October 19, 2010
And Then There Was 2010 BlogWorldExpo: #bwe10
I’ve been going to BlogWorldExpo since it began. An event dedicated to all things blogging, online content and social media, it gathers bloggers who flock to SXSW in the Spring, mom and parenting bloggers who flock to BlogHer in August, and geek bloggers who flock to (or should I say are addicted to) social media and technology events every month.
The event, now at over 3,000 attendees, also attracts generalists, travel bloggers, marketing execs, blogging solution & tool vendors, and big brands trying to make an impact on the blogosphere on and offline.
A few highlights: I sampled saffron paella fresh off the Jenn-Air stage, met celebrity chef Manoushka Guerrier (Single Serving) of Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, and sat next to interesting and engaging Erik Trinidad at a dinner who came up with a creative blog brand: Fancy Fast Food. His USP? He essentially takes fast food and makes it 'look' fabulous. Food had a bigger play this year at BlogWorld. Check out my summary post on We Blog the World, listing some of the topics and speakers.
One booth souped up dark chocolate espresso and gourmet coffee and Macallan Single Malt Whiskey was giving away samples, who btw, had two hired guns manning the booth, one of whom was not a whiskey drinker and a second who drank another brand.
Held in the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay, several tracks take place simultaneously down 3 long hallways, while activity buzzes in the exhibit hall nearby. Adjoining the exhibit hall is what they refer to as a New Media Lounge, where podcasts and video interviews took place and bloggers connected for live posting, photo uploads and managing email overflow.
In from around the world were bloggers from Japan, Australia, New Zealand (Darren Rowse from ProBlogger), Scotland (Ewan Spence), Germany (Nicole Simon), Ireland (Irish Polyglot), Poland, Argentina and hundreds of others. Babette Pepaj from Bakespace co-organized the food track which also drew lifestyle and travel bloggers, including travel blogger Gary Arndt who I rarely get to see but thanks to this annual blogging event, we were able to catch up. Below, Dave Peck with the Meshin folks at the Jason Falls meet-up.
I ran into Technorati’s CEO Richard Jalichandra and a bunch of blogger pals from LA who cover everything from relationships, sex, boomers, aging and fitness to politics, entertainment, music and travel. TWIT’s Leo Laporte was conducting interviews as was Marsha Collier on the show floor for a few hours each day. Below, Renee Blodgett, Leo Laporte and Barbara Rozgonyi.
Panel discussions were broad, ranging from photography tips, SEO for blogs, digital crisis communications, money trail, podcasts, social media policies, Internet Radio, blogging platforms and travel videos to non-profits, politics, education, parenting, mobile vlogging, Social CRM, travel pornand creating a blog network.
Barry Moltz spoke on how to utilize the speaking game to leverage your brand and blog, how to capitalize on it by using speaking to the blog revenue pie. He emphasizes three things everyone 'must have down' - what's your bio, what's your brand and what's your promise? Video of the session to follow tomorrow. Below Joseph Morin who did a bang-up job with Social Rewards all week and Steve Hall.
Countless official and unofficial parties were held every night, after all….it is Las Vegas, so it’s a great opportunity for sponsors to tap into the no rules policy or at least limited rules, where drinks can be served into the wee hours of the morning, people can drink on the streets and leave restaurants with a glass of wine in their hands, and people’s inhibitions are fluid and loose at best.
Below a little glitz and glam at the Techset opening party.
Party hopping is part of the blogging conference culture and not unlike SXSW, I got the sense each and every night, that attendees were desperately looking for the next bash after each one ended. Social Rewards held Luxor suite receptions and scavenger-hunt like exercises were an integral part of participating. Thanks Luxor & Joseph Morin.
You were given clues and links to scour through and questions to answer and ultimately you were given information albeit vague, about where the party was held. It had a fun, gaming kind of flavor to it, which was perfect for any Las Vegas venue and brands like the Las Vegas Luxor, Sony, Ford (kudos to Scott Monty -- @scottmonty -- who won an award this week), PopChips and others were able to tap into the subsequent buzz that flowed from the events each night.
Whoah, Gregory Feinstein has his hands full at the Mashable bash. So did everyone else btw.
Client CarWoo!, an inexpensive, private and efficient way to buy a new car online, threw a women’s blogger event, to celebrate their launch at Digital Dealer, a car event which started a few days earlier at the Mirage. Below Heather Meeker and Marsha Collier arrive from the massive black hummer limo.
The hummer limo picked up the girls at the Mandalay Bay for a little off-site food, champagne, wine, make-up from the team at FRESH and poker tips from Shore Slocum. Below, inside the limo, 25 or more of us were packed in with champagne bottles and glasses. Oh yeah and note the fabulous pair of red boots. Below, Renee Blodgett, Beth Kanter.
Below, the FRESH team 'refresh' attendees.
Below Pepsi's Social Media guru Bonin Bough at the Mashable party
The Bellagio’s Yellowtail Restaurant hosted a tasting for some of the food, wine and travel bloggers, so I couldn’t resist.
Award-winning chef Akira Back put together a myriad of dishes that included Jidori chicken with potato puree and garlic cream, Scottish Salmon with yuzu lemon, duck prosciutto with pickles and micro beets, seared Hokkaido Scallops with cherry tomatoes and mustard potato puree, Alaskan King Crab with rock shrimp, spicy-citrus aioli, grilled walu with shiitake mushrooms & pearl onions and braised kobe beef short ribs.
A more in-depth review of the tasting can be found here, including a handful of fabulous food photos I took on-site. Thanks Lightgroup -- @lightgroup and @bakespace.
PopChips also drew in some of the foodies at a nearby after bash, where they promoted a Twitter quiz to get the word out about their brand.
Keynotes this year included Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Jim Louderback, Susan Bratton and Dermot McCormack, Karen Hughes, Reid Wilson and Dick Glover. The last panel of the event was a cross between a talk-show format and a Q&A. Moderated by Rob Barnett, Adam Carolla, Penn Jillette from Penn & Teller, Mark Malkoff, Cali Lewis and Jeffrey Hayzlett discussed what works and doesn't with new media.
They were all bluntly entertaining about new media, old media, and where online is heading. Penn said of Twitter on-stage that it is one of the most intimate vehicles we have today to communicate, connect and engage.
He overtly compared it to the countless impersonal and often fake physical exchanges we have with people at cocktail parties and other events. Intimacy at its best he feels and goes on to explain how he uses Twitter. He says that he tweets all of his own stuff and rarely retweets other people’s thoughts, one of the reasons he thinks he has a popular and widespread following (@pennjillette has over 1.6 million followers at last check).
I would bet it also has a little to do with the fact that he is a national if not international entertainer celebrity, not to mention has a very sarcastic and in-your-face, bold personality. It’s so surprise that America eats him up, since yanks are typically drawn to the eclectic, the brash, the tough and the bold in my experience. Check out this video from the floor and this blog post that captures nearly all of the panel discussion in a three part video -- subsequent videos can be found in a separate blog post and on YouTube.
Tech Karaoke closed the event on Saturday night at the Palms Hotel. It was held in a large threatre with cinema-like chairs perched on an angle and the stage was roughly 4.5 feet from the ground, giving those brave enough to sing in from of their blogging peers, plenty of space and height to really feel their 3-5 minutes of fame.
Below, the tech karaoke audience get a 'little' excited and take in the energy from on-stage.
On the stage, participants play full out. For example, who knew that the iSocket guys were so talented (and so strong?)
Leaving the Klout party to go hang out with Jason for a bit.
Inside the Venetian Hotel along the strip.
Sugar Jones and Marla Schulman
@Zaneology wore these incredible nylons that were sure to make a statement and then some not to mention being incredibly appropriate for a blogging conference.
CarWoo's CEO Tommy McClung at the end of a very long night.
Kris Krug, Deb Shultz
More Mashable fun. Ben Parr was missed (@benparr).
Mashable's Brett Petersel and TechZulu's Efran Toscano
Sugar Jones, Ask Dave (Taylor), Oliver Starr, Renee Blodgett, Roseann Higgins
Chris Noble (@cfnoble) graced us with Elvis. (really good Elvis - who knew he could belt out a tune like he can?)
More late night tech-karaoke at the Palms.
Go Sheila Dowd. It was indeed a lot of work but a helluva lot of fun too! :-)
Because Ken Yeung (@thekenyeung) shoots as much as I do and then some. And he's really good. Smile.
At the Techset bash, David Spark, Renee Blodgett @magicsaucemedia, Pat Jenkins of Uptake and Michael Tchong of @ubercool.
October 19, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Events, On Blogging, On Branding, On Food & Wine, On Social CRM, On Technology, PR & Marketing, Social Gigs & Parties, Social Media, Travel, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
September 01, 2010
What Works for the Worker, Works for the CustomerYesterday, I wrote about our roundtable discussion on internal communications. I mentioned staff communications and it's effect on customer/client needs.
This was the golden nugget we uncovered during our chat - at the end of the day, proper internal comms drive more value from your customer and client relationships. And not just monetary value: loyalty, recognition, association, recommendations, on and on and on. An excited, informed staff member is better equipped to provide a greater service experience to your audience (Zappos being the most obvious of examples…)
Internal communication, then, cannot be an afterthought. Communication affects service. Communication is service; A service to your employees which improves service for your customer.
It’s not a new concept but it is one that, in our world of increasing content and decreasing time for it all, can be easily forgotten on the back burner.
We've started a few growing group discussions on LinkedIn around these ideas - would be great to hear your thoughts either here on the blog or over in the discussion groups.
Is it useful to think of Communications as a Service?
August 28, 2010
Time to Start Thinking Differently About Digital Marketing
The obsessive focus by marketers on acquisition makes less sense in the current climate.
Marketers have transitioned their activities from offline advertising to online advertising,seeking ways in which to use social media to, well, advertise – despite the fact that that’s not how the medium seems to work.For a start, markets are retracting, making the retention of customers an essential exercise. Secondly, customers are more likely to be influenced by what peers say about product or service on a social networking site than by an ad, and never more so than in B2B decision making where advertising has always hovered around a mere 15% of marketing spend.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - has your business grabbed digital marketing by the horns?
What are you doing that's engaging?
August 25, 2010
Who's In Your Audience?Earlier this year, I attended a seminar in Branding & Communications Today.
It was a morning of examining brand strategies and key demographics. The phrase of the day was definitely 'Gen Y', after a presentation focused purely on exploring the behaviours (on and offline) of the social media generation (those born '81 to '01) who were also affectionately referred to as Young Fogey's, for their tendancies to behave older than their years, despite their depictions in the media).
At the end of the morning, we broke into groups and discussed the morning's presentations. When the topic of Gen Y inevitably came up, one of the members in our group posed an interesting question:
Do you consider your audience based on age/gender/routine or do you consider your audience in terms of their lifestyle and behaviour?
An example he gave of this was a 40 year old divorcee regressing into juvenile behaviour compared against an 'Young Fogey' behaving wise beyond his (or her) year's.
While the process of considering demographics is clearly not as clean cut as A or B, it's still an interesting thought, don't you think?
August 23, 2010
Does Marketing Need to be 'Official'?
So it’s official. Relationship building websites work. At least that is the finding of a study on P&G’s customer experience website in Greece (the equivalent of www.supersavvyme.com).
This was one of the papers presented at the Academy of Marketing Conference, a convention of academics who study and research what we practitioners do for a living. The paper showed that broadening the customer-company relationship via the website increased positive word of mouth towards the website, and intentions to increase purchase of the company’s products.
So far, so good. Except they haven’t compared it to other relationship building websites. Or outside Greece. And the statistical differences are so miniscule you’d need a microscope to see them.
A second paper looked at whether loyalty cards increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Answer? Not really. The reason being that all stores have loyalty cards so it’s a must, not a differentiator.
What was interesting about both these papers is that the research process (which is incredibly robust, uses lots of very complex terminology and some graphs that make you glad you’re no longer at school) revealed what I would argue most marketers know by gut – that making an effort to broaden your customer’s interaction with your brand or company (as long as it’s relevant and useful) is going to make them more likely to want to do business with you. And that marketing’s job is to keep ahead of the game constantly. Once you have a good idea (like storecards) your competitors will catch up – meaning you have to move ahead of the pack again. That’s what makes our jobs so stimulating.
However, wile the academic community is pontificating about whether 0.03 is a meaningful statistical difference we are judged by whether it actually made any difference to the success of our client’s companies. So it’s left me wondering why we marketers are so desperate to have our ‘gut instincts’ validated by research?
Would welcome anyone’s views.
August 12, 2010
CiscoSPice: a new Old Spice for B2B?
Well, I put out a call to action for B2B to be inspired by the Old Spice Guy and Cisco answered.
Earlier this month, Cisco launched its own ‘spice’ campaign called #CiscoSPice (Cisco Service Provider Interactive Communications E-thingy…). Instead of bare-chested Isaiah Mustafa, they’ve pulled in Ted from Accounting (in what could be a very visual representation of consumer v. business perceptions) to create personal responses to Twitter users who engage with Cisco either via the #CiscoSPice hashtag or through one of three Twitter accounts (@CiscoSP360, @CiscoMobility, @CiscoSPVideo).
The campaign has been met with some judgement and claims that it is a rushed, ignorable and uninspired parody that either didn’t do enough differently or didn’t mock enough of the original. Whether or not any of this is true, I give credit to Cisco for being brave enough to try it. Even Cisco will admit that Ted might not stack up to Old Spice, but they still gave it a go. And, it's got people talking (it's not all bad, there's also praise for the campaign).
What do you think – can a B2B campaign make you giggle and still be effective?
August 11, 2010
140 Characters Hits the Bay AreaJeff Pulver's 140 Character's Conference is coming to San Francisco on August 19, 2010 as part of Connected Marketing Week. You can register here); also check out San Francisco's schedule.
BTW, Jeff is touring with this relatively new conference - only a couple years old, he has had and plans to have events in the following cities: LA, Boston, Detroit, London, Tel Aviv, Barcelona, New York and Washington DC. And I thought I never slept. Can we just say impressive and be done with it.
At these events they have explored the effects of Twitter and social media on a wide range of topics including: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising, Politics, Fashion, Real Estate, Music, Education, Public Safety and Public Diplomacy.
As Jeff brings #140conf to different cities, the underlying conference is a reflection of the people of the surrounding communities.
The San Francisco event’s programming personifies some of the counter-culture trends which the city created in the late ‘60’s and ‘70s – trends which took hold and shaped the minds and consciousness for an entire generation. If you're in town, be sure to register and attend.
July 21, 2010
How SMM is Beneficial Today
The best way to make your knowledge reach people is sharing it. Providing you a whole wide platform for to publish your creative mind, SMM has become a non detachable feature of online marketing. Names like twitter, LinkedIn, blog posting have become commonly used for this purpose. According to a survey conducted in the year 2009, around 80% of corporate marketing has been done through blogging only. The advent of technology has changed how people consume media, which has had a direct effect on how marketers reach their target audience. Digital marketing is without a doubt the future of the industry, and it is best for agencies to jump on the bandwagon early before it is too late to get with the times.
Social media is perhaps the most popular aspect of technology to emerge in the last few years, and has quickly become an institution. With websites such as Facebook and Twitter, people have never been able to integrate their online and offline lives together better than they can now. Since so many people spend a good deal of time visiting and updating their profiles on sites such as these, marketers have come to realize that there is no better way to reach people these days than through social media. Taking advantage of social media sites can make marketing easy and inexpensive.
Marketers use social media in a variety of different ways. Most social media sites sell ad space, which can be used to target either a national or local market. Marketing agencies are learning that since these sites can target someone based on their location it is not much different than advertising in print, yet it costs a whole lot less. On top of these methods, marketers are also starting to set up their own Facebook and Twitter accounts so that they can report any type of news or events. If the page is fun and interesting to read, it may even be possible to develop a following of people that you can market to on a regular basis. Using social media to this effect is perhaps the single most important thing agencies can do.
July 16, 2010
2010 AlwaysOn Global 250 AnnouncedYesterday, AlwaysOn and Tony Perkins released their annual list of the fastest growing 250 privately held companies across a variety of technology fields-- including green, consumer internet, SaaS, cloud, mobile. You can view the full Global 250 list here.
The AlwaysOn editorial team, along with partners at Manatt, Morgan Stanely, the Blackstone Group, KPMG, Silicon Valley Bank, Sonnenschein, and Bridge Bank, as well as industry experts across the globe, scoured the entrepreneurial community to identify the top 250 private companies that are taking old notions of doing things and forging solutions that will lead to industry shake-up and huge value-creation opportunities.
The AlwaysOn Global 250 winners were selected from among thousands of domestic and international technology companies nominated by investors, bankers, journalists, and industry insiders. Criteria for selection included market opportunity, nature of innovation, media buzz and awareness, commercialization and ability to create stakeholder value.
July 14, 2010
Echo's New "Recent Comments Widget"Echo, a service that allows you to share your content and watch the live reaction in real-time, just announced a real-time Recent Comments Widget this week.
Publishers can quickly embed Echo on any site and turn their static pages into a real-time stream of diggs, tweets, facebook updates, comments and more. With this new release, publishers have an even more powerful tool at their fingertips to help increase traffic, engagement and time spent on a site.
Static home pages fail to show the vibrant, community activity occurring on a site. Echo's new real-time recent comments reveals the velocity of social activity across the site -- driving readers to where the activity is now. The stream includes Comments, Tweets and other social reactions from across the web. Each reaction is displayed with the visitor's avatar, linkable title to the article, the first few lines of the comment, and the source of the content (E.g. Echo, Twitter, etc.).
The widget is designed to be displayed on site sidebars and on home pages, turning static web pages into vibrant real-time experiences, driving Facebook style engagement on publishers' sites.
Publishers can customize the widget to display reactions across the site or on a section by section basis. Any combination of Comments, Tweets, Diggs, etc. can also be added or removed from the stream. You can install the widget by signing up for an Echo Pro Trial account and installing both the Comments and Recent Comments widget on your site.