Back in 2007, we were sitting with heads of social media from Dell, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Intuit, and P&G at an event where a hundred vendors were pitching their services.
After six endless hours of almost identical sales pitches, we looked at each other and decided we’d get more value if we turned to each other to get the answers we need. And that was it — the beginning of SocialMedia.org and the Member Meetings we all know and love today.
That day, we walked over to Rudy's Barbecue in Austin, TX, and laid out a plan to create meetings where it's only people leading the programs, who can have conversations that matter with their fellow leaders who have the answers.
We decided that, for those meetings to work, we would have to make sure there were no vendors in the room, nobody selling anything, and no one who wasn’t leading a social media program at their company.
We've maintained that strict criteria since day one. And now, we're headed into our 50th Member Meeting where social media leaders from the world's biggest brands can get the information they need in a confidential, peer-to-peer environment — in, frankly, the huggiest business group you'll ever see.
The secret formula turned out to be:
- Getting the wrong people out of the room (that means no vendors, no sponsors, and no selling).
- Making sure we get the right people in the room. Our meetings are only for senior decision-makers who have jobs like yours and knowledge and experience to share — so whatever you need to talk about, someone in the room has the answer.
- Keeping it simple. Our meetings are centered around a series of conversations where you tell us what you want to talk about, and we make sure it happens.
- Having professional facilitators throughout the meeting so there are no distractions, just great conversations.
- Eating together. Our meetings always start with a meal, so the first thing we do is hand you a plate of food so you can start getting to know your fellow leaders as people first.
These meetings are like family reunions, and it’s incredible to see how the family has grown over the past decade.
Member Meeting 50 will be a big celebration around this community and the amazing work our members do every day. Learn more about the meeting and register here: https://socialmedia.org/community/meetings/mm50/
Hope to see you there!