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Hanging with Mommy Bloggers

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I'm sure Lori is probably going to post something on Camp Baby soon, but given the event took place in my back yard, I just had to say something about it.

This morning, I gate crashed the breakfast (unlike Rob and Ray who crashed the Camp Baby "pajama party" last night... but that's another story...) and heard a bit of what the mommy bloggers in attendance had to say -- such as:

1) Don't underestimate moms -- and don't be patronizing. Mommy bloggers are well educated (they are scientists, physicians, lawyers, teachers, etc., etc., etc...) and all are capable of figuring out complex and sophisticated situations and want much more information about products.

2) Mommy bloggers would like to have more direct conversations with companies -- and are more than happy to provide their candid thoughts and opinions.

3) When doing these kinds of events, companies should talk less about their own products. Point taken. (Though some dissident mommy bloggers did say they wanted more information about just which products we made.)

4) Mommys are people -- people with children.

Oh, and that one of the bloggers had so much Johnson & Johnson surgical equipment in her that she could be a traveling sales display for the company.

There was much, much more discussed this morning, and I left the mommy bloggers with a spring in my step -- after all, I got to sit in on the kind of conversation that companies like Johnson & Johnson should be having EVERY day with people.

But as we know, this is still something that companies find tough to do -- and some of the missteps that preceded this event provide a good example of how we still have more to learn.

This sea change has been a hot topic for me, my colleagues and friends. For 100 years companies have been pushing what they think people are interested in out through one way communications channels. But now that people are redefining the rules of engagement, companies have to rediscover how to interact with people. It's about unlearning a lot of behaviors and reacquiring the voice that businesses used in the days before mass advertising and promotion in the conversations that occurred between the village storekeepers and the people in the community. It's hard to do, but by listening to people (remember the earhorn?) and not being afraid to get involved in the conversation, companies can slowly find that voice.

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