The end of day one was a very interesting forum. I missed the opening remarks but here is what I took away:
The Web 2.0 Equation: Community and Viral Effects:
Mike Edelhart, CEO, LiveDeal; Matt Howard, CEO, SMBLive; Darren Waddell, VP, MerchantCircle
Do-it-yourselfers (diy) unite! These business believe that the diy is strong business model and the timing is right. Matt Howard said, the current economy with folks wanting to spend less and in addition to the rise of the social web, will definitely help move to the diy.
In addition to diy there is the building of communities online which MerchantCircle and many others are doing. Using the leverage relationship local business has with other local companies to bring them online. “Hey I use xyz site it is pretty cool, you should too” This can be a very powerful tool and it bringing a lot of people online.
Leveraging Print and Online:
Brian Kraff, CEO, Market Hardware; Paul Ryan, CEO, DoneRight; Josh Walker, CEO, CityVoter
Traditional media is not dead and still plays a large role in helping building online traffic and marketing avenues.
This last section was very interesting. There was a panel of three “real” small business and four companies (listed below). The small business spoke a little about what they were doing online and then the business were to try to sell their services to them.
The conclusions after the meeting was that the businesses on the panel did not do that great a job explaining or selling. Now in their defense they only had 7 minutes. The one business which seemed to speak the most was Rick Cook, Founder of Treasure Islands of Santa Cruz (here is a free link for you Rick!).
Rick is a real diy-he said spending 16 hours a day many times working online. His problem as with the other “real” business folks is that they did not understand all of the subtleties of online marketing, needed help, needed information, and a helping hand.
Rick was very money conscious and did most of the offline marketing himself. (I totally can relate to that). Rick said one thing that stood out to me:
“need to feel like there is hope for me”
This is critical. Small business need to be educated and empowered to know and somewhat control what or how their business is being marketed online. None of these “real” business folks really wanted to do the work themselves but wanted someone to work and talk WITH him, not AT them.
Marketing Business Panel: Todd Crandell, COO, Metrix4Media; Court Cunningham, CEO, Yodle; Travis Fore, Senior VP, Sales & Service, Network Solutions, LLC; John Keister, President and COO, Marchex
“Real” Business folks Panel: Rick Cook, Founder, Treasure Islands of Santa Cruz; Adam Simms, President and GM, Sunnyvale Toyota; Galen Workman, Marketing Director, Sterck Kulik Neill Accounting Group, Inc.