There are a couple of interesting events coming up in Toronto that I’ll be participating in.

MeshMarketing

The folks that organize the excellent Mesh Conference have added a new conference this year focused on online marketing called MeshMarketing happening on Oct 22nd in Toronto.  I’ve been asked to moderate a panel discussion around the topic of how Digital, Advertising, and PR agencies differ in their approach to social media.  I’ve got my own set of opinions on this topic but I’m interested in yours – give me some quick (and anonymous) feedback on your thoughts by clicking here. No seriously, I’m only asking for 200 measly characters – DO IT NOW! Also this conference will sell out so if you are planning on going, I would buy a ticket quickly.

ProductCamp

The second ProductCamp Toronto is happening on Sunday and I’m looking forward to it.

What I love the most about ProductCamp is it’s probably the only time you get to mix with a large group of product management people.  While there seems to be a marketing event every week (particularly with a PR/advertising/social media focus), events for product folks are few and far between.

There’s still space so if you’re interested you can register here.  You can follow the Twitter stream related to this event by watching #pct2.

**Update**

I’m getting some pretty interesting feedback about the MeshMarketing panel.  Here are some of the comments:

  • They differ and that’s good.  The integration of all disciplines/agencies makes the most sense because all have strengths that intersect the social media space:insights, strategy, creative, relationships.
  • PR firms “get it” more because social media is aligned with their approach (i.e. contact influencers, get them to re-tell stories, etc.). As agencies don’t get it because they are trying to “push” social media.
  • PR and Ad Agencies each offer different value adds.  By collaborating, clients get best of breed recommendations as to how best to embrace/leverage social media.
  • PR tried to buy bloggers and fake ratings/postings that endorse products on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Advertising agencies see social media sites as just another place to display advertising.
  • PR has a bias toward dialogue with their audience.  While both types of agencies seek to entice and engage, PR seems more pre-disposed to two-way conversations.
  • In my opinion, Ad agencies are not integrating, it’s still a price-based short sighted approach.  PR is much more practical and sensitive to social media realities.  PR agencies have a longer term approach and are more customer-focused
  • Companies need to stop outsourcing social media!  This needs to be done on the client side and companies that are expecting their PR agency to do this stuff are not taking it seriously enough.  Customer relationships cannot be outsourced.
  • Key messages (branding) are (should) be the same – how each execute the
    messages traditionally different. If now they both use the same
    “social” media, then there is no difference (except for skill).
  • I’ve heard – and strongly agree with – the belief that PR practitioners
    are best suited to excel in the space because uncontrolled
    communication is our expertise. Looking forward to the debate!
  • Many PR agencies seem overly-focused on the buzz they generate from
    using social media (1,000 followers: whoopee we’re like Obama!), and
    less so on integrated strategy that drives outcomes.

Whew, seems like people have some opinions here.  Looking forward to the panel!

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