Archive

Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Event Marketing: How much should I expect to pay for a keynote?

November 21st, 2014 No comments

When I was asked to find costs for keynotes as a younger, fresher and greener event content coordinator, I thought it would be as easy as asking Google, “How much does it cost to have [name] speak at an event?”

After all, Google holds the answer for almost everything – it can even answer questions like: Do I have Ebola? How do you know if a guy likes you? What should I eat for dinner?

Unfortunately, it turned out to not be as simple as Googling it. Many factors determined behind the scenes go into how much you’ll spend on a keynote. This is why many speaker bureaus say “contact us for fee” in order to share that number.

Whenever I searched for an estimated keynote cost for a specific speaker, or even a generic title, the search results brought up speaker agencies, which is not what I wanted.

Although Google has been faithful to me in the past, there are some questions I ask that I’m still forced to answer and research on my own.

Here are the questions I typed into the search bar – in a million different ways – which I eventually had to learn.

 

Why is there such secrecy around speaker fees?

Depending on location, duration of the keynote and audience size, a speaker will adjust his or her fees.

The easiest way to establish and negotiate a keynote’s cost is by contacting them directly, which has been made moderately easy with the rise of social media and the ability to get (almost) anyone’s email address with a quick search.

However, not all speakers are so easy to track down.

You might decide to use a speaker agency. These resources can be incredibly frustrating to use as an event planner because once you contact the bureau for a speaker fee, you become a sales lead. You can now expect the agent to inevitably harass you about booking one of their speakers and to generously “keep you in mind” for future events.

With so many other things that I juggle throughout the day, like establishing the rest of the Summit agenda and working with other speakers, fielding calls is the last thing I have time for.

However, speaker bureaus can be helpful if you’re working with a blank slate or have a notoriously private speaker. They specialize in finding and contacting a highly sought-after keynotes who you can’t get a hold of on your own (at a price, of course).

 

Is there any way that I can estimate a budget for a keynote? How much does it cost to have a [insert career vertical] keynote at my event?

Although costs vary from speaker to speaker, I’ve noticed some trends while doing research for keynote speakers on our events – basic guidelines to help estimate spend.

keynote-speaker-ranges

 

Speakers determine their own fees. One speaker might think that their content is worth $10,000 and is more than happy to work with you, whereas someone more qualified might think that they’re worth $250,000 and there’s no flexibility in their mind.

Apart from that human element, this chart has three explanations:

 

1. Professors: Depends on area of research, tenure, and institution

A tenured economics professor from Harvard is likely (and should) charge a higher speaker fee than a first-year lecturer at Arizona State University.

 

2. Published Authors: Costs vary based on publication success and subject matter

For example, a book that sits on the best-seller shelf at Barnes and Noble versus a book that’s No. 30 on a sub-sub-subcategory on Amazon. Although becoming a published author is without a doubt an accomplishment, the speaker fee should reflect the book’s success.

 

3. Celebrities: What defines a star?

The “celebrity” category doesn’t necessarily mean a Hollywood celebrity. The more of a following that the speaker has, the more you’ll likely spend. J.K. Rowling, for example, will charge more for a keynote than a newly-ranked author.

CEOs on the chart look like they carry a very low speaker fee. However, I would consider Mark Zuckerberg, a celebrity speaker also, not just a CEO – much like Marissa Mayer or Sheryl Sandberg (not a CEO, but the same idea).

Most CEOs though, especially of small- or medium-sized companies, are not celebrities and are usually just trying to cover the costs of travel and a couple of days out of the office by adding enough friction to find motivated enough parties.

These categories are stackable and should be viewed as ranges, not rules. (Please do not tell a speaker that they’re only worth “X” amount, because they might construe that as insulting – on the flip side though, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to take more.)

 

Why do some categories of keynotes cost more than others?

I began to wonder why one professor would charge $20,000 for a keynote, where others would cost double that. Then it occurred to me – categories aren’t in a vacuum, they’re stackable.

Professors usually are also published authors – although book success makes a huge impact on the fee. The “stackability” of the chart should be used as a range. Generally expect to pay a professor above $20,000 for an hour-long keynote when the professor has been published.

The same is true for a CEO that is also a “celebrity.” If the CEO is more well-known, expect to pay more for his or her time.

For professors (depending on university) who are also published authors (bestselling), the chart would look more like this:

 professor-keynote-pricing

 

How can I get the best value out of my keynote speaker?

Keynotes are an investment that you make on your event. Ensuring that you have a good quality experience for your company and attendees should be your top priority.

If you’re working directly with a speaker, you can do a few things to maximize your spend with your keynote:

  • See if you can get books for attendees included with your keynote cost or at a discounted rate – if this is an option, see if they’ll be open to doing a book signing.
  • Ask about availability to do an interview before the event for a blog post, podcast or video post to promote the event.
  • Check to see if they’ll share that they’re speaking at your event on Twitter or other channels.

The keynote speaker is the cornerstone of an event. Finding one takes time, effort, negotiation and patience in order to amplify the value proposition of your function.

Keep in mind that the rules determining cost of a keynote are always in flux – if you pay a lot for your keynote and your audience can’t stop talking, tweeting and blogging about what an impact they had on their careers, you get what you pay for, don’t you?

 

You might also like

Event Marketing: 4 questions to ask before submitting a speaking application [More from the blogs]

Event Marketing: Virtual event campaign drives 10,155 registrations and 1,800 new database names [Case study]

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

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Why You Should Consider Customer Service to be 1-to-1 Marketing

November 7th, 2014 No comments

Some retailers only see customer service as an expense.

They view it as a cost that needs to be ruthlessly cut to the bare minimum by incentivizing call center reps to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible and push customers to self-service portals instead of providing easy contact information.

Yet, a major challenge retailers face is that many are resellers and the products they sell are commodities.

 

If a customer can buy the product in many places, why should they buy from you?

Since the products are the same, retailers need to create a unique value proposition for their store.

One unique element of value can be your store’s customer service. According to data from the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, customer responsiveness correlates with success.

Stop thinking of customer service as a cost center and start thinking about it as an investment in one-to-one marketing.

Let me show you what I mean by using a customer journey as an example.

In this case, the customer journey is one I intimately understand since it was my own. (Please Note: I am overdramatizing it for effect and to highlight different decisions that go through the buyer’s head. In reality, some of these journeys may happen in a matter of minutes and many happen at a subconscious level for the customer.)

 

My customer journey

In my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., it has been raining and hot and cold and dark and bright and buggy and all sorts of other excuses I could come up with for not going running. I needed a fool-proof method for exercising.

After doing some pain-point-level research, I discovered a recumbent exercise bike would be the solution I was looking for, since I could comfortably catch up on HBO Go while exercising – just the motivation I needed. Some product category research led me to the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike.

Now that my product search was complete, I had to decide where to buy it. This was a commodity product with the same exact model available at many retailers. A quick foray into a shopping search engine identified 38 online stores that sold the exact same bike.

 

One-to-many marketing

There were price differences, and that helped with store selection. But another factor that helped with store selection was one-to-many marketing.

With so many selections, there were various stores I trusted thanks to their overall advertising and branding campaigns, print ads, newspaper circulars, content marketing, a physical presence in my hometown and many other tactics I would consider one-to-many marketing.

This branding, combined with my overall experience with these stores in the past – even excellent branding can’t outweigh negative customer experiences – caused me to prefer some stores over others.

However, there were still many stores to choose from.

  Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Corporate Creativity: Managing your marketing team (and career) to balance innovation and execution

October 28th, 2014 No comments

You, my friend, are a knowledge worker.

All marketers are.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it was first coined by management guru Peter Drucker in the 50s.

Of Drucker’s six factors for knowledge worker productivity, the one I want to discuss in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post is:

“Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.”

This sounds like the perfect description of the challenges facing the modern marketer today.

 

Come up with out-of-the-box ideas (while sitting in a box)

Corporate CreativityNo longer can you rely on reaching potential customers by running a TV ad on the three major networks. Marketers must find innovative ways to use an endless (and growing) array of channels to reach customers.

They must combine smart uses of data and metrics to understand what their customers want and make sure they are delivering that content effectively (while proving the effectiveness to business leaders).

They must also combine this innovative thinking with persistence and process-orientation. After all, marketers must be able to execute these campaigns in complex corporate environments while managing budgets, agency and vendor relationships and corporate policy.

Essentially, marketers need corporate creativity.

 

Is corporate creativity an oxymoron?

“Creativity” is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

Also, the connotation of “corporate” is “Oppressively awful in that numbingly ‘cubicle in a hermetically-sealed office’ kind of way: lacking good quality, morality or ethics, excellence, creativity, spontaneity, kindness, love, integrity, beauty or intrinsic worth and meaning,” according to the ever-reliable Urban Dictionary.

In other words, these two aspects of marketing success do not necessarily go hand-in-hand  — innovation and execution.

It is your challenge as a marketing leader to make sure your team (and even your agencies and vendors) never lose that wild spark when working on your brand and campaigns.

Yet, they must be able to execute, manage projects and deliver on time and on budget.

Quite the conundrum. It’s a challenge that deeply interests me, so when I recently came across an article by Joe Robinson in Entrepreneur magazine, “The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off,” I knew I had to talk to Jeff Stibel, CEO, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. and author of Wired for Thought from Harvard Business Press and Breakpoint from Palgrave Macmillan Trade.

Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

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

October 24th, 2014 4 comments

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.

Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Marketing Strategy: What is your “Only Factor”?

October 17th, 2014 No comments

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…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

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

October 7th, 2014 No comments

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…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Value Proposition for Startups: 3 questions every startup must have the courage to answer

September 5th, 2014 2 comments

“Every time a person says ‘yes,’ they are saying ‘no’ 10,000 times. One ‘yes’ equals many ‘no’s.’ The power of ‘yes’ is not in its affirmation but in its negation.”

– Flint McGlaughlin

Leading a new business to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage is not easy. It often involves difficult choices and a certain level of courage. But for the startup, it isn’t solely the courage to say “yes” that enables it to thrive; rather it’s the courage to say “no.”

Recently, I had the privilege of spending some time with a young startup company and working with them on their value proposition. Like many startups, this group had done well without any formal process of identifying a value proposition.

They had a group of founders, who, like many, built a unique product to solve a problem for a particular group of people. Intuitively, they had launched with a successful value proposition.

 

When competitive advantage is challenged

However, times had changed for this group. They used to be the first in their space, but now their market was crowded, and their customers had many similar competing products to choose from.

During the course of our conversation, I could feel the pressure the leaders of this company were up against, which stemmed from the worry about maintaining their strategic competitive advantage.

The temptation was to attempt to be everything their (new) competitors had become — in some sense, to be all things to all people. This is a common pressure, but it is often this precise pressure that causes many organizations to “acquire” their way right out of a good value proposition.

The most forceful value propositions are not those that try to do many things well, but rather those that try to do one thing really well.

Focus is one of the most essential components of a strong value proposition. Unfortunately, focus is often one of the hardest things to find in a business. Focus requires courage, especially the courage to say “no.” Learning to say that two-letter word was precisely the kind of negating focus this startup needed to answer three essential questions:

 

Question #1. How will you not serve?

A business cannot be all things to all people without diluting the power of its value proposition. By its nature, a specific value proposition must appeal to a particular prospect type. This can be counterintuitive, but knowing who your customers are necessitates knowing who your customers are not. Recognizing this distinction is essential.

The startup I mentioned above had created the most respectable and trusted cloud-based email distribution service. Because of their intense focus on accepting only those clients who send reputable emails, they had the highest deliverability rates, a serious evaluation process and strict guidelines. But ultimately, they had to make the difficult choice to turn away potential customers in order to preserve the value proposition that served their true customers.

Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

6 Tips for Creating an Effective Survey

September 2nd, 2014 1 comment

As marketers, we see lots of benchmark data and statistics that we base our business decisions on.

At MarketingSherpa, we recently conducted a nine-month study on the state of ecommerce.

You’ll see the results of our research conducted with 4,346 marketers across 95 in-depth charts.

Obviously, this data didn’t come out of thin air. There was a survey that our MECLABS research team carefully constructed to gather those insights.

Crafting effective surveys is potentially the most important part of collecting useful data, whether you’re fielding research for a report or simply gaining customer feedback.

Diana Sindicich, Senior Manager, Data Sciences, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa), played an integral part in the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study and provided some tips on how to produce the most effective survey for your needs.

 

Survey Tip #1. Evaluate your situation

There’s a good time, and a not-so-good time, for everything. This rule of life applies to surveys as well.

In surveys, situations may exist for you that make it a good idea to field a survey, Diana explained.

This could include scenarios of when you want to understand your customers’ motivations or characteristics. Maybe you’re looking to expand your product lines and want to know what your customers would like to see offered.

On the other hand, there are times when a survey may not be the best idea for what you want to accomplish. Perhaps you have a very personalized service with a small group of customers. Surveys can be perceived as impersonal — conversely, an interview would make the customer feel special and valued.

  Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Social Media Marketing: Tools and takeaways to implement today

August 29th, 2014 1 comment

Earlier this year, I was asked to moderate a case study panel at DFW Rocks Social Media Day. It was a fast and furious two days with multiple concurrent tracks and a lot of great information for attendees.

Since so much was happening at once, I wasn’t able to take in all the great content. So I reached out to Lissa Duty, Organizer of DFW Rocks Social Media 2014 and Vice President of Community Management at Advice Interactive Group, for her take on the event to give MarketingSherpa readers the opportunity to learn some of the top takeaways.

 

Insights from the organizerDFW-rocks

From the organizer’s perspective, Lissa said that this year’s event placed a higher importance on live content.

She explained, “This year, I really saw the value in having the live blog to share the conference sessions and highlight the speakers, even after the event, plus the live tweets, which did make for the #DFWRocks2014 hashtag streaming on Twitter at one point.”

What’s Lissa’s quick-hit advice on social media marketing?

“You must start with creating a social media plan,” Lissa said.

She then outlined three key points:

 

Key Point #1. Understand why you’re using social media

It’s not just to “get rich.” Understand why you feel social media is important to you, your customer and your brand.

 

Key Point #2. Research what your customer wants to know about your brand

Discover how you can share that message uniquely in each social space, and then create a plan to give them that message.

Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg

Social Media Marketing: Setting expectations both internally and externally [Video]

August 26th, 2014 No comments

“#FAIL” is the last thing you want to hear from your audience on your social media channels.

From disgruntled users or customers to people calling out your company or brand’s blunder, handling the outcome of a social media fail correctly is critical for recovery.

But beyond just addressing a crisis online, is there an effective way to prevent these cringe-worthy mishaps from even happening?

epicurious-boston-tweet

 

In the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE, Andrew Jones, Industry Analyst, Altimeter Group, explained how using a simple two-part strategy can help prevent social media fails before they occur.

 

Strategy #1. Manage expectations internally

Before you embark on social media, Andrew explained there should be a plan going into the journey to set guidelines for those who will be posting.

“At first, I think a lot of brands got involved and saw it as kind of a cute toy, and said, ‘Oh, let’s give it to the intern,” or, ‘Let’s give it to someone who doesn’t necessarily know a lot about the company,”‘ Andrew explained. “That can cause problems if the engagement that ends up representing the company in a very public space ends up causing social media fails or misrepresenting the company.”

Andrew recommended that the team managing a company’s social media account has rules and scenarios on how to interact with the audience online, especially when there’s a problem.

Read more…

Share and Enjoy:
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • Digg