Beginning today you can follow all the happenings of the Outdoor Industry Rendezvous through the keyboard of CBC Partner Len Cercone.  Len will provide updates and insights from the frontline of the industry’s premier business and networking summit from San Diego.  In addition, he’ll be posting daily on this blog.

Follow Len at

As readers know, CBC has been the architect of online, PR and social media marketing programs for such outdoor industry brands as adidas, Orvis, Nalgene, Karhu, K2, Quiksilver, Timberland, Royal Robins, HIND, Sperry Top-Sider and others.  The firm has also handled many non-outdoor brands on the vanguard of online and social media marketing, including Hasbro, GMAC Insurance, Castrol GTX, Nantucket Nectars and Beneficial Financial Group.

In fact, the firm has been named a Finalist for the Best Online Campaign 2009 by the Prestigious Platinum Awards. (A case study will be posted soon!)  Check out the campaign at

“Twitter is perfect for real-time updates from events, giving folks a quick idea of what’s happening, and what they may want to get more information on,” said Cercone.  “This is also a way to demonstrate how social media can work for outdoor companies still putting together a comprehensive strategy.”

According to our humble opinion, social media marketing should include more than Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  It starts with a comprehensive targeting and prioritization process, is sustained with strong content, and maintained with a complete monitoring, tracking and reporting system such as Radian6.

To get your social media strategy rolling, request Cercone Brown’s latest whitepaper on social media marketing (to be published next week), send an email to  The paper will cover the 7 Most Common Pitfalls of Social Media Marketing and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

It seems all the madness around social media marketing focuses on the usual suspects: Gen Y and Millennials. But lost in the shuffle is Generation X (30-43 yeas), the most often overlooked group in the eyes of social media marketers.

Last week, Forrester Research released a study that showed 59% of people in this age group are actively participating in social networks, most notably Facebook and Twitter. However, when it comes to sharing purchase recommendations digitally – the great accelerator of word-of-mouth – Gen X behaves quite differently than their younger counterparts.

The current assumption by marketers is that by providing engaging, social-media-enabled content on Facebook, Twitter and others, these networks will categorically spark viral transmission.

However, while these broadcast towers work fine for the under 30 crowd, GenXers find them too public for sharing purchase recommendations (the Holy Grail of word-of-mouth).  GenX shares their influence via more private networks, most notably via email.

Imagine that.  Email – not text, not Twitter – is the killer app for GenX.

This little revelation is important to marketers in three ways:

1. Chiclets Must Value Email: When using sharing applets (called Chiclets), it seems “more is better” rules the day.  The truth is that you should confine the choices to the top networks you target, and make sure “email to a friend” is prominently displayed.  And while you’re at it, populate that email with meta language someone will actually use and content rich with photos or video.

2. Rethink Your Email Marketing Approach: All this social media activity should result in a prospect opting into to your direct campaigns.  But don’t only send inbox-stuffers like “free shipping”, but add real content that engages your best customers and encourages them to share your brand with others, as well as offers.

3.  We Know Virtually Nothing About Social Media Marketing: This study shows that the same social network and combination of networks can be used very differently by different demographics.  We are still in the very early stages of development, and we are sure to see more patterns emerge.  Keep a close watch (or CBC will do it for you!)

As GenX moves into their 40s (some of us are there), they will become more and more the financial engine for many, many companies.  Already jaded and disinterested in most advertising, marketers will find the best success when they seamless fit into the private conversations of this age group.