The Power of FREE

This week’s Marketing Over Coffee (the best marketing podcast) is up for your listening pleasure. Some interesting talk about Free, Branding, and making an ass out of yourself at corporate events.


Trip’s over

Check out some of the photos from San Francisco and there’s finally a new M show out after a week off.

Lead Generation Productivity Booster

Why Trade Shows?

While talking about trade shows last week Johnny T. writes in:

Hey John –
As an events producer, I’m always curious WHY companies exhibit and sponsor. What are you trying to get out of SDWest? How do you define success – is that more of an art or science for your company? Maybe that’s a 2-part question – is success for John Wall separate for success for your company?

Two good questions. I can think of two reasons why to go – lead generation and branding (which some may call awareness). Lead gen makes it simple, a show is a success if we get more names than the previous year. You can also divide the cost of the show by the leads and have a hard metric to brag about. The awareness side is more difficult to measure, but you can survey attendees, watch web traffic following an event and cross new leads from the weeks following the show by the geographic region the show was in to see if you get a boost.

Creating awareness is also useful in moving existing deals. The chance to talk with multiple prospects over a couple of days can generate huge savings over having someone travel around to meet the same prospects. Meeting face to face and maybe even breaking bread with customers and prospects can shave weeks (and therefore expense) off a sales cycle.

After all of the marketing voodoo has managed to snag a prospect customers ultimately by things they like from people they trust, and you can earn that faster at a show than over the phone.

There are also some other higher level ninja tactics. Having a larger, cooler and better booth than other vendors attracts more visits and demoralizes the competition. Many shows are tied to publications so marketing staff can get a lot of business done on the advertising or lead gen front.

Jet lag on top of daylight savings is killing me. More on this later…

Productivity Buster


Stupid KeysI rented a minivan for the trade show. Lame, I know, but it’s good for hauling around the trade show cases, or  carpooling with everybody else.  These keys are huge b/c they have 6 buttons on them, but here’s the kicker: they gave me two keys on a keychain that is a cable keyring that is riveted shut. I’d need some wire cutters to get them apart. So why am I carrying around two? What in would require me to need both keys without separating them?

So I can do them the favor of losing them both? Knowing they will be safer because I have to put them in my laptop bag because it’s too big for a pocket? Anyone? Bueller?

Daily Life

Help Wanted – Bay Area

Do you work at Lucasfilm? I am in the Valley today and tomorrow heading up to San Francisco. I am scouring the rolodex to see if I can find someone to check out the Yoda Statue at Lucasfilm.

Are you in the Bay Area? I’m taking it easy on Saturday for breakfast/brunch if you are around. I’ve signed up for a private walking tour at 10 if anyone wants to bust out a camera and tag along (free! what more could you want?).

Are you an IABC member? I got an RFP to talk about social media at an upcoming event and the paperwork would like a member recommendation.

Photos to follow as the adventure continues…

Geek Stuff

Ode to Fry’s

Fry's ElectronicsAs part of the normal trade show routine I buy a monitor. It’s usually around $175 to rent one vs. $250 to buy one, so the first time we do a show in a town we buy a monitor and the local rep gets to use it for the rest of the year. We even do the same thing with some 40 inch monitors where we have bigger shows.

I hit the online fliers to see who’s got the best sales, this week it happened to be Office Max, although I chose a monitor based on the fact that it had internal speakers – which completely suck.

I’ve heard about Fry’s Electronics, but I had never been to one so I decided to swing over there just to see what they were about. The place is geek heaven. It’s about 4 times the Best Buy near my house and has the same stuff they carry plus a lot more components, toys, and other random stuff like pepper spray.

On top of that there’s a whole Raiders of the Lost Ark temple theme going on in the place. Worth a trip just to see, or if you need a $799 case for the next computer that you are going to build.

The Marketeer

The Show Must Go On

I won’t have a whole lot to post for the next couple of days, I’m at the SDWest Conference is Santa Clara, CA. It’s the cutting edge of Software Development and is actually a show with an insane number of sessions and an expo floor with tons of development tools. Unfortunately, as great as the show is, if you are reading this from a marketing slant there’s not much that will interest you.

Some relevant stuff – the floor is run by GES, if you are into shows you know that means that things will go well. We’re using badge scanners, it seems like mag stripe readers have finally (thankfully) died off. We’re rolling out a new booth design so I’ll have some pictures later. Like most shows, all the stress is prior to opening and the first 2 hours on the floor (a cocktail reception for this show). If everything is running smoothly by then it’s hard to screw up the rest of the show (but not impossible).

Something always goes wrong every show, so far I’ve lost a credit card, we’ll see if that’s the worst of it…

Productivity Buster

Weekend Ramble – Palm Centro

So it’s the weekend. Taking a break from Marketing here’s the important stuff:

I got a new TV so the complaining can stop at my house. The old one is being repaired and it’s going on 3 weeks, we couldn’t take it any more. We got a good deal at the Sony outlet and so I was able to take the upgrade to Apple TV last night and subscribing to Flickr is awesome.

I had a question come in and thought it would be good to put it out there as a continuation of my travel series, as I’m packing my bags now.

“I think I remember a post or tweet of yours regarding your Palm Centro. I am in the market for a smartphone and I have been looking at it. I am a Sprint customer and I have narrowed my search to the Centro or the Pearl. I really wanted Windows Mobile over PalmOS but that is mostly because I haven’t used PalmOS in years.

Would you recommend the Centro? I would basically use it to browse the web with Opera and check Gmail with the Gmail app. Are you using these apps?”

Back in December I traded in my Treo 600 and my wife’s standard issue Sanyo flip phone for a pair of Centros. Now some will say that my opinion is moot because our previous phones were so crappy that anything would be an upgrade. Getting past that let me say that I am a die hard Palm fan. I have yet to find any version of Windows mobile on any device that matches the usability of the Palm OS. It’s just easier and faster to get to addresses, see the calendar, do the simple tasks.

Also note that getting off of Sprint for an iPhone is not an option. My wife talks to her family alot so I have 4 phones on my plan, that keeps 1,000 minutes on Sprint-to-Sprint and pays for itself, but again, no iPhone for me.

The killer App for me is PDANet, I’ve used it on my 600 and the version on my Centro gets decent speeds. This means I can browse the web, upload and download files on my laptop anywhere there’s Sprint cell coverage. No more looking for wireless, and I’ve used it at geek shows such as Gnomedex or Podcamp where the attendees often kick the conference center’s wireless service in the ding-ding.

I use it to check my Gmail via the browser – and it works perfectly. I have been meaning to install Opera Mini but that is not a one click installation, you have to install some kind of java machine first and go from there. I’ve heard it’s possible but haven’t read about anyone who has done it on the Centro (755p is the newest I’ve seen that does run it). One of the other mailing apps ends up polling the system all the time and will wear your battery out, but I’m not using that.

I’ve also used JShopper for years as my shopping list and I’m not willing to give that up.