Ouch. I am at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston and the panel on content management systems (CMS) got lynched by the audience via the #ims11 twitter stream. Comments included “the panel is boring”, “If the Tweet stream was like the Gong Show, we’d be on to the next session by now.” and “the cms panel killing themselves on stage.” They missed the mark with a fuzzy, technology-centric discussion.
In their defense the CMS panel followed a couple of great keynote presentations but I can’t help but wonder what they could have done differently. I am on a panel this afternoon at 3:15pm so the thinking is more than theoretical!
#1 Pay Attention
You don’t need fancy semantic analysis tools to realize the audience was letting out a collective yawn. Unfortunately, none of the panelists were checking the twitter stream so they couldn’t adjust their message. I don’t care if it looks a bit silly, but I’ll be taking my laptop up on stage this afternoon.
The same should apply to your business. It is NOT that hard to keep an eye on some critical keywords on Twitter, Google Plus, etc. A critical comment here or there is no big deal, but a torrent of them probably means you are doing something wrong.
#2 Know Your Audience
The attendees at IMS11 appear to be primarily marketers, not technologists. Most of them are using low end CMS such as WordPress and Drupal. They aren’t familiar with why a company would implement an expensive CMS let alone why one system is better than the next guy’s. Marketers love words like ‘brand’, ‘impact’, ‘differentiation’, ‘reach’, ‘audience’… they don’t love words like ‘personalization’, ‘services’, or ‘scalability’.
Ironically, the CMS panelists talked a lot about using tools to know your audience. What they missed was a very simple look around the room. The most important question they were failing to answer was, “What Is In It For Me?” for 90%+ of the audience.
#3 Remember Why You Are in Business
Congratulations, you have a job at a CMS company because you understand web technology. And, congratulations, you are on stage because you are slightly less scary and generally more passionate than the other technologists in your company. But DON’T make the mistake of directing your passion to your own product.
Passion should be directed towards what your customers are passionate about. In this case, the audience cares about creative, inspirational marketing! Awesome content! More leads! Remind them why THEY get up in the morning, not why you do.
Wish me luck this afternoon.