MARCOM Conference … 2009 the best ever

I recently heard a great presentation from Rahaf Harfoush at the MARCOM 2009 conference in Toronto  on how the team she worked on built the Obama Brand. I also bought a copy of her book called YES WE DID published by New Riders. The book is an inside look at how social media built the Obama brand.  Don Tapscott points out in the Foreword “The story of the new media group described in Yes We Did is a truly amazing one . Through the internet and other digital technologies a group of young people changed just about everything: how money is raised, how people campaign, how organizers organize, and how the electorate comes to understand the issues, make choices and become engaged in political action.The book shows how some young twenty something’s volunteers who worked in the trenches for Obama with a set of tools and weapons-the digital media.”

Over the past few months I have been encouraging readers of my blog to start learning about social media techniques , the book  clearly shows the power of the new ways of communicating and marketing.

Yes We Did: An Inside Look At How Social Media Built the Obama Brand

The Obama campaign is widely credited for its unprecedented use of New Media for everything from fund raising to volunteer coordination. After intensively researching the campaign, Rahaf Harfoush had the opportunity to witness the innovation first hand when joined the New Media team in Chicago for three months. This book takes a comprehensive look at the campaign’s use of technology leading up to election night and explores the strategic insights that organizations can apply to their own brand. Peppered with interviews, photos and anecdotes from key members of the New Media Team, this book reveals how the combination of an unwavering strategic vision and collaborative technologies including blogs, social networks, twitter and SMS messaging, empowered a formidable online community to elect the world’s first “digital” President.

Also at the MARCOM conference had a chance to hear the “dragon lady” Arlene Dickinson who is quite a dynamo and one of the most powerful marketers in Canada. Her presentation was quite inspiring and she is a great example of the consummate marketer and entrepreneur.

Dickinson is the owner and CEO of Venture Communications, a company whose guiding principle is that marketing be held accountable to business objectives. A 20-year marketing veteran, she grew Venture from a small, local firm to one of the largest independent agencies in Canada. (It’s repeatedly recognized as one of the 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada.) A mother of four, Dickinson is the recipient of the prestigious Pinnacle Award for Entrepreneur Excellence, and has been named one of Chatelaine‘s TOP 100 Women Business Owners. She has also been inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women Top 100 Hall of Fame.

Social media was a hot topic at the MARCOM conference. My colleague Mike Kujawski did a great job , so did the folks from Facebook and Nicholas Charney who works for HRDSC.

On the social marketing I chaired a great workshop on Going Green with Bob Oliver and Brian Shifman. Great to see the environment movement is getting into social marketing. Also Mark Sarner from Manifest Communications  gave an inspiring presentation on social marketing in unprecedented times. Mark feels that a lot of non profits will ” go down the tubes” unless they start becoming more marketing oriented. Also my colleague  Bernie Colterman and Susan Charles from the Association of Canadian Advertisers   presented on importance of corporate engagement and branding your organization.   Also great presentation from Steven Harding from the Canadian Blood Services on integrating marketing into the supply chain model and Nick Noorani of Canadian Immigrant Magazine on ethnic media. Don Hewson and Jocelyne Daw spoke about the importance of Branding and Positioning.Both excellent presentations.

All in all a terrific conference. Next June we are back In the National Capital . Hope to see you there.

Finally we had our article on municipal marketing published in Public SectorDigest Spring 2009 titled Destigmatizing Public Sector Marketing . For more information, see my blog on municipal marketing.

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