Archive for the ‘panelists’ tag
Panel session at conferences are very uneven, and often they suck. Why? The primary blame can be laid at the feet of the moderators, who often don’t do enough to make the panels great. Charlie O’Donnell offers details in a great post:
Charlie O’Donnell, Why do panels suck and how can we make them better?
I spoke on a SXSW panel in 2011 that didn’t suck. I know it didn’t suck because the first person to ask a question told us that our panel was worth the whole price of admission to the conference and we got the same sentiment echoed on Twitter. The panel included myself, Emily Hickey, Ben Lerer, and Christine Herron and we spoke about startup mistakes.
The panel didn’t suck because it was engineered not to suck. Here are a few things we did:
- First and foremost, the panelists were carefully chosen. They aren’t the biggest VCs and entrepreneurs, but they’re some of the most thoughtful ones. Some of the most successful people simply haven’t tought much about why they got where they are—and even if they have, they’re just wrong about it because they’ve only scratched the surface. These panelists have seen both success and failure, and they’ve seen it from multiple perspectives—and on top of that, because I knew them well, I knew they’d be able to share those stories. Not everyone is a good storyteller, so choose carefully.
- The moderator had a sense of the story that should come out of the panel. I knew what I wanted to cover and what I wanted the audience to leave with. Panels are, or at least should be, stories, and a story is supposed to leave you with something. You should remember them because they make sense in a structure. Too many moderators pick something broad like “The Future of the Present” and ask vague questions like, “So what happens after now?” You’ll never get a tight story that people can leave with if that’s what you do. People either need to leave with a specific story or a sense of “If I believe x, this will happen, if I believe y, this will happen.” Moderating is hard and not everyone can do it. Respect the craft.
- The questions were discussed among the panel ahead of time. We vetted a bunch of topics and decided on the questions that would output the best answers. That also gave the panelists time to think about their answers. In fact, they were given a specific format by which they should structure their responses—to think about the tweets that we wanted to see before further explaining. So, when the question was “How can you tell what makes a good hire?” Someone would say a one line, tweetable, comment-worthy sentence as an answer before diving in further.
- Not everyone answered every question. Don’t you hate when they go through everyone in order and the last two panelsts basically say, “Yeah, what she said…” but they still take 5 minutes to say that. Some of the questions simply aren’t relevent to everyone. With our panel, each person was asked to answer only 2-3 of the questions, so the answers bounced around the four of us and no more than two people addressed any given question—unless they really had something ridiculously awesome to say.
- The panel talked amongst themselves. We disagreed on a few things, asked questions of each other. It was like we were real humans sitting next to each other discussing a topic. Amazing.
I think Charlie’s hit it on the head, but let me add a few thoughts.
Interviews are underutilized at conferences. In many cases, people who really don’t present well — despite having great ideas or being quite accomplished — are great when interviewed. Small panels — a moderator and two panelists, for example — can be great, especially when handled like a parallel interview by the moderator.
And panels should have no more than one person for every ten minutes: 50 minutes = four panelists max and one moderator, for example. That means in today’s fast twitch conferences, a 30 minute panel would/should/could have only two panelists and one moderator.
Last summer, I led a Future Of Work seminar series in five cities, and although we were allotting 45 minutes, I held the panelists to two in all cases but one, and that worked well. The time I had three panelists was a bit cramped, in comparison.
I recently participated on a panel at Brand Innovators E-commerce. The title of the panel was “Big Data Meets E-commerce,” moderated by Mike Peralta, COO at MediaMath, and it included panelists from Kraft, Dell and New York Life Insurance. The panel discussion provoked thoughts around…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
SMX West is approaching fast, and one of the sessions that caught my eye was the Enterprise SEO – Challenges & Solutions. The panel is loaded with speakers with deep experience in enterprise SEO. I decided to reach out to the panelists and get a preview of their presentations, so I asked each…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
When, where and how much to share are big issues when it comes to social media, especially now that geolocation and search have gone social. But the panelists at a Social Media Week event on Tuesday night agreed that the rewards of connecting online far outweigh the potential for sharing too much information.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
At a recent Socialize event in Toronto, a few panelists pointed out that people may be looking at Google+ the wrong way. While most are trying to categorize it as a social network, the speaker felt that Google+ couldn’t miss because it was just a way of strengthening social SEO, and as the years pass, it will become more and more vital for companies to use it to improve their SEO anyway, and eventually this will draw people to Google+ through Google search.
I feel that this idea is spreading through businesses pretty fast, and seeing as how starting a basic Google+ business profile has almost zero risk and a very low cost, we’re seeing companies get into the space quick. The latest? Airlines.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
It's a Super Bowl flavored episode of The Beancast, where host Bob Knorpp is joined by panelists Steve Hall (Adrants), Tedd Aurelius (Martin Agency), Dan Goldgeier (AdPulp) and yours truly to discuss the following marketing topics:
- Super Bowl run up
- Admeter Impact
- Agism in Adland
- Owning vs Creating Content
- Ads in Search Results
Download or listen here
Subscribe to this wonderful podcast series via iTunes here
Instant RFP in Jeopardy
originally published in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider Summit
Florida is one of our more unpredictable states. The weather, the voting patterns, and the Florida Marlins can constantly surprise the locals, and there aren’t many other places where you can reasonably ask, “Is the Buick driver in front of me taking a nap, or is there an alligator crossing the highway?”
That helps to explain why MediaPost’s Social Media Insider Summit in Florida this week sparked far more questions than answers. The session I hosted was supposed to provide answers to the question, “How can a retailer use social media to drive in-store sales while positioning the marketer as an innovator?” That was the premise of “Instant RFP,” a panel where I presented four social media startups with a scenario they had to address. They had a week to prepare their answer, but just five minutes to present it, with additional time to answer questions.
The presenters were: CrowdTwist CEO Irving Fain, MicroStrategy Senior Director Marc Hayem, Echo VP of Marketing Kristin Hersant, and Brand Networks CEO Jamie Tedford. Their responses were strong, but the questions they provoked were far more interesting. SMIS event chair Cathy Taylor introduced the session saying it was like a game show and I was Alex Trebek; she couldn’t have been more prescient. I wound up providing an answer, and the panelists served up the questions that marketers should ask. In this case, the answer is, “A retailer should use social media to drive sales at their individual stores.” Here are the questions:
1) What’s the return on investment of social media?
This was a favorite of Fain’s, and it was echoed in all the presentations in this session, as well as others during the event. There doesn’t always have to be a clear-cut ROI. For instance, Coca-Cola’s Laura Houghton mentioned in a session on Google+ that Coca-Cola needed to be where its fans expected the brand to be, and it also needed to capitalize on any search-related benefits. She wasn’t looking at how many cans of Coke were moved. Yet for retailers and other marketers, it’s increasingly possible to track sales. What’s even better is that consumers who are fans of a brand will be especially interested in purchasing that brand’s products. From the panel, there were many answers on ways to do it: segmenting audiences to message the most influential shoppers; mobile sale alerts; live events promoted through social media; allowing local store owners to create their own sales. The specific tactics matter less than the bigger idea that marketers can push for answers relevant to their brands.
2) How much control of social programs should be given to local store or market managers versus a centralized marketing team?
Tedford seemed to have the most experience here, and he was a strong advocate of shared responsibility. He acknowledged that local managers often know which promotions will resonate best with their individual markets, but the centralized team will have more experience with what works across a large array of locations. Local managers also tend to differ in terms of their interest and activity with various marketing channels, so one store’s presence could be flourishing and another could be dormant without national promotions to even out the discrepancies.
3) How should marketers use their physical stores?
This question was inspired by Hersant, whose response focused on simultaneous live events at all of this hypothetical retailer’s 1,500 locations. The build-up would occur largely through social channels, while live feeds of the hottest products would appear in stores. Much of what Hersant proposed, including a live chat with a company spokesperson or celebrity endorser, could be done entirely digitally, which made the program all the more intriguing. Just because it can be done digitally, should it involve the physical locations somehow? And how can retailers with a physical presence bring digital experiences into their stores? What’s key is that digital marketers consider all consumer touchpoints, including the physical stores and people working there, as assets that can be incorporated into social media marketing programs.
4) How much do you segment your audience?
All presenters addressed audience segmentation in various ways. The most explicit were Fain, who discussed identifying the most influential consumers and targeting them separately, and Hayem, who proposed using data augmentation to make inferences about consumers and segment them accordingly. Segmentation is hardly a new discipline for marketers, but social media adds more variables. Once you define what influencers are, how do you treat them differently? How uniformly do influencers act across local markets? How much do you factor in one’s purchase history versus social sharing activity? Does all of this segmentation lead to a better ROI than mass messaging, given the added investment of resources needed?
Clearly, there are more than four questions here. The biggest lesson is that these are all questions you can ask today with the expectation of getting answers relevant to your brands, markets, and campaigns. Which questions will you ask first?
Don’t forget to join Maggie Fox today at 12 pm EST / 9 am PST for an exclusive, live webinar from Social Media Today on Defining and Measuring Influence. A great discussion to be had with Maggie and panelists, Peter Auditore – the Principal Researcher at Asterias Research, and Pam Moore – the CEO & Co-Founder of ZoomFactor, as they examine what is or is not influence and how such a fuzzy concept can be measured.
It’s not too late to register, click HERE!
At the most recent Search Insider Summit, Aaron Goldman moderated a terrific panel titled “The Perfect Search Engine” (video here). Panelists evaluated how the perfect search engine (“PSE”) might take information (voice, text, other signals), how it should display that information, and what…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
You have so many choices available when it comes to attending marketing events each year. What sets apart the top-shelf events from the more pedestrian gatherings? What separates the best events from the pack? Glad you asked!
Here are three things that have guided me well since I started going to events as a fresh-faced NYU Marketing graduate circa 1991:
1. History & Reputation
Events are hard to produce—there are a lot of moving parts that need to be oiled and regularly maintained. So, for the best experience, look for events with a track record in the marketing space, produced by folks who have stellar reps.
A great example is SXSW, here each spring in my home town, Austin, Texas. It’s really three events that overlap in a chaotic yet memorable way; the Interactive piece brings a diverse yet fascinating mix of speakers and sponsors. Folks in the film and music industries, which are also covered, usually rave as well.
Another example is MarketingProfs, where we have been putting on events since 2005. I’ve gone to many other events by other publishers over the years. But when I started at MarketingProfs and began to attend our events, I really understood how unique of a “voice” has been established. And now that I know our event planners and content programmers and have watched them in action over and over (and seen/heard their results on the floor), it’s even more apparent to me how on point they are.
A major focus that sets us apart is finding great speakers and panelists whom you have not heard over and over already—experienced in the trenches practitioners who really make their content come alive with practical examples. Also, our keynotes are always very inspiring, always motivating, and highly memorable.
This is a basic criteria yet it’s often missed. For example, have you ever attended a show, perhaps one in your own city that you thought you’d just pop into but didn’t really do a lot of homework on … and then found out that the sessions, sponsors, speakers and attendees were all speaking another dialect?
This is why MarketingProfs has really honed in on events specific to the B2B marketer, more than any other publisher we know. We are B2B marketers ourselves and have been writing and speaking about all the complex elements that make up successful B2B programs for over a decade: from lead generation and nurturing, to email and search marketing, to understanding and applying the myriad new social media channels. We get it. You will, too. Attendees who leave our events are filled with new ideas they can put into practice right away.
Can we be honest here? Human beings, not businesses, attend events. And humans like to socialize with each other. So, even as virtual events and video conferencing continue to grow and get better, the glue that will keep business travel alive and well is the actual one-to-one networking that industry shows provide. Likely, you can think of many examples in your own case—that great new contact you made or maybe a drinking buddy you arrange to meet up and one day winds up getting you a new job. Or how about that impromptu discussion in a hallway that led to a new partnership or client? Veteran event-goers often first check out the various parties and such when considering whether to spend a $1,000 or more plus travel expenses. Great shows earn a reputation for fun and valuable networking.
Note: This presumes that if you are attending an event (that your company shelled out valuable dollars to send you to), you have been hitting those parties, working the networking breaks, and cruising the exhibit floor.
Non-sales and marketing types, I’m looking at you right now. Even if you are the most introverted engineer or product specialist, do NOT miss out on what is often the best part of a show because you’ve trapped yourself in your hotel room working each evening to “catch up” or you spent much of the time at the event with your nose buried in smartphone! Look up. Mingle. Events are about people. Leave with a handful of new business cards every time. And don’t forget to promptly send out a LinkedIn invitation to connect within a few days.
Next year, MarketingProfs is holding two major events: SocialTech (March 28 and 29, Seattle) and our 6th Annual B2B Marketing Forum (October 2 to 4, Boston). In between these will be a series of road shows that will feature super-cool evenings with key MarketingProfs folks like Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) and Matt Grant (@MattTGrant).
If you are a B2B marketer, you need to circle these dates on your calendar, and then watch your inbox for our emails with details as we get closer. Not on our basic/free subscriber list? Go sign-up now, do yourself a big favor!