Heard at Social Media Summit in Chennai

I had the privilege of being at the Social Media Summit yesterday at Chennai. It was a real pleasure. From the smiling, welcoming faces of the students of M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women, to the sessions throughout the day, every bit of experience was a real treat. A few snippets.

From the welcome address:

echovme is  knowledge partner for M.O.P Vaishnav College.  I ike that term “knowledge partner”. It is much broader than a digital marketer or social media consultant. Glad to see that they are partnering with educational institutions.
They announced the launch of Social Media Youth Association (smya). I love this quote about the goals of SMYA.

Enlarging the minds of youth…

A noble cause and that will have a large impact.

Snippets from Sorav’s talk

  • Pioneering social media in education (I think this is big. There is a great opportunity to innovate).
  • Social media is the future of business communication (This is true and was amplified by Mahesh Murthy in his talk)
  • Social media is in its infancy (Echoes of this theme were heard throughout the day. This means that there are lots of opportunities to innovate)
  • Social media is not just Facebook and Twitter (I am glad that Sorav mentioned this. This will be the theme of my un-conference session)

The first panel was about “Social Media in Business Eco-system” and I hastily jotted down a few gems.

  • We have just seen the tip of the iceberg with social media
  • Three broad reasons people get involved in Social Media – colleagues have it, competitors are in it, our customers are on it
  • Social media can be used for customer service, attention and retention (Pay attention to Attention and Google it if you can, especially “attention economy”)
  • Differences between promises and delivery easily show up on social media. So promise less and deliver more.
  • Social Media Feedback is a product validation tool (it is also one of the best ways to discover product champions)
  • Emotions are the same whether it is B2B or B2C (I love this part. Social media is perceived to be mostly for B2C)
  • It is better to look at Social media from a different view – high involvement vs low involvement products rather than B2B or B2C (I agree).
  • About ROI – it is difficult to measure but you need metrics to identify the success of your social media program
  • Why is ROI difficult to measure? Social media is both tactical and strategic. There are patterns like “research online, purchase offline” that makes it difficult to pin down the ripple effects of social media
  • A question from the audience and a very relevant one was “what about social media for small companies?” I hope we can find some answers during the rest of the conference.

Mahesh’s talk was brilliant, one of the best talks I heard in a while. His topic was “20 rules of marketing”. He first took on the 4Ps of marketing and discussed them in the context of today’s global economy.

  • Products exist on shelves and brands exist in people’s minds
  • Pricing is dynamic. Variable pricing beats fixed pricing any day (so, feel free to experiment with pricing)
  • Placement – Everywhere beats fixed place
  • Everything (to buy) is just a browser away today
  • What is common between Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Ferrari? They don’t advertise.
  • Can you build it so that the product becomes the advertisement? This is true of Google, Facebook and Twitter.
  • It is time to let go of 4Ps (marketing teachers need to relearn marketing!)
  • Marketing IQ is inversely proportional to the marketing budget
  • Digital is not a niche. It is mainstream (Mahesh showed the stats of readership/viewership and engagement in several media. There is a lot of scope for discussion about these slides.)
  • Digital (marketing) is now the 800lb gorilla.
  • Social(marketing) is growing at an average of 250% CAGR
  • We trust digital much more than TV advertisements (Ah! The trust factor)
  • Is your story worth repeating? (Mahesh used the term “remarkworthy” several times. I will take a leaf from Kathy Sierra and ask – are your customer stories  worth repeating?)
  • CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) is all digital (marketing). For a business that depends mostly on walk ins it is amazing
  • Talk about your space and not just about your product. (People go to CCD page on Facebook to learn about coffee and not about CCD itself)
  • Create an editorial that is remarkworthy
  • EdgeRank is more important than Like Count. (this was confirmed in the Facebook session on the second day)
  • Don’t tie yourself into non agile systems (willing to explore, experiment, change and see what is working)
  • Google alerts is not a tracking system. It will give you one in 200 mentions (we knew this for a while and that is why we invented Infostreams – a little shameless plug).

If the first few sessions were any indication, this conference is going to rock. Great job by echovme team.


I was rushing off to the conference and in the previous version had several embarrassing typos. Fixed most of them, I think.

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