Some Thoughts On Conference Marketing

Back from two phenomenal days at BlogHer, and now starting to digest some of the things that I’d noticed over the weekend. First off, the right and wrong ways to market at a conference. Some thoughts from the Odd Time Signatures blog:

“I do, however, remember the sponsors of Blogher 2006, because they made their products relevant. Until Friday, the only car I was considering to replace one of our ancient jalopies was a Toyota Prius. Post-Blogher, Saturns are very much a part of my horizons, because GM got it exactly right. Give us the keys, let us test drive it, and if we like it we’ll buy it, talk about it, recommend it to our friends, give word of mouth/blog the power it deserves. They really got it right and they deserve many positive BlogHer mentions. I hope they sell a ton of Sky cars, and hope even more one of them is sold to me. GM/Saturn gets my vote as the sponsor who got it the mostest. They rocked.”

I’d have to agree. GM did three things right:

1) They had a noticable physical presence (a half-dozen parking spaces in front of the convention center)
2) They offered an experience (a chance to drive some hot and eco-friendly vehicles)
3) They stayed the hell outta-the-way, and only interacted with those who wanted to interact with them (they didn’t impose…if you wanted to interact, they welcomed you with open arms, but did not interrupt in the slightest into the proceedings of the conference)

Contrast this to the way Microsoft handled their opportunity. Amy Gahran writes:

“Still, I had to cringe at the campy, off-target Microsoft presentation during the welcome session just a few minutes ago.

To promote its new Windows Live Spaces service, someone at Microsoft thought it would be appropriate and fun to send a couple of bouncy, bubbly, sexy, carefully scripted 20-somethings uniformed in tight t-shirts and jeans to banter giddily for about 10 minutes on home improvement. It sounded like Barbie doing ‘Tool Time’ in stereo.”

Teachermama adds:

“The corporate sponsors didn’t really seem to get who their audience was, with the Be Jane weirdness being the primary example. All around me, people were making comments about feeling like ‘Math is hard’ Barbie was up on stage talking WAY down to us. Here’s a hint: if you’re facing a ballroom full of hundreds of smart, tech-savvy women, ‘home improvement is scary’ isn’t the way to our hearts.”

What other things did you see at BlogHer (or other conferences) where the sponsors either did something very, very right or horribly, horribly wrong?

(photo credits: socalmom and the right conversation)

Size Natters

BlogHer ’06 had 700+ attendees on Day 2. Daniel Terdiman writes:

“In what might be the largest-ever event of its kind, hundreds of women bloggers will gather here Friday and Saturday for the second annual BlogHer conference.”

So, now I’m stumped. Forget the “of it’s kind” qualifier — is BlogHer the largest blogging conference, period?

(If’n I remember, BloggerCon III back in 2004 was about 350 attendees or so, and BloggerCon IV a few weeks ago was maybe half that…)

Who Are You?

“I have made a distinction between pseudonymous blogs and ‘other identity’ blogs. A pseudonymous blog is written by someone under an anonymous identity, who fully admits that his or her identity is secret. An ‘other identity’ blog is one that the blogger writes under an identity that is not his or her ‘true’ identity and is not disclosed to be ‘other’. I have decided to use the word ‘other’ to remove moral implications that words such as false or fake carry. I also italicize truth because truth is a subjective concept upon a large continuum of experience.” – Stephanie Hendrick (more here)