Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

So I got a golden ticket to P&G’s digital hack night — a P&G party to bring together social media experts, P&G digital minds, and experienced interactive marketers to share ideas.  The event is to test the strength of digital media to try to generate $100,000 for charity.

Here’s how it works:

*P&G has split us into four teams — each team has about 40 people: P&G folks, social media gurus (Pete Blackshaw is my team captain and Pandora’s Tim Westergren is sitting next to me) as well as online ad folks like me and Aaron Finn from AdReady.

*Each team has four hours to sell as many Tide Loads of Hope t-shirts as possible.  (If you don’t know, Loads of Hope is a Tide-sponsored social initiative which raises money for disaster victims.  View a spot about it here).

*We can use any digital tools available to promote our unique url to sell t-shirts

I’m admittedly the most cynical analyst about social media and its measurable value to marketers.  BUT, participating in this event is making me a believer.  In 60 minutes through networking, well targeted ads, SMS messaging, and viral videos we have generated 1200 hits for a site that didn’t even exist before 5pm tonight.  We are tracking at about a 5-7% conversion rate…not bad.  The other thing that is happening here is that we are adapting our marketing strategy based on feedback from people who are responding to our viral outreach.  How often does that happen in a traditional marketing environment?