When three executives from some of the Baltimore region’s most successful companies got together this morning to share “good news” stories about profitability in the face of a recession, they also took the time to share thoughts about marketing.
And no, they didn’t talk trade shows, direct mail campaigns and press releases.
Try Facebook, Twitter and blogging strategies as the tools they’re focusing on, even if it’s to monitor what customers – and competitors – are doing, linking to, following and saying.
The Greater Baltimore Tech Council event, “Who’s Growing in 2009?” was emceed by Art Jacoby (in photo above, left) featuring Tim Lorello, SVP and chief marketing officer for Telecommunication Systems, Inc. (also known as TCS), Michele Perry, chief marketing officer of Sourcefire, and Todd Johnson, president of Salar, Inc. (right). All three companies are in a strong growth mode, and marketing plays an important role.
But a pleasant surprise of the morning – at least for me – came when they talked about their use of social media and its emerging importance to their businesses. This was no social media how-to workshop where you’d expect that kind of talk. This was a business event and these unsolicited comments about social media’s value came straight from execs in the trenches.
Perry called this a time for “lots of learning and tracking…and numbers to watch” when it comes to social media, with time spent listening to what’s being said about Sourcefire and the industry. She also shared a powerful anecdote of the firm’s success with media interviews as a result of prompt response to Tweets by reporters needing sources for stories. “It all happens within half an hour,” emphasized Perry.
Lorello also acknowledged its importance and talked of winning awards, which leads to news coverage, which leads to results on the search engines, still the most important player in online marketing. Meanwhile, Salar, Inc. has a Facebook page (including pix from a recent Paintball outing) and a Twitter account, but the most efficient use of Web 2.0 tools are the industry blogs that have “10 times more credibility” than other sources, according to Johnson.
“It’s a wonderfully cheap way to market directly to our audience,” he said.
Before the Q and A session got underway, Jacoby, a notable business consultant, proclaimed that “social media is the next giant.”
P.S. Check out the blog post about the event written by Baltimore Sun tech reporter Gus Sentementes. It’s on his new blog just launched this week, BaltTech.