Zen and the art of conference marketing – Step 1: The Story

2 02 2010

SO…. as promised step 1 in my highly anticipated 7 steps to conference marketing glory.

Step 1 – The story…Why this event? what’s the message? what’s the value proposition? what makes your brand stand out? What do you tell people? What do you want people to tell others?

Seth Godin wrote a great book called, “All Marketers are Liars”, really it’s about telling stories, even better if they can remarkable (You can read my review here). Your story must resonate with your niche audience, don’t be afraid to make in controversial, you want it to stick.

Your niche story must be highly relevant for your niche audience, it must also be authentic, make a promise, create a strong image in the readers mind, allow for them to interpret it and make their own frame of reference.

The bottom line is conferences should make people feel special. The delegates, speakers and sponsor (& the organizers) all have the opportunity to do something special, share ideas, drive change, improve performance and make contacts with key players in their industry (maybe even get a promotion, solve that bug problem, meet the key decision makers, find that new job, make a career changing deal etc…).

In All Marketers are liars Seth also gave us a great story telling plan:

  • Which worldview are you addressing?
  • Which frame are you using?
  • How will you live your story?
  • What hard decision are you willing to make in order to keep your story real, pure and authentic? Compromise is the enemy of authenticity.
  • What are the short cuts your fans can use to tell the story to their friends? How can you help them frame the story?
  • How can you radically change your product or service so that the story is natural and obvious and easy to tell?
  • Whats the value of your permission asset?

A word on your event format – The format of the event has to match the story. A dark room full of power point presentations won’t get it done. If you tell a great story, the event has to deliver, work with the team to drive innovation and energy into your format.

Here’s the challenge, for conference story tellers: figure out how to avoid being boring. We must change the interactions delegates have onsite, we must create an event where delegates are ready to learn and change and challenge, as opposed to, “wow we’re in Vegas for 2 days let’s party and then sleep through a few sessions”.

Seth Godin also riff’s on conferences at his blog, and here’s a great quote, “here’s what a conference organizer owes the attendees: surprise, juxtaposition, drama, engagement, souvenirs and just possibly, excitement.”

Tell your story!

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4 responses

2 02 2010
Affiliate Marketing Stories

[…] Zen and the art of conference marketing – Step 1: The Story … […]

1 06 2010
Zen and the Art of Conference Marketing – Step 7 | Starshot - Strategic Event Marketing

[…] 1)      The story – Why this event? what’s the message? what’s the value proposition? what makes your brand stand out? […]

2 06 2010
nomadmarketer

Here’s a great article on how to tell a story with authenticity:
http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100501/why-is-business-writing-so-awful.html

29 07 2010
A New Marketing “Train” map « Nomad Marketer @ IQPC

[…] to have well defined buyer personas, and a solid message that matches your audience’s world view (step 1). Maybe “customers” should be the main hub on the relationship line or the direct line, it’s […]

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