2010 in review!

23 01 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2010. That’s about 11 full 747s. I have no idea if that is good or bad, but atleast I know someone is reading. I also get plenty of questions, both public and private, which is nice.

In 2010, there were 38 new posts, I got lazy towards the end of the year, or just busy doing the day job.  There were 32 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 4mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 16th. The most popular post that day was Magic beans, direct mail, email, fax, phone, radio, tv and the web.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were careers.iqpc.com, twitter.com, linkedin.com, and facebook.com. I could clearly do a better job on my linking strategy.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for iqpc reviews, nomad marketer, working at iqpc, iqpc, and iqpc logo. Who is searching for IQPC’s logo?

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Magic beans, direct mail, email, fax, phone, radio, tv and the web April 2010
1 comment

2

Why I work at IQPC January 2010
5 comments

3

About Me September 2009
4 comments

4

Book Reviews October 2009

5

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Conference Marketing Managers January 2010
3 comments

So I already kicked off 2011 with some interesting posts, but thought this might be an interesting review to share.  The number one post for the year was also a personal favorite, I have it posted on my wall.  Some of my other favorites:

7 habits of highly effective conference marketing managers

Are events an effective B2B Marketing Channel?

Content Marketing – Probably need to update this one….

Social Objects

12 things good event marketing managers believe

Thanks for reading….and thanks Ed for all your help, she also has a pretty cool blog of her own: http://lifewakingdream.blogspot.com/.





IQPC NY Makes Fast 50!

20 01 2011

The US magazine Trade Show Executive recently named the inaugural fastest 50 growing trade shows and IQPC NY made the cut!

The full list can be viewed here: http://www.tradeshowexecutive.com/fastest50/honorees.asp

Congratulations to all the shows on the list, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to grow a trade show.  It takes a certain type of a work ethic, attitude and courage to launch and grow a trade show, and that’s exactly what our IDGA team exhibited with their military vehicles show.  It also takes a lot of team work, so congrats to the entire IDGA team.

Congratulations!





Is 400% ROI valid in the world of social media?

16 01 2011

Everyone in conference marketing uses the same 400% ROI target as the ultimate metric. It’s been around for a long time, built on years of direct mail experimentation, data from multiple companies, thousands of events and the use of solid direct marketing principles.

But is it relevant in world dominated by social media and the web?

A recent article from Prashant Suryakumar on Mashable outlined the new metrics for Social Marketing, it’s a great read and really made me think (Thanks for sharing AP!). The article covered 10 main points to build an infrastructure for measuring the constantly evolving nature of social media, and I kept wondering how is it relevant for the strange little world of B2B conference marketers and the impact on our 400% industry benchmark. Here’s my take on Prashant’s main points:

Invest in data: As an industry I think we do a good job of investing in and using data, we track and measure everything. But the unstructured nature of social media data from multiple sources in real time is a big challenge. We have trained our marketers (& managers) that X action equals y response, a closed loop, and whilst that may never have been really true, we lived our lives by and made ongoing investment decisions based on those results. The nature of the conversation in social media and multitude of touch points, make it very difficult to say your tweet, or face book group, gave you an ROI of 400%. More than ever we have to step back and look at the overall results and contribution of these new channels, we need to present an overall picture of our reach and find ways to value that reach in a context management can understand.

Real-Time monitoring:  I think the challenge for our marketers here is real time response, Twitter is a torrent of information, social media is 24/7 and our marketers may not be the subject experts in the conference topic. On top of that they are already very very busy so they are likely to not dedicate the ‘listening’ time required to really monitor the conversation. There are lots of monitoring tools out there that help but ultimately social media has to become a team effort, we need product expertise, customer service involvement and marketers to all be part of the conversation.

Sentiment Analysis: How would your boss react if you said, bookings are behind last year by 30% but our sentiment is up by 50%? I am going to guess she would not react well, and you would then spend a lot of time explaining your sentiment metrics. In terms of events, and delegates (or sponsors) for that matter I think we are better spent using a net promoter type approach. We have used the net promoter score extensively and I think that’s the closest we could get to a sentiment or intent to buy or re-buy.   

New Metrics:  This is the most critical aspect for me, and the biggest challenge to the 400% ROI benchmark. New metrics naturally abound, klout.com being a great example, but educating management on what they mean is critical. I also think given the nature of our business the new metrics must be linked to revenue, even if it’s a contribution to the overall outcome, we must get better at drawing the overall impact of our marketing, taking into account multiple touch points. That said, the number of followers, members, fans or likes means little if the event isn’t profitable.

The interplay between buzz, branding and sales:  This is part of the age old question of ROI from PR. I think it’s a little like religion, you either believe or you don’t! I believe, but I also know a good event will be good with or without a group on LinkedIn. But a group on LinkedIn with lots of influencers can help make a good event great.

Testing mechanisms: Conference marketers have been traditionally good testers. But I think we have been slow to apply our testing methodology to social media, and I think we have done a poor job of defining success, often using metrics that are too narrow and not taking a broader approach.

Behavioural segmentation:  This is a hugely untapped area for conference marketers, particularly niche b2b conference marketers. Online marketing in general allows significantly more targeted activities, and social media allows an even greater degree of behavioral targeting. For example, targeting people who are members of multiple event groups on linked in.

Crowd Behaviour: Who wouldn’t like to trigger “flock behavior” in a mad rush to register for your event! This boils down to knowing more about your customer, again something we have not done enough of in the conference business. We typically know the basic demographics, job title, geography, industry etc, but not deeper buying, reading or social habits.

Product design: Crowd source your next conference agenda!

Integration into existing business models: Herein lies the real challenge; we need to incorporate some of these new metrics into the PromoProfit, Hit Rate and ROI trio that we have been using for the past 20 years. We will need to measure/find influencers, develop life time value, gauge buzz, develop online community numbers (members, followers, fans, likes etc), equate brand equity to long term profit and start to seriously consider more SEO metrics.

The industry as a whole is struggling with the measurement of social marketing, our historical experience with the definitive nature of direct marketing and our 400% benchmark has clouded our ability to take in the big picture and measure the smaller, but just as important contribution of being part of the conversation. I think this is even more important if you plan to keep your event in your community calendar every year – You need to be part of the conversation, how you measure the impact is challenging. We need to add a fourth metric to our PP, HR, ROI bag of tricks.

What will your fourth metric be?





Six Things I Know about B2B Conference Copy

4 01 2011

A colleague recently forwarded me a post called, “Six things I know for sure about marketing to engineers”, by Robert Bly. Robert happens to be a copy writer and an engineer, so he boiled down 10 years of writing copy for engineers into 6 tips. Engineers happen to be a primary market for a lot of B2B conferences and as always copy writing is a hot topic in most of our offices!
 
Here’s a summary of Robert’s summary and what it could mean for your event:
 
1) Engineers look down on advertising and advertising people, for the most part
 
So avoid the fluff, don’t make it look like advertising, appeal to them by adding value to their work life, in fact add more value than you can capture. Use content to filter your audience for relevancy and move them up your advocacy ladder. Just make sure the content is valuable, make it remarkable, and maybe they will share it? 
 
2) Engineers do not like a “consumer approach”. (They prefer to be approached as knowledgeable, technical professional in search of solutions to engineering problems)
 
Acknowledge their expertise early, avoid looking like a piece of consumer marketing, avoid stock photography,

3) The engineer’s purchase decision is more logical than emotional (Rather they carefully weigh the facts, make comparisons and buy based on what product best fulfills the requirement)
 
Again the facts: How many hours of education, how many CPE points, how many case studies, which ones are new, how is this event better to other options! Exhibit an understanding of their problem and show them the how attending your event solves the problem. 
 
4) Engineers want to know the features and specifications, not just the benefits
 
Again the facts….give them all the details. Don’t be afraid of the length of the copy. If it’s good copy, relevant, informative, they will read it. 
 
5) Engineers are not turned off by jargon—in fact, they like it (Use jargon, speak their language) 
 
I think this is the biggest fallacy of all. I have often heard copy experts tell producers and marketers to turn down the jargon, one consultant even presented a “fog” index created by jargon. I say turn up the jargon, your letter should only make sense to your target audience, they should be the only ones that get it, you need to be part of their secret club and speak their secret language. It shows that you get it! Also worth remembering that they will probably search using these terms.  All that said (especially if you are working in a multi language market) you should beware your own local expressions and colloquialisms – this is not the same thing as technical universal industry language.  

6) Engineers have their own visual language (It tells them straight away this is solid technical information, not fluff!)
 
A picture still tells a thousand words. One of our most popular pieces of content and one of our most successful subject lines ever is about a “fish bone diagram”! The right chart or image will tell your audience in seconds that you get it!
 
I like Bob’s tips, straight to the point, factual, logical, just like an engineer. Whilst some of the tips might break the typical copy rules for many events I think they highlight the most important rule of all – Keep your audience in mind. Start with them, how do they communicate, where do they communicate, and build a compelling story that talks their language. It’s really that simple! (and remember to spell check!)

Can anyone come up with 6 tips for copy writing to Bankers, CEO’s, CFO’s or marketers???