4 Important Lessons from #SMMW15

Social Media Marketing World 2015 – 4 Important Lessons

We recently attended Social Media Marketing World 2015 in beautiful San Diego. What a fantastic event!

Congratulations to Mike Stelzner has his entire team for coordinating an incredible conference. It was fun, friendly, action-packed, exciting, informative, and hosted in a wonderful venue. What else could one ask for?

The conference had an extraordinary number – over 130 – of inspirational speakers, each providing their unique insights into how to succeed with Social Media Marketing.

This post contains what I think are 4 Important Lessons from #SMMW15 that I learned from Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, Lee Odden and Mark W. Schaefer.

Welcome to Social Media Marketing World 2015

Welcome to Social Media Marketing World 2015

Mike was a charming and gracious host (who definitely knows how to throw a party – have you ever been to a cocktail party on the flight-deck of an aircraft carrier!?), and was always willing to have a conversation with anyone who came up to say “Hi”.

Ian and Elke Clarke with Mike Stelzner at SMMW15

Ian and Elke Clarke with Mike Stelzner at SMMW15


Lesson 1: Pat Flynn on the Importance of MasterMind Groups

Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income fame, gave an incredible presentation on the power of MasterMind Groups. In his landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill outlines his definition of a MasterMind Group:

A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose - Napoleon Hill Click To Tweet
Pat Flynn discusses the importance of MasterMind groups

Pat Flynn discusses the importance of MasterMind groups

Pat stressed the importance of MasterMind groups in contributing to his success. In order of significance in his life, he listed:

  1. Family
  2. MasterMind Groups
  3. Friends and colleagues

The MasterMind Group should be small (2-5 people) with a formal structure that is both focussed and consistent. The participants must be willing to (figuratively) dissect and be willing to be dissected (in a loving way).

The group should meet weekly (in person or via video) for an hour.

During the first 10 minutes, each member of the group shares a win from the previous week. For the next 40 minutes, one member is on the “Hot Seat”, where a problem or issue is presented, and all of the other members contribute their thoughts. The last ten minutes is dedicated to goal setting for the upcoming week. A moderator (who was on the “Hot Seat” the previous week) keeps track of time, and directs the conversation.

Thoughts about the MasterMind Group:

  • Be brutally honest (but try not to be hurtful).
  • Share with others how you are best motivated – that will help them finds ways to motivate and encourage you.
  • Have dedicated “Big Goal” meetings twice per year.
  • Plan ahead if you are in the Hot Seat – make the most of your time.
  • If the group in online, make plans to meet in person at least twice per year.
  • Know that it is OK to disagree.
  • Make it a priority – if it is not a priority, it will not drive you to excellence.
  • Create rules for the group.
  • What happens in MasterMind, stays in MasterMind.

Pat very generously shared his slide presentation for those that want to explore, join or create a MasterMind Group.

Lesson 2: John Lee Dumas on the Importance of Avatars

John Lee Dumas, the creator of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, spoke on the critical importance of developing avatars.

Avatars are not demographics (i.e. People who are between the ages of 18 and 35 , who drink more than three cups of coffee a day).

Avatars are the visualization of you ideal customer.

Avatars are the visualization of your ideal customer - for whom all of your content is created. Click To Tweet

John credited the visualization of his avatar, Jimmy, with the phenomenal success that his podcast has enjoyed. Once Jimmy’s needs were fully understood, John was able to focus all of his energies on creating, producing and delivering the content that Jimmy wanted.

It was a powerful message. Instead of trying to mass-market to everyone, develop your content exclusively for your ideal customer. (This was a concept that other speakers, including Mark. W. Schaefer – who termed it the Alpha Audience – reiterated.)

It is far better to have a handful of fanatical fans, than millions of unengaged followers Click To Tweet
John Lee Dumas at SMMW15

John Lee Dumas at SMMW15

John walked us through his version of the customer journey:

  • Ice Zone – you have no or a low relationship with your avatar.
  • Thaw Zone – your avatar feels that your podcast is speaking to them.
  • Cozy Zone – the avatar has been listening for awhile, and starts to know, like and trust you.
  • On Fire Zone – the avatar becomes an evangelist for your podcast, and provides suggestions for products or services.
  • Trust Zone – the avatar eagerly awaits your product offerings.

Bring your avatar into the Trust Zone, and you will both experience success!

Lesson 3: Lee Odden on the Importance of Repurposing on Purpose

Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing Blog shared his thoughts on creating, co-creating, curating and repurposing content.

Content is not King, it is the Kingdom - Lee Odden Click To Tweet
Lee Odden on reusing content

Lee Odden on Repurposing Content

To paraphrase Lee Odden, “Life is a hamburger.”

This may seem like a strange metaphor, but Lee’s excellent presentation on Repurposing on Purpose managed to pull it off. If you bear with me, I will explain in a bit.

Small pieces of content can be bundled together to make larger content (i.e., a series of blog posts can be assembled into an ebook), or the reverse can occur: an ebook can be broken down into a series of blog posts.

Likewise, the audio component of a video can easily become a podcast, and the transcription of the podcast can become a blog post. In this instance, the one, initial piece of content has given rise to three original and unique pieces of content.

Snippets of blog posts can be stitched together to create unique content, if the snippets contain a common theme. If you interview three people, and ask them who their greatest influencer was, you can you can combine those three answers together  to create new content.

The majestic hamburger can be composed of many components (meat, lettuce, tomato, onions, etc.). The combinations and permutations of all of those components leads to a extraordinarily vast number of unique and individual burgers – each one of which will specifically tickle the taste-buds of a member of your tribe. Some people will devour a burger with ketchup, ours prefer mustard. By continuously combing pieces of content you will provide delicious meals that your customers will desire.

Make all of your content mobile-friendly and customer-centric. Create, co-create, curate and repurpose your content, and align all content with the customer journey.

Lesson 4: Mark W. Schaefer on the Importance of Being BADASS.

According to Mark’s sources, the amount of content on the internet will increase anywhere between 5 and 10 fold within the next 5 years. The population will not increase that rapidly, nor will the hours in a day increase in order to absorb that content. Mark calls this Content Shock, and our job as marketers is about to become ten times more difficult. We will be attempting to position our messages against 10 times more grumpy cat videos.

What to do? How do we create value for our customers when the competition for eyeballs and neurons is going up 10-fold by 2020? Mark says that we need to be BADASS about our marketing efforts.

Mark’s premise is that the value is not in the content – content only becomes valuable once it is shared: 70% of consumers will make a purchase based on a social recommendation from someone that they trust.

However, a dichotomy exists – companies create content for economic reasons, and people share for emotional reasons.

As Mark said, “you can trick people into clicking, but you cannot trick them into sharing.”

Great content is not the finish line - it is the starting point Click To Tweet
Mark Schaffer at SMMW15

Mark Schaffer at SMMW15

The key is to implement a structure (a Content Code) that will bring the true believers (your Alpha Audience) of your message into your tribe, and enable them to be your advocates. The components of this BADASS Code are:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Audience and Influencers
  • Distribution, Advertising, Promotion and SEO
  • Authority
  • Social Profile and Social Signals
  • Share ability of Content

Be a BADASS in order to succeed!

Hope is a lousy strategy, and traffic are tourists. Find your Alpha Audience, and love the core 2%.


Take Home Messages

  • Pat Flynn – Create or join a MasterMind Group.
  • John Lee Dumas – Market to your avatar – that one, perfect customer for whom you develop all your material.
  • Lee Odden – Repurpose your content – build a unique hamburger for each of your customers.
  • Mark W. Schaefer – Focus on your Alpha Audience – not on traffic tourists – by being BADASS.

Just a Smattering of Social Media Marketing World 2015

This post, unfortunately, just touches the surface with some of the great and inspirational ideas and stories that were presented at Social Media Marketing World 2015.

What were your favorite moments?

If you enjoyed this post, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or share with your friends.


  • Lee Odden

    April 7, 2015

    I am honored to be included in your round up Elke. You did a great job summarizing my presentation. Now I’m hungry!

  • Ian and Elke

    Ian and Elke

    April 7, 2015

    Hi Lee:

    Thank you very much for the comments. I really enjoined your presentation at Social Media Marketing World, and your book “Optimize”.
    Looking forward to your next presentation at SMMW16 (or somewhere else before!)

  • Mark W Schaefer

    April 12, 2015

    Many thanks for the kind coverage. Glad SMMW was such a great experience for you.

  • Ian and Elke

    Ian and Elke

    April 12, 2015

    Hi Mark

    Thank you very much for your comments. SMMW was an incredible experience, with an extraordinary roster of speakers. We are already looking forward to next year’s conference.

  • John Lee Dumas

    April 12, 2015

    Wow, what a great article Ian! Thanks for the mention I am honored 🙂

  • Ian and Elke

    Ian and Elke

    April 13, 2015

    Hi John

    Thanks for the very kind words – your podcast is an inspiration!

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