Last week I was in San Diego to attend my fourth Social Media Marketing World (SMMW). For a whole heap of reasons (time and money being the big two), last September I decided I wouldn’t attend SMMW this year, but would instead buy a virtual ticket.
Then my friend Shelley, who lives in the UK and who I met my first year at SMMW, messaged me to say she had found a great 3-bedroom apartment and did I want to share it with her and a few others? Immediately I said yes, and all my reasons for not attending vanished.
Because she reminded me that the experience of attending SMMW is what makes it so amazing.
It’s a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
It’s getting caught up in the excitement of being at an event with 5,000 other people who are as passionate about social media as I am.
It’s having conversations in the corridor, meeting people in the registration line, having dinner with strangers who then become friends.
It’s having an Australian friend introduce you by email to his American friend who is also attending, and then spending a few hours together sharing ideas that can improve how we both do business.
And yeah, OK, it was also an excellent opportunity to eat some insanely good Mexican food, visit the Amazon Books bookstore and buy a few more books than I could easily squeeze into my suitcase, and to spend two unexpected days hanging out with a friend who moved to LA and whom I’d not seen in two years.
None of these things would have happened if I had stayed home and listened to the recordings after the event.
So I want you to have a think about why people buy from you. Is it only for the product or service you offer, or is it for the experience you provide? As Mark Schaefer said in the closing keynote at SMMW, “a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is.” Loyalty is in decline and 87% of customers shop around.
How can you create an experience that will have your customers raving about you AND returning again and again and again?
PS If you missed out on #SMMW19 this year, never fear, you can still purchase the virtual ticket, which gives you access to all the sessions.