Category Archives: event marketing

Email and Event Marketing on Facebook Doesn’t Work

Outside of some close friends, one of the little known secrets about me is that I used to salsa dance. Not only did I enjoy dancing, I also competed in group and couples competitions. Like all enthusiasts, I subscribed to all the salsa lists to learn about upcoming events, lessons with outside instructors and more. Since I broke my ankle preparing for a competition (um, long story =), I’ve discontinued following the salsa activities and unsubscribed from all the lists. At least I thought I did.

Recently, I’ve started receiving notifications about these events, not through my email, but through Facebook. It’s getting so bad, that I’m on the verge of unfriending someone who has been sending me the most number of “event notifications.” In one case to be removed from a list, the response I received was: “however, please be advised this is a public event and it could be that one of your friends who originally received the invite from me extended the event invitation to you.”

Three Things to Consider Before Hitting Send on Facebook

 While the full potential of Facebook is yet to be tapped by marketers and businesses, here are some key considerations before dropping your email lists into Facebook:

  1. Relationships Matter: The intrinsic value of Facebook is that friends are great filters for knowing what I like and don’t like. Make sure you have an established relationship before sending an email or invite to someone, which leads to
  2. Permission Marketing: Seth Godin’s book is key to engaging people via online marketing. Make sure you received permission from someone first. If you’re seeking to migrate your email list to Facebook, then be transparent about what you’re doing. Personally, the best thing is to ask those on your email lists if they would like to be contacted via Facebook – this way, they opt in for your Facebook communications.
  3. CAN-SPAM Compliance: While I don’t know what the legalities are, I assume that Facebook communications would fall under the CAN Spam Act with regard to commercial content. As stated on the FTC website:

“Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as ‘any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,’ including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.”

As such, make sure to allow for peopel to easily opt out of future communications.

Conclusions

To my knowledge, there is no way for me to opt out of someone’s “marketing” communications. Rather, I have to go to each group or event to leave. This is frustrating as many times, I have not directly signed up for the initial communications. Ideally, Facebook would create a backend platform tool for marketers to manage these types of communications. Similar to existing email solutions, the communications platform would enable businesses to:

  • Send communications to people who have opted in
  • Manage opt out requests for individual groups/events or everything managed by that business
  • Monitor response rates, unsubscribes and clickthroughs for the communications
  • Provide trending reports, such as friend referrals, time of day opens, etc.
  • And much much more

And for members, we should be able to filter out communications beyond just the spam button. For example, I do want to stay updated with my friend, I just don’t want all the updates regarding the next salsa class or bachata dance off.  What recommendations would you provide for marketers and to Facebook?

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Optimize Your Tradeshow Presence

"conference hall" by shinemy via Flickr

Exhibiting and sponsoring at trade shows is an important component of the marketing mix.  While physical meetings and conferences experienced a hit in 2009, I believe that more marketers will return to physical events in 2010. Here are five tips to optimize your trade show presence:

Media Alert

Consider issuing a media alert (a smaller version of a press release) one to two weeks before the conference. The purpose is to highlight your participation at the event, why attendees would want to visit your table or booth, and highlight any executives speaking at the conference.

Announce News

Consider announcing significant news at the conference to drive buzz about your company. The news can be a game changer such as a new product, partnership or customer.

Media Outreach

While some conferences will provide you with a media list, don’t completely rely on this as your single source for media. Research local reporters, analysts and bloggers who may be interested in meeting with your executives to learn more about your company.

Social Media

While social media provides marketers more opportunities to directly connect with customers and prospects, it’s critical to engage in the conversation and use it as a listening tool. Monitor the conference hashtag to identify key conversations, consider posting event summaries to your blog or update your Flickr page with images from the show floor.

Consistent Messaging

From the person staffing the booth to your key sales person networking the conference show floor, ensure that everyone is consistent on the key messages you want to communicate at the conference. I recommend creating a one-page cheat sheet that you review with everyone before the conference begins.

What other tips do you have for optimizing your tradeshow presence?

PMM Interview: Christian Jurinka of Attack Marketing


In late April, I met Christian Jurink
a of Attack Marketing at the Event Marketing Summit. I was intrigued by how guerilla marketing can reach your audience/consumers and drive them to action. And yes, that is a champion sumo wrestler in the background. Attack does work for a sumo organization and have adopted him as their “mascot.” Here is a quick summary of our conversation:

Economy’s Impact on Guerilla Marketing

  • As budgets are being constricted, really need to be more creative to connect with consumers
  • Guerilla marketing is a cost-effective way to do that while honing in on your consumers and talking with them there

Key Benefits of Guerilla Marketing

  • Proximity marketing – it’s about honing and finding key consumer and being near them
  • About driving people to retail and converting to a sell
  • Can be anywhere your consumers are and driving them to retail

Canceling Meetings a PR Ploy?

I just saw this on the Face2Face blog regarding a recent online survey by Special Events.  This paragraph caught my eye:

Some 68 percent of respondents to an online poll from Special Events last week say that recent moves by corporations to cancel incentives and other meetings are PR ploys to avoid the “AIG effect.” Twenty-eight percent say the cancellations are a business decision; 2 percent of respondents say they do not know why the events are being canceled.

Why doesn’t this surprise me? What about you – are you seeing things canceled not because you don’t have the money to do it but because it “looks” better to investors and shareholders?

All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

Going Virtual Isn’t Necessarily the Answer to Replacing Your Physical Events

Part of this is due to the heightened scrutiny on how financial institutions are spending money since the financial meltdown. Starting with AIG and now with Morgan Stanley’s announcement, public corporations are weary of holding large “destination” events that are seen as too extravagant. In addition to outright canceling these events, this is giving rise to virtual events.

InXpo Office Space

InXpo Office Space

I’ve been noticing an interesting trend in my LinkedIn discussions recently. People are concerned about the decline of attendance at physical events or the outright cancellation of these events. Event organizers from publishers to corporate planners are struggling with how to maintain relevancy at a time when the bottom line is ruling decisions about corporate events.

 

 

 

 

Are Virtual Events the Answer?

 

Nortel's Web.Alive Platform

Nortel's Web.Alive Platform

Virtual events are seen as more cost-effective for both the company and attendees – no travel, no lodging, and no catering costs. Furthermore, there are various technology tools available to ease person-to-person communications or to recreate a networking environment.

 

While I am a huge advocate of virtual events ranging from online seminars, virtual summits, virtual tradeshows to conferences and sales meetings, I do believe that going virtual isn’t necessarily the right answer for everyone. Instead, if you take a step back and look at the larger picture, there may be other options available to you and your customers.

 

Questions to Ask

 

  • What is the objective of your event? – Determine why you’re holding this event. Is this an employee motivation get together, a white-glove customer event or a sales training meeting. I would argue that a white-glove customer event is important for future business while a sales training meeting can easily be moved to an online format. As for the employee motivation get together, this can be done in a hybrid approach which I will describe below.

  • How technically savvy is your audience? – If you decide to do a virtual event, you have to confirm that your audience is computer literate and has access to the minimal computer requirements. For example, my sister is a nurse. While she has access to a personal computer, her hospital doesn’t. So you have to consider the logistics of holding an online event with these constraints and how your audience will be able to view and interact with your content.

  • Will your audience prefer in-person, virtual only or both? – In addition to technical savvy, another consideration is how your audience prefers to interact. If they prefer in-person, then you can consider other ways to provide an in-person experience while minimizing cost considerations.

  • Why not a hybrid approach? – I think one overlooked strategy is looking at what I call a hybrid approach – an in-person event with a virtual component. This approach works when a core segment of your audience prefers in-person events for educational networking purposes, while another segment may be unable to attend due to personal, professional or cost reasons. I also believe that this works when looking at corporate events. For example, Cisco announced that they were canceling their global sales meeting in favor of a virtual event. Assuming that one of the main reasons for a sales meeting is to recognize your top sales folks, you can still hold regional in-person events to recognize these individuals or have an invite-only webcast with the CEO. This imparts exclusivity, while holding a virtual event for general sales training.

  • If you decide to go virtual, then what tools are there to facilitate your objective? – There are many virtual trade show and world vendors on the market, such as InXpo, UnisfairNortel’s web.alive and even Second Life, who can work with you to build out the right environment. Alternatively, you can start small with a web conferencing type of solution to create a webinar program. Regardless of how you decide to proceed, you can then layer social media tools (many are free) to further engage your audiences. And if this is truly a dedicated audience, possibly nurture a community built from the event itself.

 

Conclusions

Right now, the first reaction is how to cut costs by eliminating physical events. Furthermore, the current market conditions will enable virtual worlds/events vendors to grow and demonstrate the true value of going virtual.

 

I believe that as companies and event organizers take a step back, people will realize that there are different options available to them to achieve the same objectives cost-effectively.

 

technorati tags: Marketing Virtual Events Virtual Tradeshow Virtual World Events InXpo Unisfair Nortel Web.Alive Second Life
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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

PRMeetsMarketing Weekly Articles: February 7, 2008

Here is this week’s summary of articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed.

Measuring Social Media – Hubspot’s blog provides some good tips for measuring your social media marketing efforts. I’m surprised that the number of links to your blogs and Technorati Authority weren’t included as ways to measure your social media.

BRITE Conversations – Valerie Maltoni provides some food for thought in advance of an interactive CMO Summit being held at the Center for Global Brand Leadership. She discusses some of the challenges that organizations face when trying to innovate and build brands. I wonder how resource constraints and changing priorities fits in the picture? =)

Don’t Do this When Promoting Your Event -Mac McIntosh writes the Sales Lead Insights blog. He provides his 13 Don’ts When Promoting Events. Great insight if your tasked with managing a roundtable or dinner event for your client.

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks – Brendan points to an example of how journalists and PR folks responded to the Bird Flu. Instead of being a short lived story, it extended over 10 days. I haven’t heard the podcast yet, but it seems worthwhile based on Brendan’s summary.

Is this PR Person You? – David Meerman Scott poses what the future PR job description would look like. It’s most likely, “You haven’t graduated high school yet but you’ve already started 2 start ups, sold another and angel investing in another. You’re invited to beta test EVERY new software offering and your recommendation can make or break the company…”=P

Seeing You Face-to-Face – Sheila Scarborough of the every dot connects blog about the value of meeting people in person at conferences. I know blackberry’s have been banned from company meetings. I wonder if conferences will ban computers and PDAs to keep people focused on the content and people versus Twittering the event?

With Analysts, It’s All In the Briefing – Jeremiah Owyang provides great insight into how to successfully brief analysts. Great advice on how to get the most out of briefings. Remember, analysts can provide a wealth of information in addition to learning about your company.

Lunch or Networking? – Oracle Lunch 2.0

Fruits and vegetablesI attended my first Lunch 2.0 at the Oracle campuses today. Lunch 2.0 is an event that is starting to spread not only through the Bay Area but also overseas (Jeremiah Owyang of Web Strategist brought it to Hong Kong recently). 

The event had excellent food and presentations about Oracle’s upcoming Web 2.0 tech for enterprises. This leads me to think about the pros or cons of holding such an event.

Pros:

  1. Great way to discuss your products and services over a free lunch
  2. Can leverage the event to look for new employees
  3. Position your company as forward thinking by hosting a networking event
  4. Network for prospective business by having employees in attendance

Cons:

  1. If people are just attending for a free lunch, is this the right audience? Ironically, one of the speakers even pointed out the issue of a “free lunch” versus interest in the products
  2. There seemed to be an equal amount of Oracle employees as attendees
  3. The event was centered around the product reviews, so not much “networking” by the time I left
  4. There was a iPhone promotion to get contact information, but I don’t know if I would have done it based on questions you should ask before doing a promo/sweepstakes.

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