First Online Marketing Colombia Meetup a Success
On behalf of myself and Gabriel, thanks to everyone who attended the first Online Marketing Colombia Meetup on Thursday! We had a great turnout with 20 of us in attendance. It was great meeting everyone and discussing how we can accelerate adoption of online media tools in Colombia. Aside from thoroughly enjoying the vibrancy of the group, I was greatly impressed by the caliber of knowledgeable professionals and the excellent suggestions.
From the outset, the environment was loose and conducive to a productive conversation as well as truly enjoyable time. I felt that we all genuinely enjoyed each other’s company as the conversation had a mixture of serious discussion as well as humorous moments with spontaneous laughter. Obviously, this is also an opinionated group (as it should be) and everyone won’t always be in agreement, but it was a great start.
Even though my choice of venue left a lot to be desired (quite noisy), we had a great time and were able to discuss a variety of topics. There are a number of specifics with respect to areas for improvement in the Colombian market. We were able to share a number of experiences where a gap needs to be filled in order to accelerate market adoption. There were quite a few anecdotes that informed the group of experiences in different segments of the market. Also, we identified a definite difference between the dynamics with larger companies (many of which engage with agencies) and the dynamics with small and medium businesses each with there unique challenges.
In terms of solutions, these revolve around two key components: 1) Needs on the part of potential customers (e.g., understanding of online marketing and the business benefits, confidence in local suppliers, etc.) and 2) Needs on the part of service providers (e.g., training, networking, certifications, etc.). These challenges are solvable and we were in agreement that it behooves us to get together and develop solutions conjointly so that the market will grow in a healthy direction and create a multitude of opportunities for our customers as well as our companies.
It was important that we were able to combine the free flow of ideas and experiences with a concrete initiative (Social Media Week) so that we can start executing on needs we see in the market. It was exciting to get feedback on the Social Media Week initiative and find the intense interest from the group and the fact that some members have already been talking to potential sponsors. There was general agreement on the need for more of these types of events in order to evangelize online marketing to the market and most were extremely interested in being a part of such an initiative (whether it be SMW or another).
Finally, we agreed that we need to make this get-together an ongoing event. The perception among the group was that, instead of an institutional body, we were uniting committed professionals dedicated to quality, execution and an open exchange of ideas. That kind of energy and interest is something we need to take advantage of and channel into well thought out solutions that will advance the market and allow us to have a good time in the process.