I saw several postings online on Yahoo's Citizen 2.0 conference including this one from Michael Bassik. You can get the details from Michael's post, but for me a veteran of almost every one of these summit's that Yahoo has put on since 2001, I really enjoyed it. Let me quickly explain why...
- The research that Yahoo gathers is industry leading. They get the brightest and the best in the field to work on the research and then do a phenomenal job of analyzing it. Always have and always will, I hope.
- I go into meetings of these types with the hopes of learning 1 or 2 special jewels and once again I did. Jackie who works with me at Connell Donatelli turned to me during the conference and asked "What are you writing?". I answered, "Whatever pops into my head and then later on I'll figure out what it means." I've done every Yahoo Summit this way. Circa 2002 I started figuring out how to go after existing customers using cookies.
- I learned a lot listening to Karl Rove especially when it comes to political campaigns and tactics needed to have a candidate win. Whether you think political strategists "get it or not" that's who we internet strategists have to deal with and Rove did win 2 Presidential campaigns so clearly he knows how to win with or without the internet.
- Senator Cleland was very entertaining and very impressive. Does he know a lot about the internet? He believed that blogs are a little too, well, vulgar and nasty and that you can find a lot of porn online. However, imagine being a member or consultant on a campaign of someone like him. What challenges come to mind of convincing him to use the net or not.
Like it or not, Rove and Cleland are good examples of what consultants can expect out of the vast majority of strategists, campaign managers, and candidates that are out there right now. Would I rather have someone on my side that "gets it?" Well it does make my life easier, but I'd rather help someone win an election and use the internet as much as we can to get that goal met. Every client we have uses the internet in totally different strategies. Remember as much as we don't want to believe it there are millions and millions of people who don't respond to paid ads, banner ads, or email and only respond to direct mail and the ads on the 5 o'clock news.
The biggest critique of the conference was the same one I've had a past Yahoo Summits - the research is great, but how do I find these people online or in databases? I need something actionable not theoretical profiles based on the research. It reminds me of an answer that I gave my former Yahoo Sales Exec when she asked me about the research at the Yahoo Summit on Women. I replied "if you can tell a man how to find women that meet his target, then truly you are sitting on the Holy Grail of male-female relationships.
P.S. I really hated that Yahoo called the special profile of voters Citizen 2.0. The "2.0" is getting so played out its starting to bug me. I think I'll scream "Enough 2.0" the next time I hear a new term with 2.0 on the end of it.