Friday, April 29, 2016

Capturing Millennials

The American Society for Association Executives this week shuttered its decades-old "Springtime in the Park" and announced a new un-expo, "The Xperience Design Project."

The move typifies every event producer's urge to capture Millennials, who'll comprise half of all prospective attendees by 2020.

Like event producers, travel companies are "scrambling to capture the business and loyalty of this new breed," Jordan Forrest says in Forbes.

Forrest notes five ways Millennials differ from their predecessors:

They travel. Millennials average five business trips a year, compared to only two for older professionals. They're also more likely to extend a business trip into a vacation.

They tinker. Millennials "expect mobility and crave convenience," Forrest says. They're more likely to use apps to book business travel and streamline travel plans.

They splurge. Millennials have expensive tastes, "as long as they’re not the ones paying." They're more likely to spend company money on fine dining and room service than seasoned colleagues.

They freewheel. Millennials are far more likely than older colleagues to book trips and change travel plans at the last minute. In response, "many airlines and hotels have begun offering last-minute online travel deals targeted at digitally savvy Millennial travelers."

They grouse. Millennials trust online reviews and aren't shy about posting negative ones. "It’s no wonder that businesses are eager to meet Millennial demands," Forrest says.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Should You Blog When You're Tiny?

You're never too tiny to blog, says blogger Lindsay Kolowich.

"Some of the most dramatic successes we've seen with blogging come from businesses in niche industries," she says.

Kolowich points to the success of tiny Conversant Bio.

The firm boosted leads seven times in 10 months by publishing six posts a month.

When it comes to blogging, the burning question isn't should, but how.

Conversant Bio found the secret to blogging success when it quit being a supplier and became a thought leader.

Instead of publishing hackneyed posts like "10 Benefits of a Tissue Sample for Research," the firm published posts about trends in cancer research.

The posts pulled prospects because they included keywords pharma researchers use when they Google—and not by accident.

Before writing any post, the firm learned the keywords prospects Google by asking cancer researchers. Its writers then created posts that included one or more keywords in the title, subheads, body and meta-tags.

Within 10 months of starting its blog, Conversant Bio saw visits swell to 34,000 a month (70% as a result of Google searches).

The firm turned readers into leads by offering them e-books based on the blog posts.

Conversant Bio's chief commercial officer anticipates a 14,500% ROI in the effort in three years.

Conference Planners: There's No Sin in Syndication

Last year, Hulu bought the streaming rights for all 180 episodes of Seinfeld.

The price tag: $1 million per episode.

The $180 million Hulu paid came on top of $3 billion in syndication fees that Seinfeld had already generated from other outlets.

While conference planners take pride in staging profitable "first-run" events, unlike the creators of Seinfeld, most turn their backs on the profits to be made from "re-runs."

That's a pity, says Mark Gross in MarketingProfs.

"Your organization is building a valuable repository of content waiting to be deployed in new ways for new audiences," Gross says. 

"Commercial event producers, corporate conference organizers and professional associations can all benefit from reusing conference content."

With all the affordable technology out there, repurposing conference content should be a no-brainer.

But conference planners in the main still see repurposing as virtual "double-dipping."

Something odious and "not for us."

Gross urges planners no longer to think of conference content as perishable, but instead think of it as a marketing asset.

"Approach this content like you would any other marketing asset and use it at every stage of your marketing strategy," he says.

Re-purposing your conference content can open "a world of possibilities," Gross says.

A few include:
  • Marketing packaged proceedings to non-attendees.
  • Reusing visuals from technical presentations in online tutorials for newcomers to the field.
  • Delivering "gamified" online training modules to team members of attendees' organizations who do not attend the conference.
  • Offering an e-book compiled from transcripts of the keynotes to promote a future conference.
  • Offering an e-book that collects the best presentations from the same field to create inroads into niche markets.
  • Publishing a series of blog posts based on the abstracts from a set of related technical papers, to spotlight an industry issue or trend.
Repurposing conference content not only extends the shelf-life of your event, but opens new doors to increased revenue, brand loyalty and market share.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Sure-Fire Steps to Thought Leadership

Master marketer Edward Segal contributed today's post. Edward helps corporations and organizations generate publicity about their activities and shows leaders, staff and members how to deliver effective presentations.

What would you rather be: a chief or just another member of the tribe? A trail blazer or trail follower? Someone who helps determine and influence the conversation or a worker bee that waits for others to establish the agenda? 

If you’d prefer to help set the pace instead of simply run the race, then the chances are you would like to be a thought leader. Here’s how to do it: 

Be an expert
  • Select topics or issues about which you have knowledge.
  • Have or develop a track record of writing or speaking about your topics or issues to groups and organizations in the industries or professions in which you want to be considered a thought leader.
  • Stay ahead of the curve by thinking about your field beyond today and sharing predictions or forecasts that illustrate your authority in the field.
Be a joiner
  • Join or lead groups and organizations that are more likely to help establish your role as a thought leader.
  • Volunteer to serve on committees or task forces that can bolster your expertise and add to your credentials as an authority.
Be visible
  • Identify, create and take advantage of appropriate opportunities for you to be seen as an expert or authority, including speeches, presentations, and media, blog, and podcast interviews.
  • Post on your website or social media platforms links to articles, interviews, speeches, etc. that you have done about your areas of specialty.
  • Practice your ability to prepare and deliver short, pithy and memorable quotes that will be used by journalists and bloggers in their stories about or interviews with you.
Be a student
  • Keep current on the trends and developments in the areas in which you are or want to be considered an authority.
  • Study other thought leaders inside and outside your industry or profession. What can you learn from their successes that you can apply to your own efforts to become or stay a thought leader? 
Be persistent
  • Identify or create new opportunities to position yourself as an authority and expert.
  • Maintain a blog to which you post on a regular basis, and install a widget so that people can be notified about each new post.
  • Reinforce your role as a thought leader in ways that you have not done before, such as writing a book, starting a blog, becoming a public speaker, or proactively seeking media interviews and speaking opportunities.
  • Set monthly, quarterly or annual goals and milestones of important activities and accomplishments that can help you become and remain a thought leader.
Becoming a thought leader can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you act like you are a thought leader, the more likely it is you will become one.

Monday, April 25, 2016

2 Monkeys Wrote 50 Headlines: See Which Worked Best

When it comes to novel ideas, less isn't more, Adam Grant says in Originals.

"Many people fail to achieve originality because they generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection," Grant says.

But originality take tonnage.

"Quantity is the most predictable path to quality," Grants says.

He cites the case of two copywriters employed by Upwworthy.

Each wrote headlines for a video depicting monkeys receiving food as a reward.

Some were good. One was gold.

The headline "Remember Planet of the Apes? It's Closer than Your Think," for example, drew 8,000 viewers.

The headline "2 Monkeys Were Paid Unequally: See What Happens Next" drew 500,000.

Upworthy in fact has a house rule: You must write 25 headlines.

You need to unearth tons of debris to discover a diamond.

"It's only after we've ruled out the obvious that we have the greatest freedom to consider the more remote possibilities," Grant says.

The first twenty-four headlines may be lousy, but the twenty-fifth "will be a gift from the headline gods."

Purple Prose

It's been raining solemn tributes since Thursday.

We've also had to weather a torrent of opportunistic self-promotion.

While there's still a few days to enter, right now it looks like the grand prize in Prove You're Totally Tactless goes to Cheerios for its Tweet.

A spokesman defended the effort by saying both Cheerios and Prince are Minnesotan.

Exploiting headlines works, as David Meerman Scott says.

Boorishness doesn't.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Trivial Pursuits

The CEO of a large corporation sought to parade his gravitas on LinkedIn this week by posting a lovely bromide.

Before deleting it, he inspired the multitudes to mockery.

But who, really, cares nowadays about spelling and grammar?

Truly, spelling and grammar are trivial.

Trivial comes from the Latin word trivium, "a place where three roads cross." In short, a "commonplace."

Medieval scholars borrowed the trivium to describe the first three liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric and logic. They thought grammar, rhetoric and logic were the very core of all learning.

What did they know?

The liberal in liberal arts, by the way, comes from the Latin word liberalis, "worthy of a free person" (as opposed to an ignorant slave).

Why trouble yourself with trivia, when you're busy being a thought leader?

Show your thankful.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vitalizing Trade Events

Trade shows have "outgrown" learning, networking and party-going, says Holly Barker in Event Manager Blog.

Trend-setting organizers and exhibitors are re-caffeinating mature events with these five ingredients:

VIP treatment. They're treating attendees to "all-star access" to special events and lavishing them with "gifts of information."

Personalization. They're tailoring touch-points by "listening to attendees and creating a customized plan that appeals to their interests and needs on an individual level."  Attendee feedback is essential to the effort.

Data. They're letting data drive new ideas for deepening attendee engagement, as well as personalization.

Experience. They're abandoning "old school" insistence that bigger's always better and focusing instead on little things, like themed tchotchkes, better signage and handsomer staff shirts, to deliver a memorable experience. "You want to look like a complete, professionally pulled together package," Barker says.

Un-booths. They're turning exhibits into teen hangouts where attendees can "chill and mingle with booth staff." Food, fun, artworks and "blinky giveaways" make un-booths happening places.

Vitalizing an event takes study and a little chutzpah, Barker says. 

"It never hurts to test a new idea and see if it picks up or is a total flop. The best way to be a trendsetter is to get out there and just do it!"

Thursday, April 21, 2016


Ever notice how brief and clear good direct mail letters are?

How direct is your writing?

Blogger Josh Bernoff asked 547 business writers what troubles them about other people's writing. He discovered:
  • 65% think others' writing is too long
  • 65% think others' writing is poorly organized
  • 54% think others' writing is riddled with jargon
  • 49% think others' writing is not direct enough
"Now we have proof that brevity, organization, and clarity issues in what you write are frustrating people more than you think," Bernoff says.

Writing shorter—compressing your arguments into tight little packages—can help.

By writing shorter, the organization of your arguments becomes clearer—and your writing more direct.

"Worry about being brief and clear, and the reader will perceive you as direct."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Event Producers: Still Scared of Social

Six social media perils still frighten many event producers, says the inimitable KiKi L'Italien in Event Manager Blog.

"Not everyone is thrilled about all things social media," L'Italien says.

Producers' six most prevalent fears?

I'll look bad. Fear of boo-boos, trolls and spammers persuade many producers social media's too risky. The answer? Develop a social media crisis plan.

I have too many choices. Periscope, Instagram, Snapchat, Peach. Platform fatigue is no hobgoblin. To zero in, ask your audience where it wants to engage. Don't guess.

I'll invite criticism. Fear of handing critics an arena daunts many a producer. But criticisms are natural and may deserve response. And advance criticisms open the door to mid-course corrections.

It's not for us. A presumption your audience doesn't engage is outdated thinking. Adoption statistics prove otherwise.

It's invasive. Yes, some aspects of your event should be protected, such as your exhibitors' intellectual property and your attendees' personal privacy. What to do? Ask a lawyer for advice.

It cheapens my live event. A misplaced worry. Streaming video actually boosts future-event attendance. It's like a sample of crack.

L'Italien's last word to fraidy cats? 

Get a grip.

"Social media is a regular part of today’s expected communication repertoire," she says.

"Making decisions based on fear is never a good idea."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to Handle a Hard Presentation: 22 Sure-Fire Tips

Marketing maestro Edward Segal contributed today's post. Edward helps corporations and organizations generate publicity about their activities and shows leaders, staff and members how to deliver effective presentations.

What’s the most important thing you can do if you know that you will be making a presentation to a skeptical audience, at a challenging venue, or in an otherwise difficult situation? 

In a word: prepare.

While it is impossible to ensure that every presentation will go smoothly, there are definitely steps you can take to help stack the deck in your favor.

Here’s how:
  • Don’t accept speaking invitations for which you are unqualified or unprepared. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
  • If you spoke to the same tough group or in the same difficult setting before, ask yourself: What did I learn from the experience?
  • Think twice about giving breakfast speeches if you are not a morning person, or evening presentations if you like to retire early.
  • Do your homework about the audience (demographics, knowledge of the subject matter, special interests or concerns, etc.); ask the sponsoring organization if there are any red flags about the audience you should be aware of (forewarned is forearmed).
  • Ask others who have spoken to the organization what it was like, and what you can learn from their experience.
  • If you accept the speaking invitation, know what you want to accomplish with your remarks.
  • Know the basics about the speaking opportunity (format, length of your presentation, time, location, etc.).
  • Arrive early so you can get a feel for the room where you will be speaking, greet and chat with people as they arrive, etc.
  • Make sure that the layout of the room is to your liking and meets your needs (classroom-style, theatre-style, roundtables, etc.).
  • When you arrive, check with your host to ensure the arrangements, purpose and topic of your presentation have not changed.
  • Know where things are, such as lights, microphones and audio controls, AC and heating controls, water, restrooms, etc.
  • Ensure that you and your audience will be comfortable by checking the heat or AC settings, microphone settings, lighting levels, extraneous or distracting noise, etc.
  • Check out any that stairs you must climb to get on or off the stage. This will help you to avoid tripping over unfamiliar steps.
  • Don’t tell jokes unless you’ve already proven that you can tell jokes well. There’s nothing funny about no one laughing at your jokes.
  • Make sure your audience can see you. Don’t hide behind the podium.
  • Do not hide your gestures. Keep your hands up where your audience can see them!
  • Maintain a good posture when standing or sitting. No slouching!
  • If audience members do not have access to a microphone, be sure to repeat questions before answering them. This helps ensure everyone in the room hears what was asked.
  • Respond honestly to questions. It’s okay to say "I don’t know."
  • Don’t allow one person to monopolize the session. ("Let’s meet afterwards to talk about this.")
  • Summarize/rephrase lengthy questions for the audience. ("Let me make sure that I understand what you are asking...")
  • Do not allow Q&A sessions to drag on. Signal to your audience that the session is almost over. ("We have time for one more question.")

Monday, April 18, 2016

Transparency Can Improve Targeted Ads

A new study shows customers alter their self-labels when served an ad they think targets them because of their web browsing, provided the ad matches their aspirations.

More importantly, they also increase brand consideration.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted four experiments:
  • They served web-browsing college students an ad for a restaurant with “Refreshingly Sophisticated American Classics.” They told one group the ad was served because of their web browsing; they told another, because of their demographics. The first group was more likely to label themselves as having "sophisticated food preferences," and was more likely to dine at the restaurant, than the second.
  • They served students an ad for a luxury watch, telling one group the ad was based on their web browsing; another, the ad was not. The first group of students was more likely to label themselves as "sophisticated" than the other group.
  • They served students an ad for a pro-environment speaker. Students told the ad was served because of their web browsing were more likely to label themselves “green” and donate to an environmental charity, than students who thought the ad wasn't targeted.
  • They served students an ad for an "outdoorsy" hot chocolate. Students with an interest in the outdoors were swayed by the ad; students without an interest in the outdoors weren't. The experiment proved, unless they already aspire to something, people wont alter their self-labels because of an ad.
The upshot? 

Web advertisers should be more transparent, because targeted ads with statements like "This is recommended based on your browsing history" can increase brand consideration.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Call to Armchairs

Midway through his fireside chat at SXSW last month, President Barack Obama issued government communicators a call to arms.

Or, more accurately, armchairs.

It's communicators' fault that citizens only associate government with failure and corruption, rather than humming infrastructure, the President said.

"A significant part of the task at hand is telling a better story about what government does," Obama said.

Sadly, the President's call for storytelling comes a little late. 

His second term will soon be history.

Not that private-sector storytellers are much better at the craft, as Hill+Knowlton's content director Vikki Chowney notes in PR Week.

Private-sector flacks are too technocentric to tell stories customers care about.

"In an age in which people get their information from digital platforms, it’s our responsibility as communicators to not just think about building new things—but also think about what we say and where we say it in order to get people to care more," Chowney says.

Private-sector flacks should shun the shiny objects swimming before their eyes and get back to PR basics, Chowney says.

"Cutting through the overwhelming noise of online content with a clear, concise message is something we should all be reminding ourselves to focus on daily."

Saturday, April 16, 2016

It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

The Ocean State's marketing captain has been fired by the governor for sinking 10% of the state's $4.5 million budget into a new logo.

Betsy Wall paid famed designer Milton Glaser $400,000 for his work. She poured another $150,000 into logo pre-tests.

Glaser's tab included the tagline Rhode Island: Cooler & Warmer, which the governor has also deep-sixed.

Glaser, the power behind the Dylan Poster and I Love New York, seemed the right man for the job—until media scrutiny took the wind out of his client's sails.

Wall's spending spree hit the front page of The Providence Journal and put the governor on treacherous seas.

"It is unacceptable how many mistakes were made in this roll-out, and we need to hold people accountable because Rhode Islanders deserve better," the governor told the paper.

The day before she was fired, Wall told Adweek she wanted to make a splash with Glaser.

"The Milton Glaser art, that is not your typical state logo," Wall told Adweek. "If you look at what other states have on their websites, it isn't usually true art like that, it isn't usually so thought provoking and inspiring. I can't think of another state, besides obviously New York, that would think to bring in somebody like Milton Glaser."

The storm's just politics, in my book.

In the early 1980s, I spent $450,000 for my employer's new logo.

No one lost her job.

Decades later, a version is still in use.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Welcome to Indenture

Employers who recruit a lot of recent grads are luring them with a new perk: student loan repayment.

Bloomberg reports that investment and consulting firms like Nataxis and   PricewaterhouseCoopers will pony up as much as $250 a month toward a candidate's college debt.

McKinsey, Bain Capital and Accenture will also pay down employees' student debt, according to The Wall Street Journal.

If you're willing to provide seed money, we can jump on the bandwagon and start up our own firm to compete with Accenture.


A pillar of colonial America, indenture (a version of "enforced servitude") underwrote the tobacco economy in the Chesapeake region.

Under the system, an Englishman who sought a clean start in America signed a contract that promised he'd repay his master for ship fare, clothing, and room and board by laboring for seven years. 

Women also signed the contracts.

The word indenture refers to an indentation made on each contract. When it was drawn, two copies were made. One copy was then placed over the other and an edge indented.

As a result, master and servant could always spot whether a copy might be forged (often the end-date would be changed by one or the other party.)

On a serious note: Burdensome debt is no laughing matter. It drives in part the popularity of Bernie Sanders among Millennials. As one Boomer told a group of college students, “Your generation’s debt is our generation’s draft."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

View-Master Revisited

This week, I was treated to a rough-cut of a DMO's forthcoming virtual reality promotion.

The glories of the city's convention center and hotels were revealed in full and fabulous 3D.

Writing for Associations Now, Samatha Whitehorn claims VR is destined to become "a mainstream feature of association meetings and destination marketing."

Little wonder, Whitehorn says. "The power of VR is that it gives the viewer a unique sense of empathic connection to people and events."

DMOs will tap VR to give their cities an edge in event planners' eyes, and even offer it as an alternative to live streaming, so folks unable to attend an event can join in from afar.

But wait a cotton-pickin' minute!

"VR's going to kill my event," every planner's shouting.

Not in my book.

I may be a curmudgeon, but VR is only higher octane View-Master.

Don't get me wrong: I loved View-Master as a kid. But it didn't keep me from exploring the world beyond my bedroom.

I predict VR will indeed find its niche—alongside the Pet Rock and the Cabbage Patch Kid.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

You Don't Have to be Jewish

Once upon a time, I had the privilege of interviewing madman George Lois for a magazine article about ad creative.

When I asked, "What makes an ad effective?" Lois said, "An ad has to kick you in the ass with an idea you like."

In other words, the advertiser needs to startle you, then evoke a little love.

Last year's most-shared ads, according to Unruly, did just this.

Each ad transmitted a powerful idea by marshaling a string of surprising sounds and images that, taken together, can't help but excite love… at least a little.

As Don Draper said in Mad Men, “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness. And you know what happiness is? Happiness is the smell of a new car. It's freedom from fear. It's a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you are doing is okay. You are okay.”

And now for last year's most-shared ad

Read more about emotion's role in advertising here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Over. Not Over.

Why buy sunglasses at Walmart when there's Warby Parker?

Metrosexuals' buying habits mean retail giants are “overstored,” says The Washington Post.

Retail space, which mushroomed before the Great Recession, is growing at a pace slower than that of the US population, while retailers like Macy's and Jos. A. Bank shutter stores left and right.

But closing stores isn't the same as closing shop:

  • Walmart, for example, will close 269 stores this year; but it will also open 300 new stores; and spend billions on a new e-commerce operation. 
  • Williams-Sonoma and other specialty chains will aim for a "sweet spot" of around 250 stores, while drawing more sales from e-com. 
  • Chains like Burlington Coat Factory will chop not the number, but the size, of their stores, packing "the entire assortment in a smaller box." 
  • Staples will repurpose its real estate by adding shared office spaces to stores. 
  • Sears will sublet space to Nordstrom Rack and Dick’s Sporting Goods. 
As retail giants abandon shopping centers, nontraditional tenants like restaurants, gyms and health clinics will fill the space, according to analysts. 

European retailers will also begin to appear on the scene in large numbers.

HAT TIP: Michael Hatch led me to the Post article.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Big Data Meets Big Idea

J. Walter Thompson wondered whether big data could be assembled to paint "The Next Rembrandt" for client ING.

So a team of art historians, scientists, developers and analysts created scans of Rembrandt's 346 extant paintings and used a computer to catalog the data based on commonalities.

They then asked the computer to paint a Rembrandt.

The resulting portrait combines 160,000 fragments of the artist's oeuvre.

HAT TIP: Appraiser Todd Sigety alerted me to this story. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hack vs. Hacker

Never mistake a hack for a hacker.

Unless she's evil, a hacker creates code.

A hack creates crap.

In general, a hack's a writer who produces undistinguished prose. (The opprobious name derives from hackney, a horse for hire.)

In marketing, a hack's a writer who's:
  • Passionate about content; immune to ideas.
  • Happy to plagiarize; put off by research.
  • Enamored of opinions; averse to facts.
  • Obsessed with quantity; indifferent to quality.
Foremost, a hack's a writer who chases eyeballs.

Speaking of quantity, Express Writers offers a useful hack: publish content of "ideal length."

I'll hack the info graphic. Here's the bottom line:
  • Write blog posts 2,000 words long; 
  • Write Facebook posts 40 characters long; 
  • Write Tweets 11 characters long; and 
  • Write Pinterest captions 200 characters long.

Your Ex-Spouse and Your Event Have Something in Common

April 14 marks the first-ever Global Meetings Industry Day.

The event-industry advocacy group Meetings Mean Business joins forces with the Convention Industry Council to celebrate meetings with rallies, proclamations and social media storms.

April 14 is also set aside for National Ex-Spouse Day, National Pecan Day, National Support Teen Literature Day and National Dolphin Day.

Busy day.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

10 Tips for Promoting Your Next Event

"Event marketers are used to doing a marketing task and crossing it off their list," says BrightBull director Ricardo Molina. "Social media isn’t like that unfortunately."

Social media takes perseverance to pay off.

Molina offers 10 tips to help you reach the finish line:

1. Start with influencers. Ask them to share their opinions on a topic or discuss what they're reading at the moment.

2. Focus on your audience’s pain. Forget about amassing followers, and focus instead on engaging people by publishing relevant content.

3. Tell a story bigger than your event. Tap into industry trends and news. People will register for your event because your finger's on the pulse.

4. Automate, but don't go on autopilot. Unless you're engaged in online conversations, you're faking it. "Automation can be a great time saver, but unless your technology is enabling you to build better relationships online as well as making your life easier, it's suspect," Molina says.

5. Blog. LinkedIn posts have only hours to work, Tweets only minutes. "Great blog posts deliver traffic for years."

6. Don’t expect influencers to help overnight. Results will take months, and come only if you stay on task.

7. Stick to one voice. Inconsistency detracts. "There's nothing weirder than talking to someone on social media and one day they're all informal and jokey and their next post is like a corporate jargon-athon."

8. Enlist your team. Do more with more. "Even if all they do is retweet or give you a bit of a generic back slap for your content, it all counts."

9. Make social media a habit. "Social media isn't an add on 'seasoning' to an event marketing plan," Molina says. You must make a serious effort.

10. Invite followers. Inform, intrigue, instigate, incent; and eschew all me-talk. "If all you do is go 'me, me, me' it's not going to be the shocker of the century when people stop listening," Molina says.

Friday, April 8, 2016

B2B Becomes B2C. Welcome to Bizarro World.

"Hardly a week goes by without someone saying the worlds of B2B and B2C marketing are converging," Gary Slack wrote recently in this blog.

To picture the two worlds as one, he asks us to imagine a place where municipalities buy equipment on impulse, and manufacturers buy machinery and materials without due diligence.

"Were this all to start happening," Gary says, "pigs would be flying, too. 

"Consumer and business purchasers and purchases are just too different—always have been and always will be."

But what if… just what if, instead of businesses, consumers changed?

In that alternate world:
  • All consumers would have split personalities (at least six, called a "team").
  • Before every purchase, they would email an inscrutable document to at least 15 suppliers, and demand a response within 10 days.
  • All consumers would postpone their purchases until their incomes are certain.
  • AdAge would be repackaged as an insert in O, and B2C would collapse into B2B, forming a supercontinent named Omnicom.
Stranger things have happened...

In a pig's eye.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Does the Events Industry Have Any Political Influence?

Michael Hart contributed today's post. He's a business consultant and writer who focuses on the event industry.

Everybody’s heard at least a little bit of the political chatter over restrictions on LGBT people in Georgia and North Carolina lately.

A week or so ago, Georgia’s governor rejected a bill the legislature passed that would have allowed businesses not to serve gay people if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. About the same time, the North Carolina state governor said of a similar bill—this one creating a law about which public restroom people are supposed to use—“Bring it on!”

According to Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO William Pate, the billion-dollar business the events industry brings to Atlanta every year had something to do with the Georgia governor’s decision. In North Carolina, a statement from the High Point Market Executive Committee made it clear customers are already starting to pull out of its event later this month—and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory isn’t budging.

So, did lobbying on behalf of the events industry make a difference in Georgia, but not North Carolina?

The truth is that it’s hard to know. While those of us who run tradeshows, conventions and conferences feel like we’re pretty important people—especially when we bring a citywide to town—the reality is that, compared to other industries, we’re small change.

But our customers are the real thing. And the fact that companies like Disney and Coca-Cola feel a need to take a political position in order to retain their customers tells you something about how much the way they approach their businesses has changed over the years. They aren’t just merely responding to markets anymore; they’re responding to the sentiments of their customers in ways that go beyond whether they’ll pay a certain price for a certain product.

Nothing in business is as simple as it once was—and that applies to the events industry as well. Yes, there are show organizers who still get away with selling their quota of 10 x 10s every year and creating a lineup of PowerPoint presentations by sponsors that they then call a conference program. But their days are numbered.

As customers in every part of the business world change how they do business, so must event organizers.
Powered by Blogger.