Chartered Marketing’s oxymoron

I recently attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing event, ‘Communication for profitable customer relationships.’ I wasn’t going to post about it, but the best speaker of the day (Dr Neil Hair) blogged about it and I wanted to join him.

The day’s speakers were good, although Prof. Ballantyne from New Zealand was probably too academic for the business audience that (I felt) were looking for pointers, advice and ideas. But you kind of get the feeling that organisers of this ilk are pleased simply with bums on seats, not the strength of the message (i.e. the product). As the registration fills, you can almost feel the sense of relief as it becomes more about the number of paid attendees, than it does about the transfer of thoughts – surely the aim of the day.

The day was filled with references to Web 2.0, but it smacked of double standards: there wasn’t a video camera in sight. Where is the ‘sharable’ content following the event: speakers’ slides and notes, videos, discussion boards/walls, wikis, blog posts with comments? The exclusive network opportunity? Where is the follow up on a full room of highly interested (we’d paid to attend) business people? For an organisation that sells education, what does the CIM recommend for the attendees in line with what they heard on the day?

The idiots’ guide to marketing starts with ‘where’s the call to action’ so I stop myself anytime I’m about to say that, but the CIM really needs it said to itself. Personally, I’d have at least put a video running in the breaks, touting my wares with half a dozen CIM faces helping delegates ‘buy in’ to the institute and its offerings.

It all adds to my confusion with this organisation. They have a goliath website, but I cannot discover anything worth investigating amongst the plethora of PDFs (and yes, I have had paid access). Compare that to the content at the Marketing Profs site (or the more obvious FT and BBC business) where you could easily lose a day, or even a week, swimming in first-rate discovery and intellect.

Bang goes my chances of a Branch Chair offer now but I’ll say it again, TED is where the bar is for this type of event and the CIM should be striving toward them.

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