It has been a feature of some of the knowledge management conferences and seminars that I have attended over the years to include speaking slots for vendors. The vendor usually uses the speaking opportunity as a spruiking platform. I am not interested in conference presentations being product advertisements.
So it was refreshing to hear this morning that a vendor-run seminar proved to be less about spruiking and more about the broad web 2.0 environment and generating discussion about future developments in that consumer space.
Greg Merkle, vice president and creative director of Dow Jones & Company, gave a terrific presentation on web 2.0 and some thoughts on the future direction of web platforms and standards. Julia Mair, executive director Solutions Marketing from Dow Jones & Company, presented on upcoming developments to the Factiva services, as well as sharing some futuristic insights into possible functionalities.
The first presentation didn’t mention the company at all and stood on its own as a strong piece of thought leadership – congratulations Greg! A knowledgeable and personable style made this presentation an absolute delight. I had a good chat with Greg afterwards and look forward to keeping in touch with him in the future – it was that sort of presentation.
The second presentation was about the product but not in the usual self-serving advertorial style. As such, the presentation came across as being far more authentic and customer-focused – well done Julia! Yes, I know Julia is in marketing but the presentation didn’t come across as just a marketing exercise – it came across as a conversation.
The nub of this post is that authenticity, presentation style, and content delivery can really help induce or hinder trust. My feeling upon leaving the seminar was that I learned quite a bit about the product in the context of a web 2.0 world without really noticing that the seminar was about “the product”. Whether that’s good text book marketing I don’t care, but I certainly have a more positive disposition towards the company and the product than I did before.
And speaking of not spruiking, I decided not to include links in this post on purpose (although I did debate this with myself on the way home this evening).