re writing before pitching them.  No form letters.  Make it real.

The break-off session I caught on “Is Paid Advertising in Social Media Dead” was a bit dumb.  Really.  The discussion of advertising in social media is somewhat limited to Facebook – and there isn’t a lot to say.

But the two case studies I saw in “How to Make Social Media Stick with Consumers” was FABULOUS.  Again, Ford Motor made an appearance with a campaign that allowed users to customize cars.  The Champion Hoodie Remix campaign was REALLY COOL, though.  The right product with the right campaign.  Beautiful.

All in all, it was a rewarding day.  Sitting all day at conferences like this can be tiring – but I always return home with some new ideas, and even a few new acquaintances.

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