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By Chris Hislop // Published on Nov 18, 2014

A-Ha! moments. They make you stop and think, don’t they?

I think the biggest A-Ha! moment for me at the Nov. 13 ‘A-Ha!’ Summit, NH’s biggest social media and marketing, conference, came right when I stepped in the event hall doors. That’s when I realized my iPhone storage was zero bytes available, 13.3 GB used.

This wouldn’t be so bad, except for the following:

  • There was an area near the entrance with a live snake to drape around your neck for the perfectly courageous photo op.

  • Lizards, too.

  • A homemade photobooth area created by someone named VeggieGirl.

  • The Twitter-tron, Instagram-atron, MyJoyNote and more.

  • Four male presenters in their Alpine finest (Lederhosen anyone?)

  • PowerPoint images of great tips that would be easier capturing in with a snapshot than a Uniball and paper.

  • And a Guinness Book of World Records certified sword swallower named Roderick.

I’m not going to lie: there was an overwhelming amount of information. Much of it visual. But, some of the tips I was able to take down in my Reporter Notebook (You don’t have one? Get one. It’s so much easier to cover breaking marketing news than paper larger than your finger span.)

Here’s some of what I gleaned in my notebook:

  • Steve Boucher, @SNHUOnCampus, senior director of marketing and communications for Southern New Hampshire University (Fast Company Magazine’s 2012 #1 pick for Most Innovative Education Company in the World), who has been addicted to rock ‘n’ roll ever since Ozzy Osbourne, is a bit of dreamer too, and asked us, what is our legacy?

  • Thanks for a social media vision session with Allen and Lani Voivod, of Epiphanies, Inc, and organizer of the summit, Steve realized he needed to dream bigger and do more. With 31 days to change the world, he conducted a community service project with one of his classes and worked magic with animal shelters.

  • Boucher wants us to realize there is a bad part of social media, and he feels the app Yik Yak represents it. An anonymous platform that is supposed to have a geofence around it near high schools, but anyone can still get on it, it can lead to bullying and harassment.

  • He asked us to dream big, and then sing along to “DayDream Believer” — which we were provided the words in case anyone needed them. I knew them, so, fun.

  • Next up, sword swallower extraordinaire Roderick Russell, @RoderickRussell. Ripley’s Believe it or Not called him one of the world’s most Bizarre and Unusual People.

  • He illustrated with his opening photos of a rock rappelling: “Don’t get too focused on not falling that you forget to climb.”

  • RR also, reiterated the age-old axiom (meaning I’m not sure how long ago this was first announced) “People with Plan B are planning to fail, they just don’t know it.”

  • A quick interlude telling us how much traffic is coming from mobile these days (most of it. Get on that!).

  • Now a chat from the outdoorsy/cool Heather Jackson@HeatherKJackson, the New England Regional development director of Constant Contact.

  • Here’s the thing, you don’t get to decide which device people use to access your content anymore, they do.

  • Want some tips about what to write in your newsletter? Help people get to know like and trust you more, and put that in your newsletter.

  • Write what you know that they don’t.

  • Write what tips and advice you can give to people. For instance, you only open emails that make your life easier.

  • Constant Contact Heather says some good ideas for content include: What happens to your Facebook Page when you die? (Interesting, no doubt!) Tips to being more organized, leading stress free holidays, and more.

  • Heather adds that you should also: Check out magazine teasers, they know what they’re doing.

  • Be funny and give away the farm, give people your tips and show your personality.

Other tidbits:

  • Don’t be boring. (Words to live by.)

  • Read “Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer—Sell Like a Superstar” (one person won a copy.)


    Instagram is the fastest growing app on planet.

  • Set up a visual strategy that people can connect to emotionally and feel when they’re there.

  • , @SueBZimmerman, aka the #InstagramGal and #TheInstagramExpert, shared some of her mastery at Instagram for business. She recommends WordSwag, a great third party app. (When I get more room on my iPhone, I’m going to check it out.)

  • Another recc: A good blog is Razorsocial with Ian Cleary

We viewed the short social media video by Erik Qualman @equalman. It has such gems as:

  • Grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter.

  • A goldfish has a .08 second attention span. A human has a .07 second attention span.

  • The age to join LinkedIn has been lowered to 13.

  • Then came along Nate Lindquist, owner and CEO of Innerspire Companies, life and business results coach, speaker, and author of “The Gifts Formula.” He said that marketing has become overwhelming, distracting, alarming, what do you do with it all?

  • The new definition of marketing is how may I serve you?

  • “It’s better to be first than it is to be best,” Nate Lindquist

Then, two more new-agey sorts, Christina Alexa and Kelly Lang, co-founders of the Live in Love Retreat.

  • We have everything we need on call within ourselves; take time to stop and touch it.

  • Utilize your own automatic technology; live from the inside out.

  • A social media and technology interlude involving the vibration of crystal bowls and questions of how is food going to affect you at cellular level.

  • We were advised to make ourselves the healthiest person we knew; eat clean; Just as I grabbed a Reese’s from the center of the banquet table.

  • You are hard wired with divine circuitry and the advice to follow your gut, nothing wrong with hardwiring, “We’re all the same.” And talk of learning the chakras. Discovering what’s the yes and no in your life; when you’re about to go do something; it’s your intuitive guide; live in trust, requires a tremendous amount of courage.

Last but not least, a panel I like to call the brain trust, but which was billed as the “Online Domination” Panel. Moderated by Ben Bassi (@BenBassi), CEO of CommonPlaces, recently named Best Drupal Developer in America; Panelists included:

  • If you’re going to dominate, you have to have a metric, said Bassi of CommonPlaces.

  • Verrill, from Dyn, said, there are too many KPI’s (key performance indicators) and you get analysis paralysis, Dyn.

  • You just have to be measuring something. If you’re not measuring, your marketing, you’re not going to succeed, said Bassi.

  • What percent organic (left CP) 10 percent at least from social; bounce rate; Keep it simple, but measure something, it will teach you a lot about what you do.

  • Question: How will you sell to millennials? Answer: It has to be more their idea; they are the digital native; they’ll buy from you when they’re ready.

  • Bassi of CommonPlaces spoke of the ice bucket challenge, which raised $100M dollars for Lou Gehrig’s Disease. And there were several exciting outcomes, not the least of which is injection of innovation into nonprofits.

  • Final thoughts: Bassi of CommonPlaces – It used to be that marketing companies all beat their chests and would say how great they were; now it’s all about helping them.

  • @KSkarritt says, “Social Media is like a handful of cherry Jell-O: don’t over handle it or squeeze it.”

And, lastly, A-Ha Summitt 2014 wrapped up with the future.

Talk of Amazon’s Echo, a computer that might be the future in our houses and / @castingcarter, and absolutely adorable young man, who is the future, most certainly, of it all. Plus, he knows how to fish.

I’d highly recommend attending this annual event. As you can see note-taking can be scattershot, but those A-Ha! moments are forever.

"Success means you're going to have better problems. "
- AriWeinzweig

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