Whenever we get hired by a new client, we try to immerse ourselves in their brand world: Read anything we can find about the brand, talk to the stakeholders, explore the blogosphere, discover their brand mythology, experience their products and services. All very heady, sensual and experiential. And interesting.
The idea of attending a sales conference came up and I jumped on it immediately. Sure, you might not hear the newest Web 3.56 ideas or Twitter applications. But you get something much more valuable: The story behind the story behind the story. I discovered the backbone of the brand, chatted with people that take care of the brand while selling to people, solving their problems and being rejected day by day. Factory tours are a good start but talking with real people is where the real magic happens. I found it to be highly interesting, inspirational and insightful.
It takes you away from the Marketing Ivory Tower to the authentic essence of the brand. Exactly what I was looking for.