My experience at last week’s 2012 mid-year PIMA meeting  was insightful, thought-provoking and, of course, enjoyable. The meeting started off with my favorite analyst from Forrester, Ellen Carney.  She pointed out great insights about mobile marketing, and what we should be on the watch for as they relate to insurance.  For instance, she pointed out that over one billion apps are being downloaded every month and augmented reality is… err, a reality. The present day is “Back to the Future” (because 2012 is the year they went to in the movie)!

Randa Zalman from Redstone also shared some great practical tips on social media and ways to be successful with a social media effort.  Tips include building a super team to head up the social effort – as your online presence isn’t a function of your IT Department, it is a marketing function; also, be sure to include HR.  In other words…don’t do all of your work in a silo! Think across departments and get people together to form synergy.  She also suggested some basic tips for daily awareness building around social media.  For instance, while you are mindlessly skimming status updates from “friends” on Facebook, take a minute to scope out competitor pages or relevant other businesses to see what is happening.  Also, one of my biggest pet peeves was validated– DO NOT USE ALL CAPS in your communications! Nobody wants to be “yelled at!” At the end of the day, it’s all about encouraging/fostering relationships.  Be social!

After such a powerful kick-off, we were fortunate to hear actual applications and success stories from our own members in a panel followed by a social media lab where we were able to delve into more detail on a few of the campaigns.  I’d say PIMA “gets it” and realizes that by sharing our experiences, campaign efforts, challenges, and successes, we can all get even better and smarter as new media evolves. 

Of course, we were all feeling pretty smart and on track to be leaders until our fantastic keynote speaker, Scott Klososky, started his presentation on technology.  I jotted down so many thoughts, ideas, applications, it’s a blog for another day.  Let’s just say, he reminded us to have a vision and think about not what the people want, but what they need. 

Overall, this was a terrific conference, and we are already looking forward to the annual meeting to be held Feb 7-10, 2013 in San Diego! Thanks to PIMA and all of the member organizations involved!