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- its a natural evolution given the great clients
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Media Outlets Embrace Conferences as Profits Rise
was a business page story the NYT saw fit to print on Monday between a
stories on the pending Twitter IPO and Gawker gossip regarding the sexual
preferences of media personalities.
When you see a “GOLD
DISCOVERED IN CALIFORNIA!
” headline you can be sure somebody somewhere
is going to make some money
. But being one of those somebodies
doesn't mean just rushing in with a shovel. Face-to-face will be fundamental forever
. Live events
will be hot when our current tablets
are dead museum pieces. However, events are no easier as a business than
other communication medium.
The New York Times Media Equation
David Carr may be stumbling toward your humble blogger’s conclusion of last
month that Fear in the
Fourth Estate is Good
with wonder, the rancor establishment journalists clearly feel for
the likes Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who brokered the publication of
Bradley Manning’s purloined information, and Glen Greenwald, the Guardian
Columnist who broke Eric Snowden’s NSA revelations.
A state government executive,
serving for an effective Governor, once told your humble blogger that the
Governor continuously urged his cabinet to “run through the tape” with
their initiatives. Your humble blogger recently summoned his aquatic
version of this track aphorism, learned in kayak racing, which applies to event
When your humble blogger pulled this week’s Bloomberg
from the courier’s sheath (an unheralded development in
print distribution), my first thought was “This is what happens when the
boss goes on vacation
There a was a remarkably feeble defense of freedom of
in the “Media Equation" column
by David Carr, in the New York Times
this Independence Day week, juxtaposing
, whom Carr defines as people “responsible for following the
, wherever it may guide them” and activists
whom he defines as
people dedicated to “winning an argumen
Your humble blogger got hooked by the subject line of a
recent email from Target Marketing Magazine: “Why Content Isn't King.”
The linked article was a
disappointment but it prompted your humble blogger to examine why I bit on the subject
“Where does it hurt?
” your humble
blogger asked fellow attendees at the Specialized Information Publishers Association Conference
this week in DC. I was collecting conference pain stories
to use in my roundtable on “Conference Pain Relief; Developing or
Fixing Business Mo
As I suspected, the conference pain fell into four
The tide of social media, which swept in as the recession
was hitting, has recently receded a bit. Some of the mighty waves of expectation
and overblown rhetoric have crashed on the rocks of media reality.
Here are a
few data points among the flotsam and jetsam:
Years ago your humble blogger was intrigued when one
individual, a leader in a third-world conflict who espoused and practiced “scientific
,” switched sides and changed the course of that war.
Your humble blogger felt compelled to investigate.
The science turned out to be pretty simple
when your humble blogger finally located the writings and reports of this
obscure, young, third-world General (no easy task, pre-internet). The
key to winning a war, according to the General, was to know:
The event slice of the media pie is growing again
according to sources recently cited by BtoB
and Media Business
. Events have been part of the
since before clay
. Now we’re all atwitter about tablet computers
. New technologies are absolutely
transforming communication. But events will still be important when we
are looking at tablet computers in the museum beside the displays of “micro
computers" of the late '70s
, fax machines and telegraphs.
There are good lessons in mistakes and “natural
in events and across the media business. The lessons pose
both emotional and conceptual challenges. That’s why running the
numbers right is highly instructive
Mistakes in the moment in any live media generate tension
you run low on food, cues are missed, wiring is wrong, the award that was
supposed to be at the front of the room was left in the back – whatever.
Somebody miscalculated, didn’t practice, didn’t plan or didn’t execute the
You can’t assume your audience wants your information only
for themselves. People seek information to share and trade
primarily in conversation as was discussed at the Inbound Marketing Conference
last fall. This
primal hunt is especially vital to event curation
Content that bears repeating is valuable
people. Providing “remarkable content” is touted as a way to generate
online social media conversation that potentially “goes viral” (dirty secret: it rarely happens
without a big boost from mass media
). But if information is your product
rather than a means to sell something else, you still
about what your audience will want to share and trade
“Eighty-five million people live in Egypt and less than
1,000 people died in this revolution,” said Wael Ghonim, according to Monday’s
New York Times. Ghonim, a 31 year old Google executive, is credited with a
key role in the on-line social media campaign that helped topple Hosni Mubarak
Gauging the grief of 1000 families as good news
legitimate political-economic calculation
. But it underscores
the seriousness of the business Ghonim and his colleagues have undertaken. More
broadly the calculation underscores the seriousness of the business of
belief which is at the heart of media
in all forms.
You know engagement sells. That’s
why you should take a look at a new analysis of customer engagement.
It is consumer-oriented but your humble blogger found lessons for
B-to-B marketers about engagement elements, channels,
and measurement in the report.
Buyers aren’t seeking
for its own sake. They are looking to fulfill
. But they consistently judge the key elements of
across channels according a study offered
by Razorfish. Buyers want to feel valued
and they want to be able to trust
We wanted to share the smartest
and the dumbest
things we heard at the Inbound Marketing Summit
last week –
fortunately there was stiff competition for the former. We were one of the sponsors
of the event under our newMeetia
initiative and we found plenty of value for marketers
two day event along with a little malarkey
of stuff that was just plain fun
Clearly, online social
and content marketing is now main stream
. While some speakers
valiantly jousted against straw-man “old marketing” enemies the best
presentations were about integrating new online marketing with the old
“inbound”(online-inquiry) with “outbound” and online media with offline
And the rants against self-discipline were more than offset by practical advice
about how to measure and manage online marketing.
It was another big weekend for Facebook stories.
“The Social Network,”
won four awards at Critics' Choice Movie Awards last Friday and four more
at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday Night. The movie, which has
grossed over $200 million so far, has, according to the LA Times “won the majority of
critics honors this year, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.,
New York Film Critics Circle and National Society of Film Critics.”
Facebook was given a starring
role in the overthrow of Tunisia’s long ruling President, Zine
el Abidine Ben. The LA Times coverage with the head "Tunisia protesters
use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help organize and report" was
The seers poking at the messy entrails of economic data are
seeing good signs
. Albeit with varying degrees of trepidation,
they are forecasting noticeable recovery. Based on anecdotal evidence,
your humble blogger agrees.
As some of the “old media” bounces back we’ll be able to
more accurately tease out the long-term secular trends, set in
motion by new online and mobile media, from the shorter-term economic
cycles that the seasoned among us have seen before.
“You can’t begin early too early and you can’t
communicate too much
,” admonished a savvy collaborator at a
post-event debriefing. Your humble blogger had taken some lumps after running
what he’d thought had been a good team effort. But the maxim to became a motto.
Event production is a test of group intelligence
. Events of any size
take a team to execute. And the effectiveness of the team is not simply a
function of the individual intelligence of people on the team.
Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar, recently
offered key lessons learned in the his seven years in the driver's seat of the
company. Zipcar is trying to “redefine the way people think about
transportation.” Giffith’s "Zip Ideas" could apply to
media companies in a time when the way people think about information
is rapidly changing.
application programming interface), mobile
platforms, new platform entrants
, and of course, iPad
were among future hot topics tagged by speakers at the SIPA
UK Online Publishing and Marketing Summit
last week. This year’s
event focused heavily on the mechanics of new product launches,
and web analytics
Most people associate “curation” with the art of
. Some might mistake it for a method of meat
preservation. But curation is now is the term de jour
process of selecting organizing and presenting content
media and, more broadly, merchandise and even food. Lately it has been used to
ennoble the process of making any set of choices that create an experience.
"The Dawn of a New Age, Second Encounter
was the promoted theme of the Second Annual Personal Computer Show held in
Chicago, around this time, thirty-two years ago. Your humble blogger was
reminded of that show as I wrote about the Inbound
recently. The online/smart phone media business
keeps reminding me of the PC business in its early days. But I was surprised to
find that my memory was WRONG in key respects
. And I realized I owed a personal
Last week your humble blogger
shared some of the smartest
things we heard
and some of the fun we enjoyed at the Inbound Marketing
Summit which we sponsored under our NewMeetia initiative. But I promised the Bad
and the Ugly
along with the Good.
The dumbest thing I heard at the conference was “Scale
and media buying power are no longer a decisive advantage
speaker was David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist, Freshspot Marketing,
who, to his credit, was also the source of some smart commentary about "Real-Time Marketing
some good fun, including the donning of a tie-dye t-shirt (under his sport
coat) to flog a book he and Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot have put together
about “Marketing Lessons of
the Grateful Dead
.” But the notion that new media negates scale is wishful
Yves Matson, Senior Account
Executive at Active
Conversion, knew he had a big opportunity earlier this year. The Global Petroleum Show was
coming to Calgary where he is based. From his experience as an exhibitor in a
previous job, he knew his lead monitoring and demand generation system could
serve some of the more than 1000 exhibitors. So how did he capture this
in only nine simple steps
It’s not the media but human nature that shapes marketing
. That’s why so much of the current web environment feels like “junk
mail,” a medium developed by tracking response.
Myths about going viral are part of the regular fare offered
by new marketing gurus. “You create great content, and show it to ten friends
who show it to ten friends and pretty soon it goes viral and a million people
are looking at it.” Too bad the real world doesn’t work this way
. So, what are
the true secrets?
“Ludicrous” is how a savvy reporter of media trends
describes Chris Anderson's latest big idea: “The Web is Dead
” advanced recently
. People like Anderson
have made good careers by generating
plausible and interesting
“big ideas.” But they are not producing reliable
knowledge about the world.
The current faith in our new media and new information
technology tools seems uncomfortably like the faith in “smart bombs” early in
the second Iraq
war. The new technologies are formidable to be sure but they hardly “change
Virtual media is being quickly adopted by event marketers, a
new Center for Exhibition Research (CEIR) study indicates. But the measurement
of investment results is lagging
in virtual and other types of Digital media
the study finds. The findings are based on an online survey, now in its second
year, of show producers, corporate marketers and advertisers.
We hold this truth to be self-evident, that free people must
think for themselves. While I have written about the positive impact of Way Too
Much Information (WTMI) others see media overload as a problem.
The notion of using new media to move prospects into and
down the “sales funne
l” has been repeated ad nauseam lately (often with the
same thin anecdotes as “evidence”). It is refreshing to have the argument
turned upside down
Live events are a “huge” part of “content that you can
experience," according to Larry Weber, author of Marketing to the Social
Web and a new book, Stick & Stones. Real-time, experiential and rich media,
he says, are parts of a new “World 2.0” spawned by today’s communications
Event spending is under attack. The purveyors of “inbound
marketing,” SEO, and various forms of lead-generation and tracking, are
advocating reallocating event marketing budgets to fuel online growth. New
simulated or “virtual” events offer information seekers and marketers some of
the benefits of events at lower cost.
Keep influencers in mind, make the benefits emotionally
appealing and be systematic if you want to motivate adults to come out and
donate money to your cause. As a board member of a local non-profit, I saw how
an event promotion on a tiny budget executed by volunteers could work like a
Are you feeling Dot Com déjà vu? You are not alone among
media and marketing people if the current wave of Next Big Things is making you
A little skepticism is in order. Nobody really knows how all
this Great Stuff will work or what will survive. This early in the economic
cycle we have room to maneuver and try new things, but most of us still have a
business to run and bills to pay. Five quick thoughts:
The current lingo for pounding coin out of content is
monetizing. The old term was making money. However you phrase it, new events
are a key opportunity for old and new media alike as the economy begins to
turn. Monetizing sounds sanitized but
making good content profitable is usually a messy muddle. Events could be your
best way to package your content for a price. Here are seven quick thoughts to
help you succeed:
The best media entrepreneurs don’t take risks. They take
what other people think are risks. Bernie Goldhirsh, the founder of Inc.
Magazine and a quintessential entrepreneur, was one of the most risk-adverse
people I’ve ever had the privilege of working for.
I met the CEO of Kaon Interactive, Gavin Finn, the other day
at Mass Innovation Nights (a great local event) and immediately found yet
another reason to get excited about the future of face-to-face
Some people think “selling” is a dirty word. That’s why a
phrase caught my eye as I scanned the posts of an online discussion group:
“People are hungry to be SOLD
,” asserted Dwight Ingram, an experienced
“Business starts with a sale.” was my motto in the early
days of my event business. A savvy event guy told me I had it wrong. “Business
starts with value,” he piously insisted. But I’ll stick to my guns. Until you
get someone to buy, creating value is a hobby.
For IT consultant and computer science professor Adrian
Segar, the journey started with a bad conference experience. Determined to do better,
he set out to create an event that would truly serve him and his peers. Now,
seasoned by years of experience and research, he has written a book:
Conferences that Work, Creating Events that People LOVE. It’s a good practical
guide for running participant-directed conferences.
“Gas it! Gas it! Gas it!” radioed a spotter to the lead
driver as the car went into a sudden spin coming off a corner. It was the final
lap. Under full power, the open-wheel, rear-engine race car did a full 360 but
somehow emerged from a huge cloud of tire smoke headed in the right direction.
The driver held on to win the race. After I happened to see this spectacular
save on TV, I posted a little card in my office as a reminder of the vivid
lesson it imparted: If you’re spinning out, “Gas it! Gas it! Gas it!”
You might say it started with event-magic in 2004, the year
Facebook was founded. On a cool, damp July night in Boston
a tall, handsome, (secretly) cigarette-puffing University of Chicago
professor-turned-politician, skilled in the ancient art of oratory, delivered
his first nationally covered speech.
Being bombarded with way too much information (WTMI) may
help us learn to be more skeptical and ask more frequently, “Sez who?” The
constant barrage of WTMI could push business and consumer information users to
rely more on personal connections, develop critical judgment of sources of
information, and revive relationships with trusted brands.
Some mavens of new media see a nirvana of social networks
and small media entrepreneurs replacing big bad old media. The visions get
romantic, with the media equivalent of microbrewers toppling the giants.
In reality, we could soon see massive consolidation of new
media into new giants. It’s impossible to predict the timing of such a
consolidation, but the implications for B2B are huge.
Our advice is the same across platforms: if you are trying
to build, rebuild or tune your business model for an event or any other media
product, first figure out what you want to say, and then figure out how to make
it pay. Use this approach and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
“I don’t take notes at a conference, I write a to-do list,”
a company president and regular conference attendee told me. “I get started on
execution while I’m still at the event,” he explained. You can improve your
retention rate by learning not simply why your loyal attendees return but also
how they achieve the benefits that draw them back.
The panic in traditional media today is painfully evident.
The watchword of the day is “digital.” Old marketing and media assumptions are
being tossed out. It’s not just a cyclical situation. It’s a secular change in
the sense of a long-term, large scale phenomenon as big as the advent of radio
or TV or even movable type. So why am I sure that events aren’t going the way
of print media?
Labels: business planning, conference management, content marketing, media development, newmeetia, Roger Wilson, The conference department