A new approach brought new energy to last month’s PMDA monthly meeting, a practice the 70-year-old imaging industry organization has been conducting for years.
A move to an early 9 a.m. kickoff along with a restructuring of the presentation format injected some new life into the event held at the Yale Club in New York recently.
Labeling the presentation The PMDA Educational Series, the initial offering was titled, “Social Networking: Building a Winning Strategy for Photo.” Moderator John Bell, the managing director of 360 Digital Influence, a WOM (word of mouth) marketing firm, kicked off the proceedings by reminding those in attendance “just how social the world of media has become.”
Bell added, with regard to tapping into the social media world, that it’s not simply about jumping in for the sake of taking part. “It’s about finding affinity groups within this world that you can offer imaging services to. Find out their deeper interests, become part of their conversations and then offer them solutions that speak to their passions.”
“Don’t think cathedral,” he also warned. “Think in smaller bits and pieces. You’ll miss too many interesting possibilities if you think too big right away with social media.”
Along with Bell on the panel was Joshua Rahn, a director of sales for Facebook in New York. Rahn spoke about how the power behind social media lies within the fact it involves people’s family and closest friends.
“Before anyone makes a major purchase in their lives, the first people they turn to are their best friends or family to discuss it,” he began. “Social media allows retailers and manufacturers to leverage that power. They can be involved in that part of the equation now.”
Rahn also spoke of where the value truly lies for social media as a marketing tool. “When you make the experience more personal and more social, you also make it much more valuable to the consumer,” he added.
Jory Des Jardins, a co-founder of BlogHer, a online blogging community for women, explained how important drilling down and finding niche communities is in the social network world.
“HP has been great at this. For instance, they found groups of women on our site that are really into preparing food. They found a way to offer them opportunities to take pictures of the dishes they prepared and to create photo products off of this passion they have. They did the same with a group of scrapbookers,” she explained.
Des Jardins added that the key was, “Not to focus on product, but instead look for the potential connection point first. Find out what the community you’re looking at is all about and what they might be looking for,” she explained. “Then you introduce your solution.”
John Andrews, who formerly worked for Walmart on emerging media trends, spoke about “reversing the marketing flow,” explaining, “A restaurant here in New York, Carmine’s, is using social media to let their customers pick the specials on the menu each week. It’s that kind of involvement that we think is key. At Walmart, we are re-tweeting consumer tweets on Twitter. If they walked into a location and took a picture of a toaster they got for $5.95 and tweeted about it, we’re reposting that and they love it. This is a great example of reversing of the flow.” Andrews currently is a managing partner for a marketing company called Collective Bias.
Flickr’s senior architect joined the panel as well. Kellan Elliot-McCrea closed the session by urging retailers and manufacturers to begin realizing, “That these social network sites are places that you know your customers are gathering, where they are paying attention. They love these sites so they become a great place to engage them and provide them with solutions—once you dig in and find what solutions they are looking for.”
PMDA plans to continue with its Educational Series with the next scheduled topic: “How Consumers Are Reacting to Today’s Technology.” For more information and to make reservations for future meetings, contact Gen Christo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (732) 679-3460.