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MMA luncheon: social networking, Neptune Awards

FORT LAUDERDALE - As industry players feel their way through incorporating social media such as Facebook and Twitter into effective business tools, those attending the annual Marine Marketers of America Fort Lauderdale luncheon Thursday were told to stay engaged and be careful.

"As marketers, we're used to pushing out good news, but you need to take the good with the bad," said keynote speaker Carl Blackwell, chief marketing officer for the National Marine Marketers Association.

Blackwell's presentation focused on the benefits associated with the immediacy, and interaction with customers that come from maintaining Facebook pages, posting commentary on blogs and forums, uploading video on YouTube, and "tweeting" on Twitter.

When successfully executed, companies "go where their customers are," can cull responses for valuable information about their company or product and promptly respond to customers' concerns or compliments.

But they have to accept that the two-way online street can be exploited, Blackwell said. He presented a video posted on YouTube of two Domino's Pizza employees making a pizza incorporating a number of unsanitary ingredients. The employees were fired and now face legal action, but the CEO was forced to make a public apology amid concern for lost trust in the company name.

An NMMA Grow Boating video was "mashed" by a war activist who incorporated the pleasant boating video with graphic war video as a protest and posted that on YouTube. After monitoring the responses and seeing "99 percent were in our defense," the organization made the decision to let the video stay online.

"We want to track every social engagement," Blackwell said. "It takes time, but we need to stay engaged."

In other news, Blackwell presented the four winning entries in NMMA's "I Discovered Boating" video contest and said each of the four will be featured in 2010 marketing promotions. Each winner also won $10,000.

Also, Sally Helm, MMA awards program chair, announced the winners of the annual Neptune Awards for marketing excellence:

  • The Moorings: Best National Magazine Ad-Spread and Best Product Literature
  • Glen Raven Custom Fabrics: Best National Magazine Ad-Full Page
  • Beneteau USA: Best E-Mail Blast
  • Kadey-Krogen: Best Print Newsletter
  • Grady-White: Best Marketing Innovation

Look for more on the event in the December issue of Soundings Trade Only.

- Rich Armstrong

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