The American Marketing Association student chapter was on a personal connection with the speaker from his introduction. His favorite Thanksgiving food is his sister’s stuffing, he walked into the wrong class the first day of college and he’s a self-described middle-aged ginger.
Josh Fleming, red hair or not, wears many different hats. He’s online with his company twitter handle, @AdMavericks and blog AdMavericks.com. He’s a family man with his four kids and wife. And, he’s making the most of social media as the interactive marketing director at Lessing-Flynn Advertising.
YouTube, RSS Feeds, Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. Social media has been a buzz word in the marketing, advertising and public relations industries. There are numerous social media outlets and a lot of talk with regular traditional media outlets being “dead.”
Where is the future of all this hubbub going? Is it a passing trend or the future of all news? Instead of black and white, traditional or social media, Fleming and his company work to leverage social media with the conventional.
“Traditional media needs to work harder than it has in the past,” Fleming said. “The idea is you need a 360-degree approach.”
Fleming gave an example of how traditional mediums applied social media of the “Best job in the World,” campaign for Queensland Island in Australia.
Laughs filled the room as Fleming presented his favorite social media story of a teenager taking a brand, turning it upside down and making millions off it. Jimmy Winkelmann founded the knock-off brand “The South Butt” (a parody of “The North Face”) and promoted it with a blog and a creative Facebook application where users differentiate between a butt and a face.
Fleming is the social media director for the AMA Iowa Chapter. Students can join the chapter for a minimal fee and then have access to scholarship opportunities, networking luncheons and a job-shadowing program. Fleming says the future of social media marketing applies to all age groups.
“Our job as marketers is to be in as many places as our consumers are,” he said.
The marketing guru also cited political social engagement with the 2008 presidential election.
“Barrack Obama was a great political example of social engagement with the younger voting audience,” Fleming said. “It really helped to propel the vote forward.”
A public relations student mentioned in passing that Fleming demonstrated the wide variety of uses for social media. For example, the “Pella Pressroom” is convenient for public relations professionals and a journalist’s dream. The platform hosts related images, media kits and videos about products and services.
Other unexpected clients to be catching on to the benefits of social engagement include the agriculture equipment company, Vermeer. A Lessing-Flynn client for over 60 years, Vermeer is an example of how social media can catch with any brand. After putting 25 videos about haybalers on YouTube, interest led to a 10 percent increase in traffic on the company’s website.
Big money distributor, the Iowa Lottery, also uses both social and creative traditional media.
“Iowa Lottery is one of the best examples of a brand in the state of Iowa,” Fleming said.
Fleming says some of the best ideas are formed over Sushi. When Fleming thinks creative, think guerrilla marketing with a fish for the Lessing-Flynn Des Moines Sushibomb. The event, held in September at Jasper Winery, gained metro attention with a YouTube video of a large fish costume running around Des Moines. For sushi-lovers and beginners alike, the event was an example of how social media can work with more traditional mediums such as Mediacom, The Des Moines Register, KCCI and the Business Record for publicity.
Quint Hall, Drake chapter vice-president of programming and a junior marketing and accounting major, was interested in bringing Fleming to talk to the chapter because of his personality.
“I first met him at a social media meet-up, and he was the only one that was friendly to some punk college kid,” Hall said. “He seemed very knowledgeable, and I wanted to bring his ideas to everyone else.”
Fleming’s personality shines through when he combines his personal and professional passions. In the past, he worked for the Des Moines Register, but now works on creative writing.
He’s written a dark, intriguing screenplay entitled “The Knot,” and is releasing it, scene by scene, online. Click to http://theknotthescreenplay.com/ to read the twisted tale.
Associate marketing professor and chapter advisor Mary Edrington asked how students may increase their social media presence.
“Be the ‘Irondog’ on Twitter,” Fleming said. “Allow yourself anonymity before you put yourself completely out there in social media.”
Photo: Carter Oswood