One of the highlights of my year was being able to moderate The Future of Corporate Blogging panel at SXSW. Mario Sundar, who was one of the panelists, asked me if I wanted to moderate a panel for him at next year's SXSW. Of course I said yes, and after some brainstorming, we decided on the panel concept.
The panel is titled 'Co-Created Marketing: Embracing Your Customer Evangelists Online'. This panel will focus on who customer evangelists are, why companies should want to embrace and empower them, and HOW they can do this via online tools such as social media. I really think this is an area of marketing that offers huge potential for companies if they can get past their 'OMG! We can't share control of our marketing with our customers!!!' fears. It's happening anyway, and the SMART companies are the ones that are identifying their most passionate customers, and empowering them to promote them.
Ok now we had a kickass topic to discuss, and had one great panelist set as Mario being LinkedIn's first-ever Community Evangelist put him in the perfect place to speak about how companies can better find and embrace their evangelists.
But we needed two more panelists. We started making a list of the people that we wanted on this panel, and two names were our clear favorites. And thankfully, they BOTH have agreed to join us! And they are......
Jackie Huba: The person that literally co-wrote the book on customer evangelism, along with partner Ben McConnell. Jackie also blogs at one of the most popular marketing/business blogs on the planet, The Church of the Customer. The label 'expert' probably gets used too much in this space, but Jackie is a true customer evangelism expert.
Virginia Miracle: Virginia is the current SVP of Digital Strategy at Ogilvy PR’s 360° Digital Influence group. Before that, she shepherded the award-winning Fiskateers crafting ambassador movement, while she was with Brains on Fire. Earlier this week I scored The Fiskateers blog as the highest one I've graded so far in the Company Blog Checkup Series, and the movement is one of the best examples you'll find of a company finding and embracing its customer evangelists.
Mario Sundar, Virginia Miracle, and Jackie Huba. Yeah, now you see why being asked to moderate a panel with these people has me I'm feeling like a kid on Christmas morning! But unfortunately, we still need to get the panel picked. Which is where you can help make that happen. For the next two weeks (ending on Aug 29th), you can vote for this panel at this link. Also, if you can leave a comment on the site, we would GREATLY appreciate that, as SXSW goes by voting and interest in the comments section to help them decide which panel ideas are resonating with potential attendees. Thanks so much!