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WOMMA – move beyond commercial results and just do good for consumers

Sharyn Smith -  Founder and CEO of Social Soup
By Sharyn Smith  //  Thu 21st November 2013
Between 18-20 November, Sharyn Smith, Director and founder of The Influence Group and CEO of Social Soup attended *WOMMA in Nashville, USA. 

Here she shares some of the highlights from day one…

WOMMA – move beyond commercial results and just do good for consumers 

The keynote trilogy:

It’s a hard gig opening a conference and an even harder gig when you are one of three keynotes, but author of New York Times bestseller ‘Youtility, Jay Baer, kicked off with a bang.  His talk, about the difference between selling and ‘helping’, was an incredibly powerful performance, full of valuable nuggets for brands. He started off by stating that ‘Youtility’ was a marketing tool so useful, that people would actually begin paying for it. Imagine a world like that? He backed it up with a great example from IKEA Europe:

On a particular day in one European city a lot of people change apartments – the leases are all aligned for some particular reason. IKEA decided to play a role in the day by providing free moving boxes on every street corner. They built large box pyramids across the whole city to help people with their move. They weren’t selling anything; they were just providing ‘utility’ (or help). The results from this initiative lead to a 24.7% sales increase for that period of the year.

Jay believes that to deliver true utility to customers we must really understand their needs and this is one of the biggest challenges marketers face today. He claims that we are surrounded by data but starved of insights. I’m with Jay on this one. 


Our second keynote speaker took a different approach to engaging people (including the audience with his thumping music and strobe lighting!). Dez Dickerson is all about creating the ‘fan effect’. Dez, who runs an entertainment business in Tennessee, believes brands should understand how great rock bands have built audiences to be successful in their marketing. 

He likened a brand’s relationship with that of a band and their audience. (He also played some good music to help combat the jetlag, which was beginning to kick in). “Think about the lengths people go to for a favourite band and mirror those emotional triggers – these are the connections you want to create for your brand. Unleash human passion and your brand will always have an audience.” Rock on Dez!


Lastly, we heard from Geno Church, Chief Inspiration Officer of Brains On Fire. Geno recently spoke at our inaugural Influence Group event so I had an idea on what was coming, but it was still so darn good.

Geno stressed the importance of injecting passion into our conversations with customers and that we shouldn’t be happy with just a ‘like’ – we need to be loved. According to Geno, anyone in the marketing game today is actually in the people business and we need to understand what motivates people to build real communities.


Day 1 ended with a bit of Soul, with a presentation from YouTube superstars and media company, ‘SoulPancake’. 

CEO Shabnam Mogharabi relayed a few sobering statistics - YouTube receives 800 million visitors monthly, with over six billion hours watched every month. That’s an hour for every human on this planet! Half of the audience is also12-17 years olds. Shabnam’s take away was to stick to content that’s uplifting and inspirational. 

So, to wrap up day one, it’s been all about transcending selling and creating real value for people. It’s about moving beyond the commercial outcomes and having this strong vision about what you do and why you do it for the good of people.  Money will follow. Stay tuned for day two’s highlights.

*WOMMA is an organisation advancing the practice of word-of-mouth marketing across the world. Founded in 2004, WOMMA is the leader in ethical word of mouth marketing practices through its education such as WOMMA Summit, professional development opportunities, and knowledge sharing with top industry marketers. 
Sharyn Smith
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