I’ll be attending Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit the next two days — “an exclusive two-day event that brings together executives in social media and conversational marketing for a frank, real-world discussion around pressing issues, beckoning opportunities, and lessons learned.”
While I hate the term “social media“, I like FM’s “Conversational Marketing” approach and think they’re headed in the right direction with their recent decision to shift their focus from online advertising to developing custom and strategic marketing programs.
It’s a necessary shift that all publishers are going to need to make to stay relevant (not to mention solvent), but online players like FM are much better positioned to make that shift quicker than their print-centric competitors who are buried deeply under inefficient infrastructures and are carrying loads of debt from the go-go days of highly leveraged, ill-conceived mergers and acquisitions.
One of the things that really stood out for me in the new media vs. traditional publishing dustup at SXSW earlier this year was the apparent lack of participation by traditional media types at these kinds of foward-thinking conferences. Meanwhile, the level of cluelessness and/or self-serving hype about new media on display at the more traditional conferences is astounding.
It’s a loss for both sides of the aisle as there’s a ton of relevant experience in traditional media that is often lacking on the new media side, and a ton of enthusiasm and innovation happening in new media that is especially lacking on the traditional side. I see myself as someone straddling the fence, comfortable with both sides and wanting to see them come together, both for my own career’s benefit, as well as for that of the publishing industry I’m so inexplicably passionate about helping survive.
I’m attending on my own dime, something I haven’t done for a career-related conference since… well, come to think of it, ever.