I’m sitting at the airport in beautiful Providence, RI heading back to Philly after attending the two-day New Marketing Summit Conference run by Chris Brogan and Paul Gillin. There were lots of industry luminaries here. The audience was probably the most informed group of professionals on the subject you can find anywhere. After listening to day one presentations, my frustrations began to build. What world was I living in? Or should I say, what world had I crossed over to? I knew I was at Gillette Stadium, but did I go through a future time warp? Nope, it was still October 2008. I just happened to be attending a well run, well organized event of believers… I call them the “1%ers”… you know the industry visionaries and thought leaders. These are the people that can connect the dots…before there are enough dots to connect.

Well the world I live in and the businesses we serve are not the 1%ers. In live in a pragmatic world. The world I live in had businesses have budget constraints. They cannot afford to spend $100,000+ on an online community. They are pragmatic in their marketing strategies and love to be innovative, while limiting the downside risk opportunity to their investments. They have a management team and a sales team that have strong relationships with their customers and partners and are concerned about protecting that existing mode of communication. Oh, and they are mostly 30 and older… we don’t target those in their 20’s. And most of our market doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter (if they even have heard of Twitter).

I participated on a panel today with industry leaders Mzinga, Socialtext and Lithium and the panel was moderated by Chris Brogan. I sat and listened to the first three presenters and quite honestly did not agree with much of their thoughts. Me? Well, I challenged the audience about what I had heard throughout the conference. I tried to express my opinion for the small and medium business or brand. Not every business or brand can spend $100,000+ on their community. Shame on us for making it so expensive. Shame on us for requiring so much consulting services to make a community happen. After 8 years, we couldn’t have figured out how to engineer out the complexity? The industry (and that includes their agencies) have made this so complex. We should be trying to turn the Voodoo into Main Street. It’s as if no one ever read about the Long Tail. Well, we have… we live it every day.

It was a great event for the informed.