Case Study: Email Marketing for Web 2.0

19 07 2011

A while back I received this great email for the web2.0 conference. It struck me as a great email case study to highlight for conference marketers, it’s an excellent email and a remarkable piece of content tied together into an amazing piece of conference marketing.

The email has a lot of valuable points, but for me the highlights are:

  • The from address is two of the most influential people in the space – You open it ASAP.
  • In case you forgot there’s a photo of them talking to one of the most powerful men in the world in the header.
  • There is a clear call to action – Register Now & Save, repeated 4 times – twice as a button, twice as a link (not too much but just enough).
  • It links to an amazing interactive piece of content, a blog post explaining it and to the conference page. More value and engagement with the audience, past and present.
  • It has the main social media sharing tools and ways to stay engaged (if you want).
  • A strong tie into last year including – A highlight that this amazing piece of content has been updated, and made more interactive, video, slides and photos from last year in case you forgot what an amazing event you attended. And how they are planning to delve deeper this year.
  • Still highlights speakers (with photos – they are real people!) and you can check out how they crowd sourced the event with the advisory board.

The content and the blog post also help drive the engagement:

  • The map (content piece) is interactive, it pulls you in, if you are into the topic.
  • The blog post is informative and also pulls you into the notion behind the event (with some very valuable insight and data).
  • Both are aligned to the topic area, viral, interactive and highly relevant to the topic.

I’m not saying every event needs interactive maps or infographics, but we should be working on remarkable content like this that drives engagement and think about how we communicate our event VP in different formats whilst still driving registrations. Of course, it’s not perfect, there are some improvements I (and no doubt you) would make, but….. compare this to the last email you sent for your event?


A Conference Marketers Mindset

31 05 2011

A colleague recently forwarded me this great blog post from Future Buzz which happened to be commenting on another blog post at Six Pixels of Separation, both posts are on how the modern marketer needs to think like a publisher, essentially they need to have a Publishers mindset.

I agree, wholeheartedly, but I prefer “Movie Producer Mindset”, a movie producer is more aligned to event marketing than publishing. A movie, might have a sequel or it might not, like a conference. It should also have star power, like a conference. It should also have a strong story to share that’s relevant to a particular audience, like a conference. So you need the same mind set as Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg! Lights, Cameras, Action!

The traditional mindset of an event marketer is to find the audience and push your message out, through efficient use of direct mail, email and other channels. But in order to be successful in cutting through the noise and the range of information and networking opportunities out there today, event marketers need to have a different mindset. I would characterize this mind set with these main qualities:

A block buster mentality – Why will this event be huge? what’s different? when did it become different? who’d driving the change? how do we best capture this change? what will capture peoples attention and how will we keep them engaged.

Agile Communicators – We need to communicate frequently, both internally and externally. We need to create remarkable content that will spread and also create immediacy.

We can think like the customer – We are constantly thinking about “ways in”, how are new and old customer going to find a way into this new event, what’s the best way to give them insight into the event without them being there.  What part of the event is most relevant to them.

A story teller’s mind set – There needs to be a beginning, middle and an end. Preferably there is also some twist, some notion of improvement post event.

Consistency – We must have consistency in our messaging across all of our channels. We also need to consistently produce quality events that resonate with the market. (All said whilst being guilty of not being the most consistent publisher with this blog….Irony will be left for another post).

Sharing – We act as aggregators of niche content from multiple sources, creating an opportunity for people who can and can’t attend the event to benefit. We also incorporate others in the messaging, finding the influencers.

I think we also like the project management aspect of the role, starting and finishing something quickly, learning from the results and doing it better next time, refining the craft and art of conference marketing as we go. We ship, but we learn as much from the failures as the success. Ultimately a conference marketers mindset is not about budget, it’s about passion, and adding more value than you can capture!

Infographic – Digital marketing trends in the Middle East from IQPC Dubai

13 03 2011

Very cool infographic created by the IQPC marketing team behind Click, shows some great insight into the impact digital marketing is having in the region and where marketers are focusing.

Click 5.0 The digital marketing event for the middle east

A New Marketing “Train” map

29 07 2010

B2B Contact Marketing in the UK created this great marketing map using the London underground as the inspiration. It’s a great way to map out the modern landscape of marketing; even though it uses trains, it’s exceptionally well done and gives anyone from expert to novice great insight into the challenges and opportunities for modern marketers.

The main lines on the map:

Advertising – For me this is the dying channel, maybe that’s why it’s in blood red. It’s a communication “corridor” that’s becoming less and less relevant, it includes a couple of great quotes “Each of us sees over 3,800 advertising messages a day”. People are not passive consumers of marketing messages any more; they are seekers of high quality relevant information, participants in conversations and electors of what they consider to be competent authority. Its these characteristics that are at odds with traditional “interruption” advertising methods. Maybe this is the line that has the constant breakdowns.

Database – I really like that this “line” is a closed loop and central, in a data driven world it has to be at the heart of any effective marketing organization. It also means it touches every other line, modern marketing is even more data driven than before, the measure is moving from traditional DM metrics to include more and more online metrics, but I believe you need to start by measuring everything and then honing on what are the key metrics, all with out taking your eye off the prize – profit (Money in the Bank). There’s also a marked shift away from valuing the sheer size of your database towards the quality and depth of information in it.

Direct – Covers it all really, I think this channel is being overshadowed by some of the more popular trendy digital channels, which are all part of direct marketing in a pull marketing world.

Digital – Talk about being web centric, this line cuts right through the middle of town! I like how it talks about the different digital channels without really focusing on some of the actual sites, facebook, twitter etc, which I am sure over time will change…. Has anyone ever heard of QQ, Xaonei or Kaixin01? I hope this is a hi-speed train line?

Event – Obviously a personal favorite, I’d add an IQPC station. Event marketers take note – this line crosses digital and database lines twice, begins its journey by moving away from advertising and finishes with a second crossing of the relationship line. There’s a message about how you fit and where your focus should be!

Relationship – A black line for the dark arts, most of the things on this line have two things in common. They are becoming ever more important parts of the B2B space and they very difficult to accurately measure or gauge their true impact. I like how conferences, social media and networking are all so close. Measuring awareness is becoming an increasing challenge.

Anything missing? Not much…

My only real criticism would be where are the customers? I would have made the customer or audience central to the whole thing, maybe the hub in the middle between Google, Social Media and Blogging. I think before you do anything you need to have well defined buyer personas, and a solid message that matches your audiences world view (step 1). Maybe “customers” should be the main hub on the relationship line or the direct line, it’s in there, the demographics stop is in there, I would have just made it more defined.

Content marketing? Maybe change the contract publishing station on the Advertising line or drop it into digital… But for me it’s really all about the intersections, and particularly for conferences, I think the intersections are crucial to your events integrated multi channel marketing plan.

But just for fun and in honor of being in NY for the summer, I decided to apply the same thing to NY Subway system, here’s my poor mans effort:

Grand Central Station = The internet, the heart of all modern marketing. This is a web centric train map.

 Social Media is the N, Q, R and W line, crossing the whole island…

 The A, C, E line is my Event line crossing with other multiple stops. Making it fully integrated into the marketing mix.

The 4,5 and 6 Train are the digital lines. Connecting grand central and most of the other lines.

The 1, 2 and 3 train is the Advertising line, cutting right through Times Square Station, renamed Advertising Central or Billboard Station.

Path Train or the LIRR = Direct Mail line… It’s a separate system, kind of connected, and kind of old, slow, rusty etc, it still works but we all know we won’t be riding the train for much longer.

Great map, there must have been some great debates whilst putting it together – Thanks to B2B Contact Marketing for creating and sharing it. The modern landscape is difficult to navigate – Anyone got another map?

(Special thanks to Emma, unofficial Nomad Editor, for some big contributions to this post!)

Magic beans, direct mail, email, fax, phone, radio, tv and the web

15 04 2010

I have often quoted Seth Godin’s great riff on magic beans, I love it, I come back to it often, probably too often…But I think it resonates with B2B conference marketing. The days of sending out a 4 page agenda dominated brochure and expecting people to register from it are basically over, it’s time to move on.

We can no longer rely on our basic “template” marketing plans to resonate with our audience and expect them to react. Sure it still works in some cases, but we must start to “think” about how we can really engage this audience and add more value than we can capture.

These two posts on hubspot by Brian Solis, who just published a book called “Engage” (which I just bought), help to explain the new landscape even better.

I quote Brian:

What lies ahead is an inflection point in the maturation of social media, publishing, marketing and communications. And, it all begins with the realization and the corresponding actions that businesses must become media in order to earn greater relevance and ultimately thought leadership within their respective markets.

Every Company is a Media Company: EC=MC

Zen and the art of conference marketing – Step 4: Research & Analysis

7 03 2010

Step 4 on our stairway to conference marketing heaven – Research & Analysis. Doesn’t sound very Zen, and it might even seem a bit out of order, but I’m going to stick with it…

I am talking here about the nuts and bolts direct marketing research, not glamorous but effective, time to start putting some muscle on the bones.  Start to apply what you learnt about your target audience in step 2, look into how people communicate with each other in the community, see what promotional opportunities if at all exists, Investigate what’s worked in the past, what new channels may be available, what you have already, what you need to get and what your competition has that you might need. Start building your buyer profiles out and start slicing and dicing your data, if you don’t have any start finding it! Or find out who has it, can you get your hands on it?

Speak to other marketers (like your sponsors) who market to the same audience, what do they say? What channels do they use? What have they found effective? Can we work together? How can we help each other reach our goals? Analyse the marketing of the most successful companies in the space – What can you learn?

Now you can start thinking about how you are going to get attention and what you plan on doing with it, if you get it. Can you build a permission asset, or leverage someone else’s. Will the bloggers work with you, will other partners come along for the ride, speak to them all, build some win-win partnerships. Start working with the media partners, associations, and publications and do some more detailed breakdown of their membership. Look on LinkedIn, look on Facebook etc…what’s acceptable to the community and what’s not.

Blue Sky, Blank Page, Green fields or what ever you want to call it… Put it all together, no rules, just everything you can find and start organizing it around your buyer personas, costing it, forecast its impact, do you need more, do you need less…Time to answer all the questions!

Zen and the art of conference marketing – Step 2: Audience

8 02 2010

Clearly define your audience and the larger community. Find out where they hang out online, what magazines they read, what associations they are part of, what other events they attend, what they need to hear about etc.

This is probably the first text book step in the conference marketing process. But going above and beyond will help your event succeed. When discussing the audience for conferences at IQPC I always focus on two key factors:

1) Qualify:

Most B2B conference marketers have the basic demographic for the primary market including Job Title (department/function/seniority), Industry, Geography. Some will even go one more step and research what associations and magazines the audience reads. Both of these items are the minimum requirements, in my opinion.

If you really want to qualify your audience and get the maximum return you also need to:

  • Review your past attendees to similar events, does it match the target. If not why not?
  • Define the outliers/lurkers; Engaging these people will be critical to exceeding your targets
  • Create customer profiles on key segments – Learn a lot more about the top 20% of your audience. Education, Experience, Memberships, What they read, what groups they are part of in linked in, anything you can pick up will help give you a frame of reference for your communications.
  • Review the audience using the product life cycle analysis
  • Look at how other similar events define their audience, what tone do they speak in, how do they communicate etc.
  • It’s also a good idea to look to the industry leading solution providers, ask them how they define their audience.

2) Quantify:

This is perhaps the most important step, and often overlooked in marketing conferences. If you can definitively quantify your audience size, you can choose the appropriate mix of marketing channels and the distribution/frequency you need. There are to key elements to quantify your audience:

  • Breadth – How many industries are involved, including the primary, tertiary and suppliers. How many companies in each group.
  • Depth – How many job titles, depts., or functions from each company are involved?

This information can often be found online, in trade publications or just doing a search on linked in. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, but get a feel. What’s the point of send 100,000 emails if your target audience is only 500 people?

One other key point on target audience – Visualize! As I pointed out in this post (7 habits of highly effective marketing managers) starting with the end in mind is key. So visualize you conference room on the day, how many people are in there, what do they look like, what companies do they represent.

To borrow an analogy, if you want to fish where the fishes are, you need to know what the fish looks like, where it lives and how it behaves. Another useful concept is the use of buyer personas as outlined in David Meerman Scotts book the new rules of marketing and PR, create a persona for each group of attendees it will also help later in tailoring your communication strategy.

Any other useful hints?