That First Quarter Was A Doozie!

Word of Mouth MedSetting the pace in Q1

When people ask me how the year as WOMMA Board President has been going I try to give an honest and thoughtful answer. In January, it was a little overwhelming and I was worried that I hadn’t worked hard enough on an effective transition with the Immediate Past President, Paul Rand. By February, I felt that I was catching up to the required pace but I was still struggling to balance the requirements of my commitment to WOMMA with my responsibilities as the CMO at PEMCO Insurance. And now, as March has come to an end and April ushers in the second quarter of the year, I feel like a sense of order is being realized and the months of transition are behind us. I’m now striding more confidently into the new year of strategic initiatives and objectives.


The first 90 Days

In the first 90 days our board and association has been able to revisit our near and mid-term strategic plan and bring forward three areas of important focus. First, we recommitted to the importance that we place on ethical use of word of mouth marketing practices by brands and service providers. We have reviewed the process of responding to identified gaps in compliance with the WOMMA Code of Ethics and have begun discussions that could lead to increased levels of review, scrutiny and even certification.

Next, we recognize and are focused on continuing to create compelling and relevant business value for our members so that we accelerate membership growth, increase the retention of existing memberships, and thrive as an association. For some, that value comes in the form of research, measurement and metrics. For others, it comes in the form of education and best practices. And while WOMMA can’t be everything to everyone, we have continued to be responsive to the needs of our members and have enhanced several opportunities for engagement and sharing.

WOMMA LOGO MedAnd third, we have committed to the continuation of educational opportunities and forums that will advance the art and science of building talkable brands and advocates. We are committed to providing clear “how to” approaches regardless of the progress that has been made on a members journey into the online and offline word of mouth world. We recognize that our membership will consistently be a blended mix of interested and curious beginners interspersed with more established thought leaders and front runners. The beauty of an association like ours is that we enable the great melting pot of experiences to be shared.

I’ve found the first quarter of my volunteer leadership role as WOMMA President to be exciting, stimulating, rewarding… and yes, a little exhausting. It has provided a number of opportunities to visit with thought leaders; share insights with members of the media and collaborating associations; and to engage with equally passionate people who share a common enthusiasm for word of mouth marketing and talkable brands.

Now we are in the process of accepting and vetting candidate nominations for the board seats that will be vacated at the end of 2011. The commitment that five new board members will make will be for a three year term of service. Successful candidates will be asked to serve in leadership roles, on strategy committees, and to help the organization grow and develop our membership base. It’s a commitment that requires time to understand the needs of the organization and our members; to guide and support the agenda of our excellent Executive Director and staff; and to bring a blend of skills and experiences together that will enable WOMMA to achieve the goals that have been set as we continually raise the bar of expectations.

It’s an exciting time for WOMMA and it’s a time during which a noticeable difference can be made by individuals that step up to support our association as it continues to grow. If you are ready to help make a difference, WOMMA would like to hear from you too. Whether on a board, a committee, or as a subject matter expert in a presentation or webinar, there is ample opportunity for you to contribute.

I’m looking forward to attending the upcoming School of WOM in Chicago, May 9 - 11. I suspect that there will be many who are attending a WOMMA event for the very first time as well as many who have been coming to our events for years. Regardless of which group you might be in, there will be much to see, learn and experience.

Yes, my year as WOMMA Board President is going quite well thank you. I’m proud of the people I am working with and have a great deal of optimism for the direction our association is moving.

See you in Chicago.