The Art of Marketing

Inspiration. New knowledge.

Those were the two things I was looking for when I went to The Art of Marketing conference on November 27.

I’d been excited about this for weeks. There are those of you out there who will spend serious coin to go and see your favorite band. Paul McCartney was just here last week. Me? I get excited by nerds. Yeah, that’s right. When I saw the lineup for this conference, I knew I really had to go. These guys are my nerdy heros.

There were five speakers, and I will refer to them by their twitter handles, becuase that’s how sadly nerdy I am: @davidusher, @mitchjoel, @biz, @randizuckerberg and @unmarketing.

David Usher, the lead singer of Moist, was clearly the newest at this public speaking game. He seemed the most nervous, and read chunks of his talk off of an ipad. But he was charming and insightful, and kinda dreamy. His presentation was about creativity, and it was really inspiring. He did this amazing thing where he got an audience member up and made her hold this tube that translated her heart beat into a drum beat, and then he sang to her.

Mitch Joel has been on my radar for years. His book, Six Pixels of Separation is quite fascinating, and I’ve been listening to his podcast for a long time. I felt like Mitch’s talk was the most useful in terms of real learning. I picked up some really useful stuff from him: like how marketing is really moving into thinking from the POV of the consumer, and how, as marketers, we have to think about things in terms of linear data (like ROI and numbers) and in terms of circular data (like how all of our different social media platforms tie together).

In order for us to really create lasting relationships with our customers, we need to offer them value. 75% of all the people that download apps don’t use them at all, or use them only once! Why are we creating apps that are not useful?? Creating an app that has utility creates a direct link with the customer: an example Joel used was the Sit or Squat app, brought to you by the lovely folks at Charmin. Apparently the only TP they purchase in the Joel home is Charmin–a direct result of brand loyalty built through their app.

Randi Zuckerberg (yes, that Zuckerberg–Mark is her brother and she spent 6 years running the marketing for Facebook before launching out on her own) was, for me, my least favorite and least useful presenter. It was a fun, light presentation about top tech trends (you can see it here), which had its place, but wasn’t as deep in terms of learning. the main thing I took away from her presentation was how attached we are to our smartphones. Any marketing that you are thinking about doing must be available through your smart phone. Gamification is a huge trend–for example the Snooze app which donates money to charity every time you hit it. Brilliant, right?

Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter, was at the other end of the scale with his presentation. He came off as a kind of sleepy, laid-back, California surfer-dude. But despite that, he had some great things to say. My favorite thing was his definition of success: “Change the world. Make money. Do so joyfully.” Not bad, hey?

And last but hardly least, Scott Stratton (of whom I’ve been a fan for years, but this is the first time I got to experience him live) killed us with his Viral, Social and Authentic Marketing talk. I really loved his first book, UnMarketing, and am now halfway through his second. The thing I love about Scott is not just his message, which is all about creating the best possible customer service experience for your clients, but how he delivers it, with a lot of humour. I had to dash to teach my last Tuesday night class, so he kindly let me be first in line to sign my book, and sent me off with a high-five. It was great to finally meet him.

It was a really great day, and I met up with lots of great people, some of whom I knew, and some I didn’t.

There were a couple of negatives, though: you had to pay for wifi, which was an extra $20 0n top of a ticket price that was already at around $400. Also, there was no where to charge your devices! It was a conference on marketing and social media, and there were no plugs available in the conference centre! I ended up juicing up my computer for a half hour over lunch, sitting on the cold marble floor in the hallway. I did meet and have a super great conversation with another marketer this way, but I really felt like this was an oversight on the part of the organizers. This could have been an amazing marketing opportunity for a company to create a refueling lounge or station. Just sayin’.

For more detailed info about the conference, check out the Twitter hashtag stream: twitter.com/#TAO.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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