Oliver Blanchard is the type of person that can get 55 comments on his BrandBuilder Blog biography. His turn-ons include “anything innovative” and his professional background in 80 words or less amounts to choppy sentence fragments and big name dropping – just to fit it all in.
For a consultant and speaker who, by his own accounts, likes to hear himself talk, Blanchard is far from the traditional, one-sided megaphone typically equated with traditional marketing.
“Give me dialog. Give me conversation,” he said in a recent blog post. “Give me engagement.”
It’s this approach that seems to have awarded him much success in the blogosphere and beyond. He wasn’t talking about Twitter, Facebook or the slew of other social media sites (not that they’re excluded, of course), but rather engagement on all levels – from personal to digital. Particularly, he was referring to the brief Q&A sessions that generally follow his speaking engagements. For him, the 10 minutes allotted at the end of a 3-hour spiel just isn’t enough to connect with the audience.
Recently Blanchard took an additional hour to engage, answer questions and take blog-photos with his audience after a social media presentation in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho:
“At 6pm, we were all strangers. At 9pm, everyone knew who I was, but the dynamic was still speaker/audience. At 10pm, I had connected with some wonderful human beings with fascinating stories to tell and made at least a dozen new friends. It was all good, but guess what: That time between 9pm and 10pm, that’s the part I got the most out of,” he said.
The need to get to know and connect with customers is a reality many companies are discovering at a staggering pace. While the average Marketing Director isn’t going to be presented with the same speaker-specific situations, the lesson shouldn’t be lost in translation.
Social media can play an integral part in connecting with established and potential customers in virtually all industries of business. To help understand the scale, impact and need for media integration check out Socialnomics’ “Social Media Revolution” video.
Learn the social and marketing implications – and how to use them first-hand from Blanchard and other social media experts at the upcoming Social Media Integration Conference Oct. 22-23, 2010 in Atlanta, GA. Register by Sept. 3 for the early-bird special.