Great Marketing

Getting Sponsors for Podcamp, Barcamp, or Any Other Event

I had a question come in this week about event sponsorship. There are a lot of grassroots events out there and that in the current economy you might think it would be difficult to find sponsors but it’s actually easier than ever.

As far as what sponsors are looking for, it’s very simple, the majority of them just want to sell more stuff. Companies that are Marketing savvy may be satisfied with access to the audience (meaning, an attendee list with good emails and maybe snail mail).

The criteria for choosing your possible sponsor targets:

  1. Your attendees are their number 1 prospects, when they advertise, the put ads in locations where your attendees read or spend time.
  2. They have a active marketing organization with budget. There are 3 possible types, forward thinking ones that are already in social media (these are your number 1 prospects, because you don’t have to educate them as to the value of an event like this), ones that are doing advertising (they have budget and will be interested in an event like this that will be more effective and trackable than ads in magazines, radio, whatever), and third are companies that don’t actively market (and are a waste of your time).
  3. You have access to them – this can be challenging. It’s not enough just to email somebody or call the front desk, you need access to an upper level decision maker. Front line and most middle management aren’t looking for more work to do, so they will probably ignore you (like the folks at M-Audio who had no interest in Podcamp 1, and missed the bus). Forward thinking middle managers and top level guys are the ones who will see the value in sponsoring an event like this that will have greater return than whatever other forms of ads they are using.

Forward thinking marketers may be feeling budget pressure so many of them are more willing to consider alternatives like social media than ever before (more impact at less cost? yes, now is the time that these words will make people listen).

Once you have a list of prospects you have to get in front of the decision makers, this is where you want to leverage linkedin and the rest of your network so that you get a reference and a personal introduction. The hard work is getting to the right people, once you are in front of them it’s an easy sell: “What if I could connect you with X of your most loyal customers, who are active in the online community and will blog, podcast, and spread your message on Facebook for less than the price of a single month ad in X magazine?”

So the big question to get started is: “Where do your attendees spend their money?”

Great Marketing

A Source of Inspiration

I have been very impressed with CVS Pharmacy‘s program that goes above and beyond.

Great Marketing

More Live from Hubspot

Great Marketing

23rd Annual Marketing Over Coffee Awards

Nominations close in 1 hour for the 23rd Annual Marketing Over Coffee Awards! This is the last chance to show the world your greatest marketing accomplishments for 2008. Finalists will be announced on the podcast tomorrow, and winners announced next week – only 5 will be honored!

Just comment here, or over at Marketing Over Coffee, all it takes is a link.

One other thing – now that I have cleaned up all of the infrastructure problems I’d really appreciate it if you would be willing to favorite me on Technorati. If you have any link scams that you want help with, I’m willing to barter! (Just kidding… no evil scams here.)

Add to Technorati Favorites

Great Marketing

Google Friend Connect in Action

I had a Google alert trip this morning, Neville Hobson interviewed Scott Monty and Scott’s bio mentioned that he has been a co-host on Marketing Over Coffee (although I thought it went great, Chris Brogan referred to that episode as adding not only a 5th Beatle, but one with a Tuba).

Regardless of your opinion on past content, the reason I’m posting is that Neville has implemented Google’s Friend Connect. As opposed to joining a Ning group or any other closed network where you have to fill out a bunch of stuff, if you are already signed into your Google account you can join in two clicks. It’s very cool, check it out.

Great Marketing

Finding Relevance

Making your message relevant puts you above the crowd, I thought this was great when I got it:

Great Marketing

The Gap Between Cool and Everything Else

This gap is clearly evident in Guy Kawasaki’s post of his Powerpoint extreme makeover.

The only issue is the classic ghetto marketing conundrum – you already need to be cool to be able to afford a graphics artist that really rocks.  But you get what you pay for… not only does it look great but it extends the message and his story. This is critical because although they downplay the importance of the slides, many people retain more information presented in a visual fashion. Why don’t more people incorporated tactile feedback in presentations? Logistics I guess….

Great Marketing

Crutchfield’s Dream Campaign

As a card carrying gadget geek it should be no surprise that I get the Crutchfield catalog at home. Since I buy cheap crummy cars that are good on gas since they are just going to get abused on 128 or parking in Boston, the first thing I do is upgrade the speakers. They are always knowledgeable  and accept returns, which happens frequently if stuff doesn’t fit (which doesn’t matter to them because I’ve had enough equipment stolen that they make it up).

The catalog this week had the results of their “You dream it, we’ll help you build it ™” contest. I don’t even remember seeing it before, but if I did I’m sure I thought “there’s no reason they would give me free stuff, they already know what I buy, and the wife is not about to let me put a kicker or glow neon on my sweet wheels for our quaint New England town.”

I have taken to heart many of Christopher Penn’s statements about taking time to protect your mental state. We are bombarded with trash news and celebrity crap at a relentless pace. If you into sound systems take a few minutes and check out the sound system Robert Vega built for his brother-in-law.

Great Marketing

Social Media Roast of Scott Monty

At a recent conference I was discussing a party for Scott Monty to celebrate his new position at Ford. A flash of creativity created the first ever Social Media Roast.

You are cordially invited to attend dinner on Friday, July 11th at the luxurious Ken’s Steak House (Home of the Famous Salad Dressings), in scenic Framingham, Massachusetts. Your $50 ticket gets you a steak and all the drinks we can afford, and the right to mount the podium and insult Scott in any way you think will be amusing.

If the idea of a roast is new to you, check out this classic, though dated clip from Dean Martin’s series:


To attend you must purchase a ticket from eventbrite.

Great Marketing SEO and Paid Search

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO

It’s not Spy vs. Spy. It’s different.

I’ve only been to one SEO Event, as it’s much easier (faster, cheaper…) to do my research online. Recently there’s been a lot of chatter about one of Danny Sullivan’s events that some felt went too far into Black Hat Territory. I found a response that said “Guess what suckas! There is no White Hat!” of course I paraphrase.

For n00bs (new people, to you n00bs), most believe there are two ways to do better in search engine results: White Hat – being “honest” and not doing Black Hat – making changes to your site, or getting links that have nothing to do with the user experience, and are done solely to score higher in the engines.

Jason Calacanis deployed some f’ing astonishing Ju-Jitsu a little more than a year ago, stating that SEO was all BS. He issued a challenge made a lot of important points and said that SEO is “pissing in the community’s well”, based on his image of what the future would be (and I think he’s on the mark). The beauty of it all though is that it both validates the business model and drives traffic for his new venture Mahalo. A beautiful example of participating in social media and leveraging community. It’s not possible to buy or fake that kind of hype – but kids, don’t try this at home, you’re watching a professional stuntman here.

Ok, so all that said… What to do? From what I’ve seen I think the wild west days are over. The web has become a communtity and the search engines are the law enforcement professionals. Black Hat has become like any other life of crime – it can provide benefit, but the downside is that you are always at risk of being found out and crushed. The truth is that you have your business on the line and the law enforcement people have no emotional involvement whatsoever. The guys that tweak the search algorithms come to work every day and think about how to tighten it up.

This will continue for years, people going to work and the corporate bureaucracy, patching holes at a slow pace, but crushing everything in their path. And it’s just like these cold case shows on TV, you may get away with it today, but 3 years from now they come up with a new way to examine the evidence and you get the cuffs.

Don’t take on the risk of Black Hat until you’ve exhausted everything possible from White Hat. Building an easy to navigate site with lots of great resources that the rest of the world can’t help but link to is a great way to build traffic that you can work on and never have to worry about waking up one morning and finding your site banished and traffic wiped out. This is becoming less and less of a technical function (making sure your html tags are properly formatted) and more of a copywriting one.

Wear the black hat if you have no long term plans for the domain. There’s a reason why PPC (Pills, Porn, Casinos) excel at black hat – if they have to close down that’s not a big deal, if you have a legitmate URL with your company name the stakes are much higher.

There are many people who can make money off of exploiting weaknesses in the search engines, but like most neighborhoods where the exploitation gets the attention of law enforcement, you probably don’t want to hang out there.