Three things Chris Brogan didn’t teach me.

I had the distinct pleasure, also known as had my socks rocked off, last Thursday to hear Chris Brogan speak at a local Social Media Club of Dallas event hosted by (see corporate plug here): @tripcase.

I won’t list off the five or ten things I learned at this event – tens of others have already done that quite well.

Instead, I’ll list the three things Chris Brogan didn’t teach me and leave the inverted learning process up to each of you.

1. Nice guys finish last… aka close to MySpace on any list of 2010 social media “must-dos.”

Maybe he is the best actor in the world, or simply has spoken at so many darn events over the years that Chris’s ability to make even the guy hiding in the corner to “be seen” in the same light as even the loudest social mediologists in attendance is uncanny. He makes you feel at home, while proclaiming boldly that you don’t have to be a creepy networker or a sales douche to be successful and to make meaningful, lasting connections.

Instead, he charges you to do something quite different with an eloquence, wit and humble naivete that not many of even the most experienced speakers in the marketing world have ever been gifted with the ability to do. It leaves you wanting more, while still giving you enough to take action as immediately as that evening at home in front of your humble computer… your megaphone, your platform to connect with and truly “see” others as this “nice guy” has implored you to do.

And all of it, at the end of the day, has left him with what I consider to be a significant level of success… and finishing last is quite the opposite of what Brogan has done while keeping friends – good friends – all along the way.

2. The point-of-sale is where it’s at, biotch.

Simply because we have full business units that contain “Point-of-Sale” in their names makes #2 an interesting pillar of my business that even I have to read twice to question.

However, what Brogan pointed out about 3/4 of the way through his discussion last Thursday was that POS may have more meaning similar to what it did when it was used to refer to my first crappy car versus a product cornerstone of my business today. For me the light bulb went off when he said something I have heard a million times – be with your customers and build trust before the sale. It’s not the point-of-sale that matters… it’s the point-of-need.

Certainly, there are times when this may be the same thing, but if we pigeon-hole ourselves into thinking point-of-sale first as our religion, we most assuredly will miss the moving target that is point-of-need somewhere along the way. I’m worried to think there are projects where this is happening even as I type…

3. It’s about stickiness & brand recognition. Not the almighty $crilla.

For the love of all that is good and holy, THANK YOU for someone with the right platform finally saying this. I think I may have been one of the only greedy marketers in the audience whose laugh didn’t wreak of uncomfortable “oh my God he’s talking to me!” vocal cracks after he called us all out for pursuing followers over dollars.

In my company, I’m used to being the nemesis in the group who has to use self-depricating humor any time I put what I call my “Cruella” hat on in meetings with my company’s creatives… but I have no choice, because I’m also the person who has to answer to the keko keepers of the scrilla upstairs.

Maybe it’s my MBA that beat it into me, because I’m certain that in my old ad agency days I wasn’t even close to being “that” person. But today, I proudly am. Always with ridicule and my virtual “so not cool enough to be a hipster” sign following close in-tow.

For once, though, someone everyone respects and admires finally validated the intent with which Cruella continues to be so uncool with a simple, sweeping statement of “Daddy don’t eat followers.”

No, Daddy don’t. And Daddy is fortunate that the future marketing leaders of Dallas are being called out on this early… and really, not even early. If we’re lucky, this is just in time.

Followers, friends and fans are only means to an end. And that end, when it comes to any for-profit business, is… wait for it… PROFIT.

To my peers in marketing, please don’t dare stop doing what you do best, but you better frickin’ believe that the day of social media monetization reckoning is coming soon, and a shoddy Google Analytics PDF most certainly won’t satisfy that reaper.

If you live in the glorious world of ad agency beer carts and pool tables, your experience in marcomm execution and creative marketing problem-solving couldn’t be more valuable. I attribute much of my success as a marketer to the skills I picked up during that time in my career and I’ve never worked with more inspiring people. But I strongly recommend that, while continuing to hurdle over fiery marketing chasms for your clients, you also begin bursting your own bubble. And do it now.

Surround yourself with entrepreneurs, with people who live and die on that shiny green, rent-paying, payroll-enabling dollar. Talk to people at large corporations to whom marketing = what Brogan reminded us it used to be, way back in the day – a way to increase sales. Begin your creative problem-solving in the future with the end-goal no longer as just followers and traffic, but with the serious question of “how can this translate into an almighty, editable dollar in the short, mid and long-term?”

I went to this event as a Chris Brogan observer, and I left as a fan.

He’s real. He’s genuine. And he loves lacing his speeches with enough sarcasm and off-beat humor to hold my attention. How my attention will one day feed the Brogan $crilla Reaper is up to Chris… but until then, I’m listening. I’m reading. I’m following. I’m friending. I’m being seen.

Thanks, @chrisbroganand @mikedmerrillof @smcdallas again for the best speaking event I have been to in months.



7 thoughts on “Three things Chris Brogan didn’t teach me.

  1. Colin Alsheimer says:

    Enjoyed your take on the Chris Brogan recap post. The three points you mentioned are what I would imagine a traditional marketer might stress in a marketing presentation. Thanks for coming out to the event, hope you can make it to future events!

  2. Sarah Kennedy Ellis says:

    My ‘traditional’ side says thanks, Colin! 😉 Hope to make it to many of your events in the future – amazing job again on putting this one together.

  3. Nick Brown says:

    Love your writing style, but more importantly, the poignant lessons you communicated that weren’t just out-of-can Brogan worship. The social media ROI question is dogging many clients since they want a clear line between social media engagement and profitability but don’t have the "big-picture" mindset to conceptualize how it’s possible. Separately, please use the term $crilla in all future posts, ODB would be proud.

  4. eradke says:

    If I caught this correctly you are saying that money is more important than followers?I have read this multiple times said by multiple "successful" social media people. Only to see them comment on everyone of their comments. Hmmm…. This leads me to conclude the following.They are full of crap and "we care about money not followers" is about softening the blow of the reader/follower when approached to buy something. Seriously it takes a bunch of time to reply to each of them and not only reply say something intelligent that looks positively on their brand. The only way money is more important than followers today is if you need to feed yourself, your family, or employees. I realize this is probably never been argued because it does seem ludacris but I am new school and never thought my activities would never bring me something. IE money, social equity, escapism, etc.. But serious @chrisbrogan if it really is about the money then please stop commenting and reply on blog posts. Use your time more wisely.

  5. Sarah Kennedy Ellis says:

    Thanks so much for your comments, Nick! Seems like there are so many marketers who have generated such great success in terms of SM engagement, yet their keen expertise in this area after years of perfecting the art is precisely the reason they don’t have the bigger-picture monetization skills to take it all of the way home. They’ve been too busy kicking ass at engagement to have time to hone both, and without the first, the second isn’t relevant… but without the second, the first won’t continue to be funded.And so it goes. Classic chicken vs. egg… and likely drives all marketers crazy at least once each day.Personally, I’ve spent more time on monetizing the results of great engagement at this point in my career, but rely on geniuses like @marcelosomers to pick up the slack for me in terms of fundamental engagement success if there’s anywhere I’m lacking. Maybe it’s Gladwell’s <a href="">Outliers principle of 10,000 hours</a>… so maybe there’s hope that once we all have spent our 10K practicing both, this issue won’t be an issue at all… and the $crilla will flow like a 40 at an ODB party circa 1998.

  6. Sarah Kennedy Ellis says:

    Thanks for spurring on healthy debate on this topic, eradke. I certainly can’t speak for Brogan. But what I am saying is, at an enterprise-level, there not only needs to be, but should be a plan for how those followers translate into something positive for your brand."Something positive" specifically defined runs the gamut, but always, always, always at its end point for any for-profit company, results in additional dollars to your bottom line. On the surface, the metrics produced by more followers may not immediately translate to money. But connecting the dots should lead you to a place that does.For example, reduced customer service inbound calls that currently cost you $8 a pop… or increased brand awareness, which translates into your product being included in a buyer’s consideration set to purchase, and eventually your product as their end-buy decision…Or click-throughs to your company’s blog and/or site, where you have strategically placed targeted ad placements and thus monetized at $8/CPM.At the end of the day, I couldn’t possibly make the statement that money is more important than followers, because that wouldn’t make sense. It’s a cause and effect relationship versus a one-to-one comparison, and both are – and if they aren’t, should be – ensuring the other continues to grow.

  7. Brett Duncan says:

    First things first: you deserve mad props for referencing "ODB" and "40" in a post on marketing. Second, I had the same urge to jump and pump my fist Arsenio-style when Brogan underscored the fact that you still gotta make money, and get something in return for your time. That’s what businesses do: they make money. Heck, that’s even what charities do (they just give it away as soon as they get it). Of course, the metrics get a little fuzzy depending on who is doing the measuring. Some people want a more direct link from time in engagement to dollars. I’m new to your blog, so you might’ve covered this in a previous post, but I’d love to get your tips on measuring and managing true ROI with online tools. bd@bdunc1

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