I share, therefore I am

9 10 2013

This is the strangest and one of the most interesting videos I’ve seen in a long time. Conceptually I think it has implications for the events business, good and bad. It’s not new that social media is revolutionizing many aspects of marketing and some of the social aspects of life, I’ve blogged about it a few times and a Google search will flood you with information. But this video does a great job of capturing some of the more unique customer level issues.

For the B2B conference marketer:

  • Interactivity at events is more important than ever, but it’s also probably going to become harder to get people to interact.  We must move beyond speed dating into formats that can create in-depth conversations and potential connections between buyers and sellers.
  • The ideal number of people in a break out session may be changing?
  • If you are using social media to promote your event, driving engagement may be linked to the your ability to provide social recognition amongst peers and a deeper role in facilitating peer to peer interaction.
  • B2B online communities around events must drive real long term value and interaction beyond the events. They also need to make sure they provide ways for people to validate their skills in the community.
  • Similarly for events, endorsements and accreditation will become key. Exhibitions should also gamify the experience!

Food for thought – Anyone feeling lonely?

eBook: Mastering The Basics of Social Media (from the team behind Click Egypt)

22 09 2011

The IQPC team behind Click Egypt, the online and digital marketing summit have put together this great Introduction to the basics of Social Media success ebook.

It includes the basic steps to get started: Management buy in, resourcing, growing bigger ears, focus, engage, learn, measure and teamwork. As well as some great tips on the major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Plus some links to some cool tools you can use to simplify, organise and monitor your social network presence (and they are all free!).

It also includes this great quote from Scott Cook at Intuit, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is”. Which I think highlights how control of the messaging, if ever there was any, has really changed with social media and the depth of change that will be ultimately required within organizations if they really want to use social media in their communication mix.

You can see some of the amazing speakers (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Vodaphone, Sony, P&G, Kraft, Nestle, Expedia and more) and read more about the event at www.clicksummitegypt.com or follow @socialmarketME. If you are in Egypt and interested in Online Marketing and Social Media this is a great place to start!

Interpreting Some Fascinating Event Marketing Stats

11 09 2011

Constant Contact and Hub Spot recently published an ebook on “Fascinating Event Marketing Stats”. I haven’t seen the actual results of the survey but their presentation made some interesting reading.

Here’s my interpretation of some of their key findings:

68% of B2B companies rate events as important. Clearly still a valued marketing channel for a lot of companies. Top 2 reasons for running events, in order, are education and lead generation. Showing again how important it is to deliver a quality audience to sponsors and a strong educational opportunity for delegates.

Educational events included classes, workshops, training, seminars, and conferences. Some what conspicuously missing in my opinion are webinars or online/distant learning, this is an ever growing option for many B2B companies trying to reach time (and cost) sensitive executives.

Non-Profits host more conferences than B2B and B2C companies combined. Combined with the fact (also in the report) that most companies don’t charge for events (59% of B2B’s never charge), it highlights the need for paid events to deliver a superior networking and educational experience.

The top five promotional channels are not surprising: Email, own website, word of mouth, mail and phone calls. The phone came in only 5% more than social media, yet almost 60% said they rely on social media, showing the growing importance of being part of the conversation and integrating social media into your communication mix. The top five also show how important a solid database remains to event marketers, but interesting that database didn’t rate a mention in the report.

47% still use direct mail – Which is very surprising given the news USPS looks to be in financial trouble and the falling response rates of direct mail. Either, a lot of event marketers are sticking with this tried and tested channel or they fear replacing it with newer online channels or those online channels still aren’t delivering a strong enough response.

Only 11% use blogging? This is staggering… but probably highlights a broader content or thought leadership challenge faced by most event marketers.

Perhaps most interestingly (but not surprisingly and somewhat repetitive) the top 5 challenges for event marketers:
1.    Getting people to respond to invites
2.    Getting people to pay attention to invites
3.    Minimizing no-shows
4.    Getting people to the event
5.    Confirming who’s attending

So the challenge for all event marketers is the same, getting qualified executives to attend your event. Making it happen is part art, part science and all marketing! A quality product, with great messaging delivered via a multi-channel marketing plan.

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?

Video: Two Middle East Social Media Experts Talk Digital Marketing

8 05 2011

Great interview with Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, the CEO of Flip Media, Alexander McNabb, Radio Personality, Blogger and Group Account Director at Spot On PR talk with Anthony Permal from Click 5.0 The Digital Marketing Event (in Dubai on June 26 in Dubai). Some of the great issues they discuss:

  • ROI on Social Media
  • How Middle East  telcos can leverage Social Media
  • Airlines and social media
  • The genie is out of the bottle – Your customers have mobile phones!
  • The challenges of Arabic copywriting and the internet
  • Online activism in the Middle East
  • Some insights into how Wild Peeta became the Social Media darling of 2009
  • Where to start in Social Media and more….

The Conversation Prism by Brian Solis

26 04 2011

The art of listening, learning and sharing…

For more information go to www.theconversationprism.com

The future of conferences

10 11 2010

A while back I blogged about the effectiveness of B2B conferences as a marketing channel  and I recently came across a study from the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University called, “The Future of Meetings: The case for Face-to-Face”. The report was written by Christine Duffy and Mary Beth McEuen from The Maritz Institute and it looked at the impact of technology on conferences. You can download it here.

Like Christine and Mary Beth, I obviously have a vested interest in face to face meetings (probably more than them!). Through the experience of launching our IQPC online communities (www.humanresourceiq.com, www.oilandgasiq.com and others) and delivering our face-to-face events I have come to believe combining technology and face-to-face meetings can provide the ultimate blended learning opportunity. The fusion of the two ensure the community get the most out of the experience and the sponsors’ message reaches the most people.

The report does a great job pointing out that face-to-face meetings are the most effective at achieving these three objectives:

  1. Capture attention for change
  2. Inspire a positive emotional response
  3. Build human networks and relationships

It’s a great report, worth the read, they also make the point that a combination of technology and events can be very effective but I think the report stops short of the real issue.  This is in my opinion, that the real future of the meetings industry (and I include trade shows, exhibitions and conferences in that) relies on the effective integration of technology to provide the ultimate customer experience.

In my mind, technology includes webinars, virtual conferences, virtual trade shows, social networking, and even A/V on site. That said, incorporating online or virtual elements to your conference or tradeshow are critical to the success of your event and meeting the objectives of all stakeholders. 

From a delegate point of view, leveraging technology to provide a deeper, blended learning opportunity, creating more networking opportunities and allowing for more collaboration or sharing is becoming more and more essential. It also helps boost interactivity pre event, at the event and post event.

From an exhibitor point of view, leveraging technology to improve their reach or brand position and enhance their thought leadership status in the community are key. It’s essential to help sponsors go beyond just the people who attend the event.

The effective use of technology builds on customer experience and creates social objects that are key marketing tools for any sustainable event. The technology doesn’t compete with face-to-face meetings, it facilitates them and makes them more effective. The emergence of mobile ap’s, smart phones and tablet PC’s will only help make the product of face-to-face events stronger. The successful events will be the ones that leverage technology to provide a better customer experience.