Editor's Note: Join us on 3/24 for a webinar with Daina Middleton as we discuss her latest book and her keynote speech at The Social Shake-Up 2015.
One of the magical things about SXSW is the random meeting of people whom you felt you've known for years but who may have been living in some parallel technology universe (will social networks ever truly replace this experience?). Such a random moment occurred for me at a dinner on Friday hosted by Synthesio where I met Daina Middleton, Head of Global Business Marketing of Twitter.
Among her many accomplishments, Daina is the author of Marketing in the Participation Age, which according to one reviewer provides "a new framework for doing things differently." Her thesis, as I learned at dinner, is that in order for companies to truly connect with customers, they must encourage participation in the entire customer experience - an idea that is at the core of most recent conversations about customer experience.
I'm looking forward to reading the book, available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and via audio. I'm also delighted to announce that Daina will be keynoting The Social Shake-Up in Atlanta, June 9-10. Secure your pass here to join Daina and other great speakers at this year's conference. Buy before this Friday March 20th for the opportunity to save over $500 on your pass.
We interviewed Daina while she was at SXSW in the IBM-sponsored #NewWaytoWork Lounge. The video will be available shortly, but here's the gist of our conversation.
Here's the conversation in a slightly edited version:
ROBIN: Tell me what you mean by the title "Marketing in the Participation Age" and what has changed in three years?
DAINA: In the years since I published the book there's been a shift: Social media is part of everything we do. We have been taught that the focus is on persuasion, but today that's not enough. We need to get people to participate, to take action on behalf of the brand. That action can be done in digital form. Digital transcends the barrier of what's online and what offline.
Can you give me some examples?
First, I'll mention the elements of participation formula: Companies need to provide motivation; to discover and become competent; to empower customers; and to make connections. Mine Craft is a company that does this well. They let their users discover endless possibilities, and when they can, they can create.
Are there differences in cultures?
There are nuances all over the world. There are definitely cultural differences. For example, in Japan, people tweet their reservation to restaurants. There are different uses in different parts of the world.
Can you talk a bit more about the rise of the creation culture?
That's a great example of where technology is going. It enables people to connect with others of the same passion. It's a discovery mechanism.
What are some things you noticed since the book came out?
My last chapter talked about the "Nurturist." The metaphor used for marketing in the past has been war-based, but I present the idea of substituting gardening instead. As evidence of this change, something I would have discussed in more depth if I to wrote the book today would be the testing and learning technique. It's becoming more important to companies, they're investing more in this. I would have also spent more time on authenticity, and how important it is. When we talk about storytelling, it's still telling. We need to have more of a campfire approach. We need to embrace that campfire approach. We need to be enlightened to conversation; it needs to way a two-way, ongoing relationship.
Hear what else Daina has to say at The Social Shake-Up this June in Atlanta. Secure your pass here.
We hope to see you there.