Jessica Lorenz

Event Marketing: 4 questions to ask before submitting a speaking application

October 24th, 2014

Speaking at events offers a great opportunity for marketers to build their own personal brand and reputation in the industry as well as improve their career. It also provides a way for solutions providers to gain credibility through customer success stories.

However, getting on stage is easier said than done.

If you’ve ever applied to speak at an event, you probably know that it can take a while to hear back from application evaluators, if you hear anything at all.Summit Speaker

Having applied to speak at several events in the past, I can relate — but I also have the inside scoop on what happens on the agenda-building side.

Over the past couple of weeks, the MECLABS content team, myself included, has been hard at work sifting through hundreds of speaking applications for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 in Las Vegas.

I’ve spent over 30 hours reading through applications, analyzing blog posts, watching videos and reaching out to applicants.

During those long hours, I began to develop four fundamental questions to ask myself when sorting applications into the “yes” or “no” stack, and I want to share those four questions with you:

 

1. Did you take time and effort to explain your story completely?

It’s disheartening to see people throw away an opportunity to win over the evaluators. Applications where you’re given the chance to tell someone about your story should take more than a sentence or single word, or, big oops, left blank entirely.

This is your chance to tell your story. Give the application reviewer a story and let them imagine how it would be presented on stage.

If you’re the hero of the story, explain the challenges that you overcame.

Be a storyteller in your application. J.K. Rowling could have summed up all the Harry Potter novels by simply writing, “Harry Potter went to school and learned how to overcome challenges.” Instead, she expanded this story into seven complete novels, detailing the events that unfolded and inviting you into the life, experiences and thoughts of Harry, not just offering the world a simplified plot.

The art of storytelling — even in a speaking application — is important and will set you apart from the hundreds of other applicants.

The effort that you put into your application is a preview of the effort that you’ll put into the content you present.

If we ask for a video and your reply is, “I have one, but I can’t find it,” we’re not going to go look for it. If you write, “Will provide video upon request” under the section where we requested a video, your application will likely be disregarded altogether.

 

2. Are you being clear about what (and who) was involved in the campaign as well as the results?

Clarity in your proposal title, description and results is essential for the reviewer to evaluate your submission. Use the space that the application provides to explain your thought process and express your case study.

The clearer that you are in expressing your results and how you got them will lend credibility to your application. The less footwork and follow ups you place on the reviewers, the more positively they’ll view your application.

Keep in mind that the reviewers aren’t mind readers and don’t know what “etc.” or “and so on” means at the end of a sentence.

Not this: “Increased CTR, etc.”

But this: “Open rate increased by 70%, CTR increased by 30%, purchases increased by 40%, total revenue increased by 80%, bounce rates decreased by 40% over 3 months

 

3. Does something seem wrong or fishy about your application?

This should go without saying, but don’t lie on your speaking application — or in life.

Be honest with the reviewers. If you stretch the truth about results, clients’ availability to speak or having permission to present content, it will just lead to embarrassment down the road and a headache for the event planner.

Excluding relevant information fits here too. Use a lot of details when you’re explaining your case study and results. Don’t scrimp on the content. You can always cut later, but this is your chance to tell everything that you’ve experienced, learned and gained without having to worry about red ink.

 

4. Ask yourself, “Can I commit to more deadlines on top of my other responsibilities?”

Don’t ask for an extension on submitting your application to speak.

Just don’t do it.

If the application has been open for two months, you have been given plenty of time to fill it out.

If you’re emailing the organizer the week, day or hour before it’s due, asking for even a small extension, while it may be given to you, will put you on the organizers’ list of applicants who probably won’t meet deadlines. This is the first of many deadlines the event will ask you to meet, which is why meeting this one is so important.

The same is true when it come to replying to emails.

When following up with applicants, I definitely pay attention to how quickly they respond.

Sometimes, not five minutes will go by, and I will already get a very detailed response from an applicant. I love this. It tells me that I’m talking to a passionate, responsive and detailed person who I can depend on throughout the application process, and this response is an indicator as to what it will be like working with them throughout the event process.

 

Becoming part of the agenda

In summary, the application that you submit is a reflection of the quality of content and attention that you will provide for the event.

If you leave whole sections blank, or only give a couple of half-hearted sentences on your possibly-good story, you don’t leave an impression, or worse — you leave a negative one.

We want passion, heart and relevance.

Above all, we want to provide great quality content for our audience. By being selected as a speaker at an event, that organization is essentially saying that they endorse you, your message and the quality of your presentation.

 

Photo Attribution: Dave Sierk, Consumer & Small Business Email Strategy, Dell, presenting at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014

 

You might also like

Event Marketing: 3 tips to set your speakers up for success [More from the blogs]

Combining Social Media and Event Marketing: Year-round effort boosts clickthrough 236% [MarketingSherpa case study]

Event Marketing: How a technology start-up made a trade show splash booth-free [More from the blogs]

Event Marketing: Regional customer forums improve field events attendance rate by 150% [MarketingSherpa case study]

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Daniel Beulah

How to Craft a Viral Campaign in 3 Steps

October 21st, 2014

In 2012, only half of Americans knew of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named after one of its most famous victims. The ALS Association, a nonprofit committed to raise money for research and patient services, raised a combined total of $19.4 million for that year.

Fast forward to today, and the ALS has raised over $100 million this year alone, most of which has been raised in the two month period of July and August.

As many of us know, it’s all due to one viral campaign: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge, in which one records dumping ice water on themselves or donates to the ALS Association, has been shared over 1.2 million times on Facebook and 2.2 million times on Twitter.

The campaign was so successful that critics started to worry about how the challenge would affect counties under severe drought watches.

Why did this campaign, out of all the others floating around on the Internet, go viral?

There’s not a lot we have control over when it comes to the “viralocity” of an image, video or idea. However, according to Malcom Gladwell, there are three elements that increase the probability:

 

The law of the few (Know who to target)

Malcolm Gladwell states in The Tipping Point, “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”

Gladwell calls these movers and shakers of the internet realm “connectors.” These are people with the extraordinary gift for making friends and acquaintances. They have a multitude of followers on social networks, and when they mention something on Facebook, it is immediately shared 100 times.

These connectors can be people, a website or a news organization. People want to be connectors.

While in today’s society a connector can translate their social network directly into money or political power, most people simply want the rush they feel when their idea or link is liked or retweeted. A good idea in the hands of a few can spread like wild fire.

 

The stickiness factor (Good content)

The two reasons the ALS Ice Bucket challenge succeeded was because it was for a good cause, and it was easily repeatable. At the end of their individual challenge, the participant then had to challenge three of their friends to replicate them. As the campaign gained momentum, it even grew to include big-name celebrities, such as Oprah, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg, taking the plunge.

The stickiness factor correlates to your core content, cause or campaign. Is it well thought out? Is it for a good cause? Will it make a difference in someone’s life? More importantly, is it memorable? The more memorable the campaign, the higher the stickiness factor, and the faster it spreads.

Read more…

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Austin McCraw

Marketing Strategy: What is your “Only Factor”?

October 17th, 2014

Warning: I am about to offend someone. It could be you. It might not be. Either way, I wouldn’t continue reading unless you’re up for having your notion of marketing challenged and you have the time to leave a ranting blog comment — just in case you end up feeling the need to.

Let’s talk about marketing strategy for a moment.

That’s right. Put down your proverbial to-do list, and let’s talk about the force behind the success (or failure) of all your marketing campaigns — your value proposition.

A good value proposition is the key to true sustainable competitive advantage, and without one, you are simply just pushing pixels around, hoping something will stick. However, a good value proposition must have what we call an “only factor.”

There has to be at least one way in which you can say about your product, we are the “only.”

You can match your competitors in many ways, but in at least one way, you must excel. If you do not have this “only” factor, then you are, as Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, says, “simply surviving on pockets of ignorance.”

Now, customer ignorance was once a decent way to make a living (when I say “decent,” I’m using it in the old snake-oil sense of the word). Today, thanks to the internet, your customer can learn everything about you and your competition in about three mouse clicks. As information abounds, ignorance decreases.

Our marketing exists in a world where there are very few pockets of ignorance. In a world like that, a true “only factor” is the only way to survive.

If I haven’t offended you yet, I’m about to provide two more opportunities.

 

Don’t blame the “crowded market”

When teaching these concepts, I often get asked, “What about crowded markets?”

First, I generally ask a group of marketers to raise their hands (gutsy move, I know) if they are currently not working in a crowded market. You want to take a guess at how many hands get raised?

There are no good markets that aren’t crowded. I haven’t met a marketer yet who feels like their market isn’t crowded (and if there is, please introduce yourself to me). We all like to talk about how our market is so crowded, when the reality is that there are few, if any, markets that aren’t crowded.

The point is that opportunities draw crowds. If there is any inkling of an opportunity in your market, it may only be a matter of time, but it will become crowded.

Also, “crowd” is a relative term.

Meaning, the sense of crowding is completely dependent on the available space. Three’s a crowd in the back of a cab — but not so much on a football field. It all depends on the size of your market, and for many niche markets, it only takes a couple competitors to make a crowd.

Here’s the point: Dealing with a “crowd” is a basic experience of marketing. It is not unique. It does not release the marketer from needing a forceful value proposition. If anything, it makes it more necessary.

Read more…

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Andrea Johnson

How Seamless Email Turns Ecommerce Prospects into Buyers

October 14th, 2014

Only 2.6% of the people browsing an ecommerce site actually buy during that visit, but, according to Charles Nicholls, that doesn’t mean they’re not going to eventually make a purchase.

Charles is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for SeeWhy, a provider of cloud-based behavioral target marketing. He discussed what it takes to transform browsers into buyers with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, at the 2014 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

Charles exhorted marketers to rethink the channel mindset and optimizing websites for a single session, and instead, think about optimizing the entire buying process. The key, he explained, is seamless use of email across desktops, tablets and smartphones.

Why? Customers may use all of these devices before finally making a purchase.

Consider this: SeeWhy has been tracking smart phone conversions, and, according to Charles, smartphones are outpacing tablets, which have become a desktop substitute. Also, 67% of smartphone conversions are done via email.

Watch the video below to learn about the importance of seamless emailing:

  Read more…

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Jessica Lorenz

Email Data Hygiene: When you know it’s time to break up

October 10th, 2014

I still get emails to the email address I created in middle school. This was back when having cutsie screen names was awesome, DSL was the latest and selecting your Top 8 on MySpace was the most stressful part of the week.

Although I haven’t sent or opened an email in that account for probably 10 years, the emails still come through.

It had been a while since I had actually gone to that inbox, though I needed to reset my password before I was even able to scroll through the pages upon pages of unread mail. Not one of them was a personal email. As I kept going through pages years back, I noticed that they’re all marketing emails – often from the same few companies.

I have not engaged after nearly a decade of sends. I have not read a single subject line. I have not opened any emails. I have not clicked any calls-to-action. Yet these companies keep sending.

How is marketing to that email address helping the marketers’ campaigns (other than contributing to list bloat)?

 

The importance of list hygiene

At Email Summit 2014 in Las Vegas, Laura Mihai, Email Marketing Specialist, 3M Canada, spoke on the integration of list cleansing as a regular element of its email marketing campaigns.

Laura opened her session by reflecting on a time when deliverability rates started to affect campaigns.

“We really wanted to focus on eliminating those who don’t engage with our communications,” explained Laura. The team at 3M Canada had the idea of running a campaign with the incentive of a contest to stay on the list and update contact information.

Using this campaign, the team trimmed their list by an impressive 64%. Now, they can be in touch with people who want to engage with them.

Read more…

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Daniel Burstein

Content Marketing: Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton discusses surprising consumer behavior research

October 7th, 2014

I am a skeptic. Maybe it’s from my career in marketing, advertising and editorial content, which involves me constantly receiving PR pitches. Maybe I was born that way. Or maybe I’m just your average American consumer.

Whatever the cause, it’s rare for me to have a head-smacking epiphany, but here’s one I want to share with you:

 

People don’t want fast

This subhead likely seems counterintuitive (or perhaps just plain wrong) to you.

After all, if you’ve ever been in traffic, or in a long line at a fast food restaurant, or anywhere in America for the past 30 years, you know – people are impatient.

As Louis C.K. says in his very funny bit about people who don’t appreciate how amazing smartphone technology is, “I never saw a person going, ‘Look at what my phone can do!’ Nobody does that. They all go, ‘This ******* thing sucks. I can’t get it to … ’  Give it a second, would ya? Could ya give it a second? It’s going to space, could you give it a second to get back from space? Is the speed of light too slow for you?”

Even when I search Louis C.K on Google, the search engine brags that is has returned 45,700,000 results in 0.61 seconds.

Wow. The entirety of human knowledge for millennia is at our fingertips and can be delivered within milliseconds, and yet, as Louis so accurately points out, most of your customers do not appreciate it.

Why? More importantly, how can you as a marketer use this lesson to communicate the value of your own products?

 

They want hard work (on their behalf)

This is where Michael Norton’s research gets very interesting for marketers (and, really, all humans). Michael is an associate professor at Harvard, and during his Web Optimization Summit featured session — “Trust Through Transparency” — he showed that, in many cases, people place a higher value on understanding the work involved to create a product or service than they do on sheer speed.

After he got off stage, and right before hopping on the train back to Harvard, Michael was gracious enough to let me pull him aside and ask a few questions to help marketers use his research to better communicate the value of their products and services.

We discussed:

  • How showing the work involved in creating content (for example, email list signup) can make that content more valuable to customers
  • How to make sure customers understand the complexity behind seemingly simple services
  • The power of storytelling

  Read more…

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Daniel Beulah

Do You Know How to Take Advantage of Globalization with Your Marketing?

October 3rd, 2014

The world is getting faster.

In the past few years, the term globalization has been used to describe an unprecedented cultural, economic and political phenomenon that has fundamentally changed the world.

With faster intercontinental travel and almost instantaneous communication technologies, societies, economies and individuals have become more interdependent than ever before.

As globalization spreads more wealth from developed nations and into developing ones, a new global middle class has risen with an even greater desire to consume than 1950s America. According to Internetworldstats.com, the amount of people who have access to the internet has increased 676.32% in the last 14 years. Most of that growth occurred in the continents of Africa and Asia.

So what does that mean to a 21st century marketer?

It means that a taxi driver in Senegal can watch a Yankees game, purchase Yankees related merchandise and spread the Yankees brand to a whole new generation of consumers.

Now imagine if you could deliberately break into this new emerging market.

What would you do? How would you connect with your new potential customers and increase your brand awareness at the same time?

Most companies do it by creating and promoting culturally specific products that vary depending on the region. McDonalds is great at this. Ever heard of the Teriyaki McBurger?

Teriyaki_McBurger

 

It’s a product exclusive to its Japanese market and one of McDonalds Japan’s biggest sellers.

Read more…

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Andrea Johnson

How a B2B Marketing Team Used Zombies to Win Over the C-Suite

September 30th, 2014

When Christine Nurnberger joined SunGard Availability Services in 2012, Marketing and Sales were clearly out of alignment. Marketing’s contribution to the sales pipeline was less than 3%, even though they executed more than 1,100 marketing tactics over the previous fiscal year.

By the end of 2013, that relationship had shifted dramatically. Marketing’s contribution to new revenue skyrocketed to 40% with the average deal size tripling.

At MarketingsherpaEmail Summit 2014, Christine revealed her secret to success: smart content marketing built on intense research, analysis and creativity. It culminated with chief technology officers preparing for the zombie apocalypse and eager to engage SunGard.

In the video clip below, Christine outlines setting the stage for that success with a two-stage direct mail pilot, targeting 56 CTOs in the later stages of the buying cycle:

  • Part one was a direct-mail piece made up of a  shadow box with a thumb drive, which included a personalized video announcing that, in the coming days, they would receive everything they needed to survive a zombie apocalypse.
  • Part two was a zombie apocalypse survival kit — a backpack that included a copy of World War Z, two tickets to the movie and “zombie repellant,” aka silly string.

 

The response blew the sales team away.

Read more…

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David Kirkpatrick

Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.

 

One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.

 

Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.

Read more…

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Erin Hogg

Email Personalization: Craft forms with purpose

September 23rd, 2014

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Eventful, an online retailer of concert and event tickets, presented how it personalized and segmented its email campaigns to achieve a 66% increase in purchases.

To deliver a personalized email experience to its 21 million subscribers, Eventful’s Paul Ramirez and Ryan Blomberg created a recommendation engine that provided alerts about performers and events their subscribers wanted to hear about, focusing especially when a performer of interest was coming to their town.

You can watch their full presentation to see how the team designed and implemented this revolutionary technology, but for this blog post, we wanted to showcase how to provide a more one-on-one experience when you don’t have a team of engineers to design an entirely new technology for your company, such as Eventful had for its recommendation engine.

In this video, Pamela Jesseau, Senior Director, Marketing, MECLABS, and the Eventful team discuss how to craft forms in your email sign-up process and profile setup that will let your customers tell you more about themselves.

Ultimately, the goal is to use this information to craft a personalized and segmented email experience for your subscribers, minus the fancy (and oftentimes expensive) technology.

 

You’ll see two great examples of effectively using forms to gather insightful knowledge about your customers as well as how to fit your registration form into the customer journey.

Read more…

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