Today I had the pleasure of meeting Jackie Huba in person. Jackie of course is co-author of Citizen Marketers and Creating Customer Evangelists not to mention co-owner of Church of the Customer along with Ben McConnell. OK, now that I got all the formalities out of the way--here is what you really need to know. Jackie and I had a really nice, relaxed conversation at a local Starbucks in north Chicago. Obviously we chatted about our respective blogs, Jackie and Ben's books and our personal experiences in the space, but mostly we just talked about what was going on in our lives. I even got to see a picture of "Mini", possible the cutest toy poodle pup around (having owned a Boxer in the past, I'm more of a big dog guy--so this is a huge compliment).
But here's the thing. I've been fortunate enough to meet lots of folks lately at conferences and stuff. Designers, bloggers, designers who blog, journalists, businesspeople, city representatives etc. I've been "networking" as they say. But there is one thing I've discovered through all of this.
There is no substitute for one-on-one conversation.
What do think my biggest take away from our afternoon was? Did I "pick Jackie's brain"? Did I find out the secret to writing a successful business book?
Nah. Not really.
My favorite part of the afternoon was that Jackie and I unplugged for a bit and talked about whatever was on our minds at that moment. Well, there was a very brief demo of Twitter mobile performed by yours truly--but that was the only time either of us looked at a screen. Today I found out that Jackie loves her Mini (both car and canine), Ben loves the color Silver (Jackie likes Red) and one thing that we have in common aside from blogs and time spent at interactive agencies is that we're not the most effective self promoters. But that's where the idea of citizen marketers comes in. Create something that is worth talking about and you don't have to market yourself. Your community will do it for you.
Well, I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know. But the nice thing about having your community do your marketing is this:
When you don't have to market yourself, it frees you up for the things that actually matter more. Like sitting down and enjoying a cup of iced coffee over some casual conversation in good company. I'll take that over marketing any day.