Pubcon Networking Above and Beyond

The year is 2012. The month is October. The time is Pubcon. No matter if you are a veteran or rookie of Pubcon you have most likely read any of the what to do before Pubcon, what to pack, rookie survival tips, and how to make the most of type posts. Since everyone is busting out their “How to Do” Pubcon type list, why not another one?

Every year during one of the many Pubcon or related networking events a person has the opportunity to meet a large number of people. So with 3,000 to 5,000 people at a conference how do you stick out? How will you find yourself meeting random new people all night and having a great time? How will the people you do know find you in such a large sea of people?

Time to Take it Up a Level

Now you don’t necessarily go big or go home but you may want to go outside of your comfort zone. As Ralf and CK have proven, something as simple as a unique shirt can go a long way towards meeting new people.

I asked CK about his experience with the “Suits Suck” t-shirt and he had this to say, “Yeah that was fun. I got a lot of mixed reactions. I think some people might have been like “who is this guy” or were intimidated by it probably because they were wearing suits, but most people had a laugh even if they didn’t know it was from the HBO series, Entourage. I also caused some confusion by changing into an outfit with a sport coat that night. People still mention that shirt every once in a while.”

This idea doesn’t need to simply be a one conference trick! I am sure that over the years at various conferences you have seen either Mikkel deMib Svendsen in his orange suit or Rand in his yellow shoes. Both are trademark looks that I’m sure have broken the ice for more than one conversation.

Gadgets and Gallops

At any given conference that you find Jeff Randall, Tim Ash, Michael Dorausch, Andy Beal, or Matt Siltala you will find a camera nearby and possibly pointing at you. With a camera in hand you can easily walk up to a group of people, ask if they want a photo, snap a shot and then introduce yourself. Quick and easy way to meet people anywhere.

This year in fact Michal Dorausch is taking it up another level by offering Photo Ops to any and all attending Pubcon. Talk about a great idea! If anyone meets more people this coming week then him I will be truly shocked by their speed networking abilities.

Perhaps you don’t consider your photographic skills all that developed. What about creating your own Pubcon Pony and getting people to quickly pose for shots with it using their own phone’s camera? Have you never heard of the Pubcon Pony? If you haven’t here is a bit of background from Kristy the owner of Pubcon Pony, “The pony started as a bit of a joke between Brian Carter and myself on Twitter. It became real when I “won” a stuffed pony at his session. It was a little silly but it got people talking and a lot of people had heard about what had happened. It became a conversation starter. I was having fun with it. It became my personal mission to get a picture of me and the pony with as many people as I could find. It was completely silly but totally fun. Ultimately it was a way to comfortably approach people in the industry I admired and may have been otherwise to shy to talk to.”. It was quite a few years ago (sadly) that Pubcon Pony last made an appearance but maybe Kristy brought Pony back with her this year!

Does your company have its own Traveling Gnome or Pubcon Pony? Get it in the suitcase and try it out at one of the events next week.

Rydin’ Scooter Dirty

And then there is simply the act of making a big entrance. Some years ago the SEO Rascals hit the scene and Vegas hasn’t been the same since. What better way to strike up a conversation then by riding by on a scooter… on only two wheels?!? Now don’t run out and try and rent a gocart or a scooter but just think outside of the box, or at least outside of your comfort zone and you will meet more people then you will sitting in your room. Pubcon has great content and speakers but what if they dont answer that one burning question. While walking to lunch or that next session you may overhear someone say your hometown’s name. Be ready to jump at the chance to network and meet new people.

Video thanks goes out to Snoop and Hooley.

My Story

Years ago when I was a (leave me alone and let me hide at my desk) Web Developer I knew that if I didn’t force myself to attend the networking events I never would meet anyone. Eventually I got out of my comfort zone and soon found that I could go to an event of 100, 300, or 5000 attendees and leave with at least a few new friends each time.

So as you finish packing your suitcase for your flight or drive to Pubcon think about how you can get a bit out of your comfort zone. Then get to as many events, sit with as many new people during lunch, and strike up conversations in between sessions and get to networking.

Pubcon Vegas 2009

Yes this is yet another post about the upcoming Pubcon Conference. I usually, well usually is a strong word, I randomly do posts about conferences that I attend. So many people write so many great posts I figure join in with the “me toooooo” post (although I think this counts as one). Look, even Pubcon thought my post was a great idea with one of their own (and theirs is much more official).

So instead Im going to keep a list of the fun shindigs going on during Pubcon. If I miss any, drop me a note on Twitter @daver or leave a comment below.

Monday November 9

  • 530-730PM – Kick off Networking Blast – Las Vegas Convention Center, North Hall N2
  • 9-11:00PM – 5Ps Pre-PubCon Planet Hollywood Prive Party TweetUp – Planet Hollywood Prive Nightclub, on the mezzanine level – RSVP information

Tuesday November 10

  • 415-530PM Let’s Tweet – Salon C – Big screen Tweeting in the round. Concert-level sound system cranking out the music. Snacks and cold beer. Wifi. Topics to be determined by what’s hot and PubCon trending. Tweet-Jay to be named later.
  • 530-630PM – Exhibit Hall – Exhibitors Cocktail Reception
  • 7PM – ?? – Hilton Hotel next to the Conference Center – $20,000 poker tournament for 40 players
  • 7PM – ?? – Search Spam party by SEOmoz
  • 10PM – ?? – PubCon Palazzo Lavo Nightclub Party – The Palazzo Las Vegas Lavo Nightclub – RVSP Info

Wednesday November 11

  • 530-730PM – ENVY Lounge located at the Renaissance Hotel – Beer, wine and snacks. Thanks to Trackur
  • 8PM – ?? – PubCon Rok Vegas – New York New York Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Rok Vegas Nightclub – RSVP Info

Thursday November 12

  • 8PM-?? – PubCon MGM Grand TweetUp – Official Wrap Up Party! – MGM Grand West Wing Bar’s – RSVP info
  • 8PM-?? – SEO Poker Tournament at Pubcon at the Mirage – Thanks to DK and PurposeInc

Friday November 13

  • 130-330PM – Special Event : The PubCon Classic Networking Event

Also look for these (at sometime)

  • Lonely? Dont know anyone? Look for people in the following Hotel bars: TI(Treasure Island) or the WYNN

So what did I miss people?

This was last updated on Nov 5, 2009!!!

Igniting Viral Campaigns – SES SJC 2008

Im covering 5-7 sessions for Barry over @ Search Engine Roundtable and there are some other great people doing even more. So as a warm-up for those, I thought I would cover a session this morning. I think I got some of the rust off, but we will find out later.

For full SES San Jose coverage see Search Engine Roundtable.

Chris W – 10e20

What is viral marketing? – it is the spread of information quickly… word of mouth marketing online (and when done right – its supercharged)

In short – its a giant conversation online

Blogs and Microblogs

– Highly consumable format for social media users

– http://tecnorati.com/blogs/directory

People on the street think that Myspace & FB are social media

– niche space: myartspace.com

– look beyond the big ones and into your niche

Online Video

– its a place where people can go and share and discuss

Forums & Groups

– http://rankings.big-boards.com

Socail News & bookmarking

– SU, Digg, Del.icio.us

What is good content?

– lists
– How to’s
– Surveys and rankings
– Comprehensive
– Strong opinion
– “Best ofs” and Complilations
– Calculators and tools
– Video – something interesting
– Widgets
– badges and Quizes

Have clear goals and objectives.

Promote great content.

Contribute to the communities.

Make the sites work together. Cross uses sites to promote each other.

<br>————————————————————————<br>

Justilien Gaspard – Igniting Viral Campaigns

Objectives
= Branding
– Product launch
– Customer acquisition
– Link Marketing

Strategy – People of Influence

The Approach
– you could launch and then contact these people or….

Develop relationships ahead of time, build teams, and collaborate with them.

Start by sending them leads and info… down the road when you launch a viral campaign… they might be more open to helping you – even bring them in to consult.

Blogger – you could use your regular blogger to come up with something creative

Contest – you could run a contest internally

Cartoonist – hire a local or something from a cheaper country

Interviews – Experts, Bloggers, Journalists, CEOs, VPs

Research – white papers, reports, surveys

Brand Advocates

– find these people in social media, own customer lists, forums

Recruiting Influencers

– can be difficult
– attend industry conferences and interact in person
– buy advertising from a blogger that you want to talk to
– Hire consultants – experts, bloggers, journalist, form owners/moderators

Spread the buzz
– *shows long list very quickly*

<br>————————————————————————<br>

Fionn Downhill – Elixir Interactive

Why viral Marketing?

78% of 26k surveyed said they trust “recommendations from users”

7 out of 10 americans use the internet for news

– TV news losing 1MM viewers per year

– Newspaper circ down 10% since ’01

Journalists are online:

– 97% find news sources
– 79% find story ideas on newswires

Budget

Myth – web 2.0 and viral marekting costs a fortune

Fact – Using web 2.0 for viral marketing takes time and a strategic planned approach for success

Budget – create specific marketing strategies that benefits the campaign but keeps budget low. Dont have the resources for the next chicken or elf dont worrky, you can still leverage web 2.0 for effective viral marketing.

Basic elements of a viral campaign

– give free stuff away
– give away a white paper
– utilize existing communication networks
– exploigs common motivations and behaviors
– scales easily from small to very large
– provices for effortless transfer to others
– takes advanage of others’ resources

Stragegies
– blogs
– forums
-rss feeds
– *took screen down*

To Blog or not to Blog??

– you need to have a plan
– dont write a “me too” type blog

You Tube

– set up your own branded channel
– create simple videos – fun and quirky
– tell your clients and your friends
– optimize your channel
– link from your website
– flip video camera

TubeMogul – free service that distrubutes your video for you

Measuring Sucess
– Rss subscribers
– social bookmarks
– comments to your blog
– links to your website by social media
– what blogs, forums etc are talking about your
– monitor referring links

<br>————————————————————————<br>

Jennifer Laycock

How to create ideas that spread

1. Thou shalt know they customer
– all about delivering the goods
– cant deliver if you dont know the desire
2. Thou shalt be remarkable – gives Zappos example
– amazing marketing message
– amazing company
3. Thou shalt try, try again – it may take you 20 attempts
– most viral efforts dont take off
– every try improves your marketing

Brainstorming the idea….

– what do your suctomers love about your
– what do customers not like about your
– what is your biggest challenge?
– what sparks online converstation?
– can you do soething outragrous
– can you do something hilarious?
– do you have a holiday connection?
– can you make the “mostest” something
– what do you wish people said about you?
– can you create or embrace controversy
– do you have an underdog story
– are you connected to a news story
– what time of site sends the best vistors
– what motivates your customer base

Creating the campaign

– can you create and edit videos
– can you create and edit flash games
– can you create and edit widgets
– do you have a skilled writer
– do you have a skilled researcher
– do you have a skilled humorist
– do you have an email list? if so, how big? if not, can you buy one?
– can you partner with a non-profit?
– can you get your product in front of people?
-do you have the ability to track roi from traffic and conversions
– do you have an established marketing budget
– can you give something away for free? if so, how many items?

Launhing the campaign

– can the idea spread ia social media
– can the idea spread via blogs
– do you have a blog?
– can you research and build a pitch list
– do you have established relationships with influential bloggers
– do you have established relationships with influenctial social media users?

Should do before pitching
– read at least five posts on their site
– comment on one or 2 exisitng posts
– write at least 2 sentences that are unique to the person you are pitching
– have at least one other person read the email before you send it
– contact the blogger to share feedback on their site a few weeks before the pitch
– keep track of which sites you plan to pitch

Must does
– maker sure your pitch address the person by name
– make sure you have the right email address
– send individual emails
– be completely transparent (let them know who u work for)
– spell check your message
– familiarize yourself with their readers
– ask yourself in all honesty if this pitch is relevant to their readers
– check to see if they have a policy about accepting pitches
– if you pitch multiple writers at same site, let them know

Next steps
– pass out your brainstorming sheets
– gather thoughts independently
– meet as a group, check off possiblities
– create your idea

Optimizing Marketing Operations – eMetrics Lite

This session started out with Gary Katz of Marketing Operations Partners running through A LOT of content somewhat quickly.

I didnt write down much of what he said, but I did get his “Top 10” style list

You know your marketing resources are at risk…..

  1. Your metrics for success are ill-defined
  2. People are slammed
  3. Institutional memory is leaking
  4. Creativity is suffering from constipation
  5. Team & supplier relationships are dysfunctional
  6. Decision making ….(ok so I didnt get them all)
  7. Marketing portfolio is lacking

Next up was Gary Angel of Semphonic and Nancy Abila of O’Reilly.

They talked about the process and used O’Reilly as the example.

Much of the presentation was them talking over slides (go figure, I know) and explaining the ups and downs and the process they went through to move O’Reilly more towards an Analytical Company.  They went over the process of getting buy-in from stakeholders, C-Levels, and everyone else. As this is the Lite version, I have included some of what I wrote down below:

Some of the Challenges they highlighted include:

  • Data integrity
  • Resources (busy teams)
  • Evolving online strategy
  • Changing tools and platforms

What does the Future hold?

  • Continue building the foundation
  • Longer term – continue to educate, process of road map project, and create culture of actionable analytics

Deep Data Diving – eMetrics Lite

I am at eMetrics all week and will post some of my quick session notes as the week goes on. If you want to follow what everyone is seeing, I advise you check out twemes.com.

The first session was: Deep Data Diving – Bringing Online and Offline Inline w/ Rufus Evison.

13 million pieces of mail every quarter using 9 million variables

Data (is meaningless on its own) -> Information (has context) -> Insight (taking actions based on information)

EMetrics

Justification -> Usability -> Information Strategy

Great Example: Someone had said that they did a test of Gap, Macys and (some other store) with a set number of users. Those users were given $1000 to spend and one hour to spend it in. The worst store had only 5% of its users complete the task of making a purchase. The best one only converted 60%. Is this due to usability?

Talks about the McNamara Fallacy… lots of details

Gives some interesting numbers about loyalty cards, shopping habits and the UK.

Recap

– Loyalty cards help us change data -> information

– There is a difference between data and information

There was some Q&A but since this isnt Live Blogging – I didnt take notes for you :)

UPDATE: So that Susan doesnt get mad at me… follow @BruceClayInc for more coverage.

Winter Music Conference is Live on Yahoo

So I was reading on Twitter some and a tweet from Yahoo Live came through – it was for the WMC. No way? The conference I want to go to every year but always fail to plan for?

Yes, that conference. Who wouldnt want to go? Miami in March? Have you looked outside? Chicago just got more snow tonight. *shakes head in shame*

So what is Yahoo Live have to do with the WMC? Well they seem to have 2 cameras set up somewhere at the show. So now everyone can be there – in a way. Hey, its live music, who am I to complain.

The dance floor can be found @ http://live.yahoo.com/marineparade

The DJ booth where the DJ *obvious I know* and the lovely Tilly Key are entertaining the camera and chatting are live @ http://live.yahoo.com/wmclive

So go enjoy the music people and for all that is going on check out http://live.yahoo.com/evt/wmc/

Conference Schedule 2008

There seems to be more and more conferences each year. There is the usual Ad-Tech, SES, and SMX. Then there are smaller one offs such as ETail, Internet Retailer, and other events such as Woodstock 2.0 Expo. For a list of other off the beaten path conferences, take a look at a post from last year by Sugarrae.

Last year I was able to make it to the usual conferences and a few others that were new to me (SES NY and SMX Advanced) and then there was the yearly voyage to Pubcon. This year looks to have a similar flavor but with a few twists.

Here is a full list of conferences (if you know of others, please post them in comments as I want to expand beyond the usual suspects):

missed etail – oh well.
SES London Conference & Expo Feb 19-21
Affiliate Summit West February 24-26, 2008
SMX West – Santa Clara, CA (Feb 26-28)
SES New York Conference & Expo Mar 17-20
SMX Munich (in German, April 8-9)
SES Hamburg Forum Apr 10-11
SMX Sydney (April 10-11)
Ad Tech San Fran April 16-17
SMX China (April 18-19)
SMX Social Media – Long Beach, CA (April 22-23)
SMX Madrid (in Spanish, May 20-21)
SES Milan Forum May 27-28
SMX Advanced – Seattle, WA (June 3-4)
Internet Retailer 2008 – Chicago June 9-12

SES Toronto Conference & Expo Jun 17-18, 2008
Ad Tech Chicago Aug 5-6
Affiliate Summit Boston (August 10-12, 2008)
SES San Jose Conference & Expo Aug 18-21, 2008
Affiliate Summit New York City (October 5, 2008)
SMX East – NYC – (Oct. 6-8)
Blogworld Expo – Las Vegas – Sept 20-21
SMX London – November 2008
PubCon Las Vegas 2008 –  Nov 11-14, 2008
SES Chicago Conference & Expo Dec 8-11, 2008

The bolded/highlighted conferences are still on the table for me – Ill figure out in the next week which ones Ill be attending. Anyone have any others I should think about prior to making a final decision?

*Update: Pubcon has announced the dates for Vegas this year.

Why Vendors Annoy Me

Over the past few years I have averaged 3 to 6 conferences a year such as Pubcon, SES, and SMX. Chicago is also home to an SES, Ad-tech, Etail, and other smaller conferences and makes afternoon trips to see friends and check out vendors a snap.

All of these conferences have one thing in common:exhibit halls where people are trying to recruit you to buy, sell, or partner with them on some level. Sometimes they are interesting and other times its just a waste of my time, but I go back as you never know what you will find there. This leads to a large number of vendors and in turn, sales people having my email and contact information.

Depending on how sophisticated the conference is, there are different ways the vendor can get your information. Most of the time its a “Can I have your card so I can show my boss I talked to people” or “Let me scan your ID and you will qualify to win prize X” or lastly the “Put your card in the bowl and you can have swag/register to win more swag” type of come ons. No matter what method they use, they all in the end are simply trying to get your name, title, email and phone if possible. Cant blame them for trying can you?

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Pubcon Las Vegas 2007

Pubcon Logo So Pubcon 2007 has come and gone – and Im

happy and sad. I spent a long time in

Las Vegas and by the end of the week I was more then ready to go. I spent the following weekend catching up on email, sleep, laundry, sleep, and just being anti-social.

Pubcon is great in that everyone that goes knows (well just about everyone) their head from their ass. The conversations are on a different level while being very hush hush – most people dont say what company they work for or if they are even white/black/gray hat. And who cares? We are all there to learn and be social – they dont call it a Pubcon for nothing.

So what did I learn? Im still not sure but I have a lot to read (all the sessions I missed) and I was able to see some friends I hadnt seen in a year or two. What more can a guy ask for?

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