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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Opening closed networks

Searching for an image to go with this article, I keyed "opening closed networks marketing" on Google, then searched for images -- came across, established by Bazzarvoice, which says it develops outsourced technology, services, analytics, and expertise to encourage and harness word of mouth marketing and bring it closer to a company's brand and customer experience. Interesting ... if somewhat off topic from the posting below!

I'm making good progress in the research for my article about Social Networking for the SMPS Marketer, with intriguing and provocative interviews with SMPS President Dana Birkes, vice-president at the Flintco Companies in Tulsa, OK, and Craig Park, Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of Leo A. Daly, based in Omaha, NE. SMPS vice-president Lisa Bowman suggested I speak with these two leaders, along with Ford Harding, to provide the 'gist' for my article about Social Networking.

But what about Liz O'Rourke Kupcha and her unauthorized Facebook SMPS page? It is still up there as I write this posting, with 23 members (I'm one of them) out of more than 6,000 SMPS members overall. None of the SMPS leaders I've interviewed knew about O'Rourke's Facebook site -- and when Lisa Bowman found about it (from me) she sent the cease and desist letter I've posted earlier. (SMPS could shut this site down quickly by approaching Facebook directly -- I understand they will not hesitate to resolve trademark/ownership issues in favour of the true owner.)

The story I will ultimately write for the Marketer will (I hope) sensitively and respectfully relate the perspectives of the senior marketing executives who reflect the SMPS 'establishment' while showing the challenges -- and validity -- of the new and relatively open social networking models. Equally, I'll hope to show marketers who believe that open networking is the way to go the importance of connecting in closed networks, where the real stuff often happens.

Consider, for example, this blog and my writing initiatives. They have opened my way to the top of the SMPS without spending years of time on voluntary committees at the chapter level, working my way up (good thing, of course, because there are as yet no SMPS chapters in Canada!) And, surprise!, these senior SMPS leaders have consented to networking with me, opening the door even wider and faster.

I'm not going to abuse these connections -- that is the essence of trust -- with any selling or marketing to the SMPS leaders to promote my own business interests. My task will be to write about these issues with lucidity, fairness, and comprehensiveness, and thus provide a useful contribution to the community.

How does this relate to you? I sense the best way to achieve real leadership in the new Social Networking era is to recognize that you need to become accepted and recognized within the closed networks relevant to you -- and, if you do, harness the power of the new open networking tools to really expand your impact. But you won't do this by traditional power marketing or by bluntly trying to force your way into the closed communities through the open networking services.

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