Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Mark Wallace (62 of 45)

I've known Mark Wallace, VP of social media for EDR, for a few years now. He and I were part of the exec team at Shared Insights (along with Jim Storer) -- a company that ultimately merged with Knowledge Planet to become Mzinga. The reason I mention this is that Mark and I have spend A LOT of time together... in a good way. From trips to Vegas (conference related) to attending Tool concerts together, we've had a chance to bond well beyond a tradititional business relationship.

What I appreciate about Mark (and have from the day I interviewed with him) is that he is a top shelf sales guy. Not the snake oil varietal but a guy that has worked his butt off building relationships, delivering value and ultimately trying to figure out how he can make his partners that much more successful. To that end, it's not surprising that he ended up at Mzinga client, EDR, heading up their social and online community initiatives.

I could go on and on about Mark but for your sake, I'll let his answers do the rest of the talking in the Experts in the Industry series:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I am building a community for environmental and property due diligence professionals for Environmental Data Resources called commonground and have succeeded and failed enough times over the years to recognize how to create a vibrant and valuable community.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I originally got involved in online communities back in 2001. I worked very closely with Jim Storer at DCI building online communities in support of our exposition, conference, and seminar business. I remember when we sold our first web seminar for crmcommunity.com members to Siebel Systems (will always be one of my favorite sales of all time) when web seminars were an emerging trend. I remember the high fives flying.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
I think I would invest in HubSpot. In addition to the fact that I really like their business model, I feel like they are a company that has truly embraced social media through all aspects of their business. And, I really find value in the products and services they deliver.

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
If I had to pick one, I would have to say Leonard Abess, Chairman and CEO, of City National Bancshares. What an amazing story. He succeeded where most other banks failed, distributed $60 million in bonuses to his current employees and former employees, and did not show up to take credit for the success when the bonuses were paid out. He is the true definition of a leader and team player. I would love the opportunity to meet him.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
I don’t think I would join a toothpaste community although it certainly sounds appealing! What I would like to do is to spend time with the folks who manage that community. I suspect it would be a fairly challenging task. Imagine what we might learn!

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
Three of the most important things I have learned over the years are:
  1. Communication happens in three ways – face to face, over the phone, and online. Ignore that as part of your social media strategy and you are doomed to fail.
  2. Members, partners, and the community owner, need to receive value. If they do, they will participate and even spend money. 
  3. It is important to make time. Find a way.
You can also follow Mark on Twitter at @MWallComm

1 comment:

  1. Great read. Mark is an absolute expert, someone who's lived and breathed community for a long time. More than anyone I know Mark understands the opportunities and pitfalls in trying to "monetize" community. We tried a lot of different approaches over the years and I learned a lot from my time working with Mark (10+ years).

    Excellent addition to the #45in45 series.

    Jim | @jimstorer