Posts Tagged ‘Events’
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013
BizBash, a trade media for event professionals, has named its 2013 list of the most innovative brands in events right now.
Driven by an understanding of the value of events and how experiential marketing tactics can maximize consumer loyalty and revenue, these brands are breaking new ground and challenging others to follow.
“Standing out in the saturated world of experiential marketing is no easy task, but these 10 companies found innovative ways to attract attention to their products. And this list isn’t just about naming the buzziest brands—we looked for companies that actually saw results,” said BizBash executive editor Anna Sekula.
The top 10 innovative brands in the industry include:
1. Target: One of the most visible brands in event marketing, the retailer continues its reputation for innovative events and engaging marketing tactics.
2. Coca-Cola: The beverage giant stays in the spotlight by sharing the attention with events seen around the world—and keeping its marketing message global.
A Samsung Android phone.
Samsung: The mobile division of the Korean electronics maker stormed onto the scene in 2012, using a series of experiential marketing tactics to build awareness for its smartphones.
4. Xbox: The debut of Halo 4 was one of the biggest media launches of 2012 with a marketing push that included flying a massive glyph over London.
5. Red Bull: The company brings its brand identity to life with daring, high-stakes activations.
6. Dos Equis: The beer brand’s ongoing ad campaign has made an indelible mark on the marketing landscape.
7. Nike: The athletic equipment giant develops products—and hosts clever events—that foster a strong sense of community among its fans.
8. Univision: The media company built a new event team in its 50th year.
9. Ford: The auto giant staged a buzzy multimedia campaign to introduce the 2013 Fusion.
10. Warby Parker: The online eyewear retailer is using quirky marketing tactics to make waves in the retail industry.
The full story on the most innovative brands and innovative people can be found at bizbash.com/innovators-2013.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
By Allan Maurer
Matt Wallaert, a behavioral scientist with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and a serial entrepreneur, is among more than 100 speakers participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.
We’re going to see much better products in the future based on how we actually use them as technology embraces human engineering and behavioral science, says Matt Wallaert.
A behavioral scientist working with Microsoft and BING and a serial entrepreneur, Wallaert says he believes the goal of technology is to “Get to that Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) future in which we’ve solved many of the world’s problems.”
After two successful tech startup exits, he joined Microsoft’s Bing to focus on adapting technologies to work naturally with existing paradigms of behavior to aid in both decision making and task completion, and to broaden how search removes obstacles and enables people to take action on their ideas, questions, and desires.
As an academic at Cornell University, Wallaert wrote a number of papers on financial behavior that drew the attention of Thrive, which invited him first to sit on its board and later made him head of product.
Built a behavioral change engine
“We built a behavioral change engine,” he says. And it worked. “We could see we were changing behavior.” People using Thrive raised their credit scores and paid down their debt. The company eventually sold to Charlotte-based Lending Tree.
Then Wallaert started a second firm, Churnless, which focused on helping startups build products people actually want and don’t leave because they find them so useful.
He co-founded several startups (OneADayForCharity, HotelDecoder, and FlexibleFlow), and has acted as an adviser and angel investor to others. One of his current side projects is Getraised.com, a free service to help close the gender wage gap. It has helped thousands of women earn millions of dollars over the past two years; 70 percent of women who submit a raise request get a raise, and the average raise is around $7K.
Speaking at the Atlanta Digital Summit
Wallaert is among more than 100 digital thought-leaders and executives from top brands participating in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta. In addition to Microsoft, brands represented include Google, AOL, Twitter, Adobe, and many others.
Wallaert says that one reason he joined Microsoft is that “I want to do things that are practical, but in startups, even if you’re successful, you may not be talking to that many people. But no one on earth has a bigger audience than Microsoft.”
He admits that a company as big as Microsoft it can be difficult to institute change. “But if you can, it affects so many people,” he adds.
Should technology’s goal be the future where it has solved many of society’s basic problems, such as in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe?
People tend to underestimate how much Microsoft has already contributed to that Star Trek-like future in which many of the world’s problems are solved. Microsoft technology powers everything from many tools we use in our daily lives to those operating cars and hospitals.
If you get hit by a bus, he notes, the ambulance that takes you to the hospital may have been built by a factory powered by Microsoft. The hospital itself is also likely using Microsoft technology, and the doctors treating you are probably using Microsoft powered tools.
The science of social
At Bing, Wallaert and Microsoft are trying to make the search engine – Google’s only real rival – to work with natural speech.
On a panel dealing with social search at the Digital Summit, Wallaert says he’ll “Talk about some of the science of social. There is tendency to approach search with old school marketing techniques, such as pushing out a message to a bunch of influencers.”
Ashton Kutcher, for instance, has millions of followers on Twitter. “But who ever did anything because he said to?,” asks Wallaert.
Actually, though, that’s not how social recommendations work their viral magic. “Why do social recommendations work?” he asks. “Because people tend to group up in patterns with other people who are like them.”
“Imagine that if instead of Ashton, a friend sends you a personal note saying ‘Hey I’m using this thing and you might like it.’ Those are the types of messages that have a huge impact. A tweet might reach a million eyeballs, but that’s different from getting 100 people to tell 10 others they’re using something and you should try it.”
He’ll talk about the kind of social outreach that actually produce sticky results and long term product users. “Think about Game of Thrones,” he suggests. The HBO show has racked up impressive viewing numbers in its third season, largely “Because people are watching it because their friends are watching it.”
“You need to look at the raw science of why social recommendations are important, how people actually make decisions and how you can use that,” Wallaert says.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
By Allan Maurer
It is amazing how little digital marketing is actually data driven. So says Brian DAmato, senior vice president of analytics at Moxie. “Marketing organizations have evolved, but not rapidly: 60 percent of CMOs have stopped holding their reps responsible for ROI because they just are not collecting the data needed.”
DAmato is a veteran in the digital space – working with technology, businesses, user experience and analytics to help transform teams into continuous learning organizations. He uses data, research, and insights to craft solutions and push the envelope in the spaces of Big Data and omni-channel user experience.
DAmato has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Intel, General Electric, Delta Air Lines, and The Home Depot, and has launched two startups. Brian aligns business objectives and customer needs, with appropriate KPIs and available technologies to enable intelligent risk-taking for organizations.
Speaking at the Atlanta Digital Summit
He’s among the more than 100 digital thought-leaders who will share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding at the Digital Summit in Atlanta in just two weeks.
DAmato will talk about increasing ROI with data driven decisions at the event.
“What are the approaches organizations should take toward measurement?” is a question he plans to address.
It’s more than measurement
“It’s not just measurement, but also comparison against a baseline,” DAmato says. You also have to consider which tools you’ll need and the whole set of infrastructure needed to make things come about. “Tools can do amazing things, but they’re expensive,” he notes. So you need to decide which are right for your marketplace and customers.
He offers these three tips on getting started:
“The first and biggest,” he says, “is experiment. You need to understand your baseline – where you are – and aggressively try new things.” You need to set up your experiments properly, though, he warns.
Next, “You need to be risk tolerant. Tweaks and subtlties aren’t going to be where you really make the money. You have to find out if you’re climbing the right mountain.”
Big mountain models
DAmato adds, “We used to call them big mountain models. The last thing you want to do is to look out over the top of your current mountain and say, ‘Gosh, we should be over there because it’s three times the size of my mountain.’ So you have to address how to do big mountain experiments.”
Ask, he suggests, “Should I be doing something radically different? If you’re risk tolerant, you can be aggressive in trying new things.That’s a key to driving ROI.”
Finally, you also need to make sure your organization has the right skill sets to do this, he adds. “You need the right talent. The way business leverages tools and technology is changing. Now marketers need technology skills.
“If you have the right people and do the right experiments, you’ll see ROI from your platforms because you will continually push them.”
DAmato says he’ll discuss all of this in more depth and with specifics at the Digital Summit.
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Erik Muendel, CEO, Creative Director of Brightline Interactive.
By Allan Maurer
If you’re designing an onsite digital game or activity for an event, what’s the first thing you have to remember about usability?
“Keep it simple,” says Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive. It designs, produces, promotes, and installs fun social machines and digital experiences for national brands and agencies at sporting and entertainment events, mobile tours, museums, retail stores, lobbies, and conventions.
You have to remember that you only have your audience for a few seconds or minutes at such events. “They don’t want clever navigation or a ton of information. They want an experience. So you have to distill that experience down.”Brightline Interactive maps out every phase of consumer interaction with its “experiences,” Muendel says.
What they do to capture these busy, moving targets, is of value to anyone thinking about usability design. So Muendel will join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders, executives from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, NASCAR, and many others at the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15 to talk about just that.
Mapping out the experience
When Brightline plans out its experiences, he says, first they consider “The initial attraction. What catches the eye and how long that takes.”
Then, they consider how long instructions showing how to do the activity requires, followed by the activity itself and finally post-activity, which encourages users to share something from the experience and/or provide personal information such as an email address.
“We’re developing content to be shared or to capture data from the consumer,” Muendel says. “Those are the ultimate goals. We back design the interface to highlight that goal.”
They consider factors such as the best placements and strategies for bringing out certain features and placing buttons. “We focus the consumer on one or two selections to lead them through the activity. Then we layer in the brand.”
Keeping it on brand
Brightline Interactive strives to provide a unique experience while keeping the message on brand. “It’s a fun challenge,” Muendel says.
Meeting the challenge leads up to some entertaining and memorable event experiences. At the recent Final Four Basketball tournament, for instance, they developed a “Twitter balloon.” The more people tweeted, the more air was fed into a large balloon that would explode when a final tweet filled it to bursting.
“People had to enter their information and Twitter account to play. People really loved it. They went wild when the balloon popped. The winner received a phone.”
The client received all that consumer information. These “experiences” are effective at getting people to give up that information, Muendel notes.
At South by Southwest, the company did a “social booth” for Dorritos. People would select their favorite flavor, have a photo taken with it and share it on Facebook. The photos were then pulled into a concert display on the stage for a “big payoff.”
Tips for getting and keeping attention
Muendel has several tips for capturing attention and keeping it:
Number one? “You always need something in motion,” he says. “You never want activity stagnant. Keep things fluid but not annoying. That’s the key.”
Next: “Give them some sort of audio element to get their attention and lead them through the experience. You can have crappy graphics, but if you have amazing audio, you’ll still have a good experience.”
Finally, he suggests: “Give them something they’re not expecting.” One way of doing that is to personalize the experience. “If they use their name or Facebook connection, we’ll pull in that data and use it,” says Muendel. “You can also personalize the experience so they’re interacting (via a gesture or sensor) in ways they haven’t done before. ”
Twenty-employee Brightline Interactive is located in Alexandria, VA, just outside DC. Founded in 2004 it’s self-funded, but may consider venture capital in six months for a possible spin-off venture.
Friday, October 14th, 2011
TechMedia’s Internet Summit
is bringing 120 digital media, marketing and business thought leaders to the Raleigh, NC, Convention Center Nov. 15-16, but discounted early registration for the event, which is shaping up as the largest ever, ends today, Friday, Oct. 14.
With more than 75 individual presentations
, 5 forward looking panels, and keynotes by NY Times best-selling author & ‘Social Media King’ Gary Vaynerchuk
andGowalla co-founder Josh Williams
the event promises to give your business savvy a boost.
Over 120 industry innovators
and thought leaders from prime brands like Google, Microsoft, ESPN, StumbleUpon and many more, will be on hand to share their insight, spark new ideas, and expand your understanding on issues and topics that matter to you.
The Internet Summit expects nearly 2,000 attendees
at Internet Summit 2011 making it the largest Digital, Media & Tech Conference in the Southeast — offering you unparalleled opportunities to connect and network with your peers and business colleagues.
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
TechMedia’s Internet Summit is bringing 120 digital media, marketing and business mavens to the Raleigh, NC, Convention Center Nov. 15-16, but discounted early registration for the event, which is shaping up as the largest ever, ends this Friday, Oct. 14.
With more than 75 individual presentations, 5 forward looking panels, and keynotes by NY Times best-selling author & ‘Social Media King’ Gary Vaynerchuk and Gowalla co-founder Josh Williams the event promises to give your business savvy a boost.
Over 120 industry innovators and thought leaders from prime brands like Google, Microsoft, ESPN, StumbleUpon and many more, will be on hand to share their insight, spark new ideas, and expand your understanding on issues and topics that matter to you.
The Internet Summit expects nearly 2,000 attendees at Internet Summit 2011 making it the largest Digital, Media & Tech Conference in the Southeast — offering you unparalleled opportunities to connect and network with your peers and business colleagues.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
A few months ago, I was sitting in John Austin’s office at gaming incubator Joystick Labs with Austin and John O’Neill, president of Spark Plug Games). I was mostly there trying to score free games, or at least cheat codes, and I also wound up accidentally writing about the North Carolina Gaming Roundtable they were about to take part in.
As we were killing time playing Dr. Mario, I nonchalantly asked if either of them had an exact figure on the number of gaming startups in the RTP.
While Austin reached into his desk and pulled out a stack of spreadsheets, lists, and what looked like a Simon, O’Neill whipped our his smartphone and started going through his contacts.
I give them huge credit for taking that random question so seriously, but the truth is no one really knows how many there are.
But we’re going to find out. Or at least Ben Moore is going to give us our best guess.
Moore does marketing and PR for Mighty Rabbit Studios , an independent game development shop in Raleigh, currently working on the Saturday Morning RPG series, which is exactly what it sounds like and better have a Harlem Globetrotters mystery level. I sat down with Moore and Matte Wagner, founder of Pangolin as well as an audio engineer at Red Storm.
Moore is one of the drivers, along with Mighty Rabbit co-founder Alan Youngblood, of Raleigh Game On, a first-ever get together of local independent developers to show off their wares, celebrate independent gaming, and hopefully cement a community that has a lot of members, a lot of camaraderie, a lot of promise, but very little cohesion.
Game On is Monday, August 29th at 7:00 p.m. at the Hive in downtown Raleigh. It’s free to attend, and I suggest you do. I’m telling you this because I know a little something about this kind of event.
They Stole My Idea!
About six months ago, I was at a reception that followed some kind of investor or tech startup conference, and I was half-joking that the reception, that’s the part at the end with beer and no Powerpoint, was what I most looked forward to.
Hey, I know a brewery owner, I thought. I should start an event and have it just be that part at the end where everyone is having fun. I made that joke in a column, someone read it and relayed it at a dinner a week later, whereupon someone else immediately said I should do it for real.
Fast forward to September 12th, which will be the fifth iteration of this event, now called ExitEvent, a free beer, loud music, no-nametags monthly social exclusive to RTP entrepreneurs and their employees. Within six months, it’s grown from a bad joke to 200 people from 85 startups.
Shameless Plug Over
Did you know there were 85 startups in the RTP?
Yeah, me neither, and I definitely should have. My point is the reason why ExitEvent blew up so quickly had nothing to do with me or the free beer. I just lit the match. It exploded because the entrepreneurs were out there and they wanted something like this.
So back to the question: How many gaming startups are there in the RTP?
The question is probably unanswerable, at least for now. A good guess is: Tons.
Thanks to mobile and social, there are lots of opportunities for smaller games, smaller budgets and smaller companies to be successful right out of the gate. Wagner says that these companies didn’t have the option of the mass mobile market until very recently, not 5 years ago, not really even two years ago.
Yes. In the world of mobile gaming, 2009 was like the dark ages.
Developers have also been taking notice of success stories like Rovio and the amount of reward achieved for the pittance of resources spent. Today, hobbyists are getting serious. Cogs at big companies are jumping ship to helm their own. It’s almost stupid that it’s not more of a gold rush than it already is.
But a lot of these little companies are working in a vacuum. When they get to a certain point, they all tend to run into the same obstacle: They can’t find the right person to join the team. They need a network, at least a central cortex, to bring about what Moore calls the “I know a guy” syndrome.
So, You Know, Game On
This is the purpose of Game On. Moore says that for the smaller developers, there really isn’t a central get together beyond the once-a-year East Coast Game Conference. I’ve been to that conference since its inaugural, and I’m always surprised by two things.
One. There is literally almost no connection between the RTP tech startup ecosystem and the RTP gaming ecosystem. It’s there, but it’s thin. I can count on one hand the number of people I run into at both the startup events and the gaming events. This should not be and I’ve sort of made it my goal to try to build that bridge.
Out of Legos, of course.
Two. The RTP startup ecosystem, as open and helpful as it is, could probably learn a few things from the RTP gaming ecosystem. These folks are tight, always helpful to each other and to outsiders like me. In this sense, the gaming ecosystem is a lot like the music ecosystem, where they’re willing to introduce, cross-promote, and even sit in on a project just because they love doing what they do.
They Want to Reach Your Grandmother
And it isn’t like the community has no structure at all. Alex Macris’ awesome Escapist magazine and Triangle Gaming Initiative (which also has a monthly social), is a very good start.
But the ECGC and the TGI are by developers for developers. In order to get the local gaming community to grow, they not only need to connect and reconnect with the developers, but also reach out to the developer wanna-bes and, ultimately, the gamers themselves.
This is more difficult than it was two years ago. Wagner points out that with that same mass mobile market as the distribution method, all sorts of people are now exposed to games and have an idea of how a game should play, casual vs. hardcore is dying down, if not almost irrelevant.
Plus smart phone penetration is still relatively small, compared to other delivery media – televisions, for example, or even PCs/Laptops. In other words, gamers are everywhere, they’re everyone. They’re pretty much you’re grandmother.
Well, they don’t want to reach your grandmother, but the point is the universe is expanding.
Here’s Your SETI
Moore hopes to at least diagram that expansion with Game On as a first attempt. He wants to grow Game On to be a central hub for the independent community of local developers to collaborate and trade ideas. If it works, they bring more people in, and the result is more ideas and more collaboration.
But there’s an added competition element to Game On. Companies will give a two minute intro on who they are and what they’re working on, and there will be stations set up for attendees to give the game a try. At the end of the evening, a Best in Show will be chosen and a trophy awarded, which the winner keeps until the next Game On (TBD).
Battle of the Bands!
The trophy is named the Ben G. Russell Cup, after a friend within the gaming community who passed away before he had the chance to take off. Again, this shows that the community is there, it just needs cohesion.
And this initial Game On is only the first step. Moore and Wagner don’t yet know what they don’t know, in terms of what’s out there that they’re not taking advantage of.
But while they’re counting new companies at the first Game On, they’ll figure this out too
Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for tech media startup StatSheet. He also owns consulting firm Intrepid Company and creative network Intrepid Media and runs the startup social ExitEvent. Joe can be reached via Twitter @jproco (http://www.twitter.com/jproco) and read at joeprocopio.com.
Friday, July 22nd, 2011
By Joe Procopio
Seriously? Wait, how many bands?
When deja Mi founder Justin Miller first dropped hints to me back in May about what would become deja Fest, it sounded intriguing. He painted a picture of an old-school launch party, complete with bands, beverages, and big-shots.
Of course I was in. That’s sort of my thing.
And his strategy made perfect sense. See, deja Mi is a venue-based media sharing application, fancy-speak for an app that takes your pictures, video, audio, any kind of digital content from an event, and uploads and categorizes it in a single album for that venue. All real time.
Local. Music. Tonight.
So you go to a show, and immediately after — hell, even during, you can relive (or immerse yourself in) said show, minute by minute, snapshot by snapshot – or, if you can’t make the show, you can watch or hear the whole thing as it’s streamed to you.
Better yet, if you happen to be out in downtown Raleigh after dinner at any one of the awesome restaurants that have sprung up, deja Mi can give you a full audio/visual menu of what’s happening around you.
No friends, no followers, no privacy concerns.
Cool app. Good reason to throw a party.
But Wait, There’s More
Things got out of hand, in a good way.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed by Miller and his gang that there’s been a veritable boom in media-sharing apps, especially those launched in the last six months. deja Mi is unique in the sense that it uses location and media sharing in a very efficient manner and marries the two through individual events.
The app stands out, but in order to stand out in the marketing shuffle, they realized they needed to create a major footprint right out of the gate. They talked about it and, going back to the roots of how the company was conceived, decided to tie the launch to the music scene.
A planned one-off concert-style launch party quickly grew into a couple bands at a couple different venues and then evolved into a monster two-day festival bringing in big names while including local bands in the mix.
Thus, deja Fest
That means you’ll see locals The Hell No and The Static Mind as well as Baltimore’s Wye Oak (, fresh off a stint on Jimmy Fallon, and Warner Bros.’ Surfer Blood.
All in all, it’s 26 acts at six different venues over two days plus an all-ages portion on a closed-off Cabarrus Street.
And it’s free.
So drop whatever it is you’re doing tonight and tomorrow (that’s Friday July 22nd and Saturday the 23rd if you ignored my tweets), and get to downtown Raleigh, because we haven’t seen anything like this in ten years, and probably won’t see anything like it again for a while.
The Return of the Lavish Launch?
I’m old enough to remember the bubble parties circa 1998-2001. And let’s get one thing straight. They were awesome.
Back in the day, technology was my ticket to front row seats at the Brian Setzer Orchestra (Thanks, Microsoft!), backstage badges at SXSW (Thanks, Vignette!), and all kinds of ridiculous, superfluous excuses for not having a revenue model.
Personally, I’m trying to revive that sense of fun in the technology world, especially in the startup ecosystem and deliberately in the RTP. Fun is healthy, and it can go a long way towards turning triples into home runs. Fun is necessary.
I’m also the first one to step up and say enough is enough when a Dave & Buster’s gets rented out and a Flock of Seagulls gets flown in for every point release. I’m just as wary of Groupon’s numbers as you are and right now, I’ll be honest, my portfolio is safely invested in mattress lint and Rosetta Stone for Mandarin.
This Is Not a Bubble Party
Miller came up with the idea for deja Mi, sensibly enough, at a show in October 2010. By November, he not only had the company underway but also, and this is key, the revenue model. The app was then built around that.
Going back to the glut of media sharing apps hitting the market between then and now, Miller took stock of the means to get his app to the top of the pile. He quickly realized there was one mean: The traditional way of breaking an app is the holy grail of TechCrunch, combined with several good write-ups and, of course, great reviews in the App Store and Android Market.
It wasn’t until April that the launch party idea was born. deja Mi is the official app of September’s Hopscotch Festival, so they have a partnership as well as a sponsorship with Hopscotch.
Miller realized that this roaming music festival could not only serve as a launch party, but also as the ultimate first impression and test-bed for the app. It would provide the backdrop not only for exposure, but also education and adoption.
If deja Mi is going to become ubiquitous with venue-based media capture, then festivals, even music shows, are just the first step. You might as well just jump right in. So deja Fest is not just a party, it’s a Petri dish where the app can quickly grow and evolve.
A Launch Party With a Purpose.
Certainly it’s going to be fun – but that’s just gravy.
It’s a risky move from a financial standpoint – as they’re putting most (not all) of their eggs in one basket in terms of marketing. It’s either going to work and work extremely well or it’s not, and then they go back to the drawing board.
What I like about it is that they’ve figured out there has to be more than one way to get your name out there. We can all complain about how the RTP is stuck in this plain, vanilla, boring rut, but in order for it to change, we have to make waves, take risks, and, well, bring the sexy back
Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for tech media startup StatSheet. He also owns consulting firm Intrepid Company and creative network Intrepid Media and runs the startup social ExitEvent (http://ExitEvent.com). Joe can be reached via Twitter @jproco and read at joeprocopio.com.
Friday, May 13th, 2011
By Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE
The day has come for your big speech or presentation. Perhaps you’re headed to the Digital Summit in Atlanta as a participant next week. You know are an expert in your chosen subject; know your presentation content; what could go wrong? After all, you have your presentation ready. You are feeling confident in your message and delivery. The thoughts of how a positive outcome will propel your career are exhilarating! You are ready to deliver your presentation.
If you ever find yourself invited to speak to a group, perhaps you have overlooked a few final details. These factors could derail your impact and your confidence. To guarantee your success there are still a few final steps to take before you face your audience and thrill your boss, client, colleagues or meeting planner.
1.Check in early: Arrive early to check out the logistics of the room in which you will be speaking. Is there a platform; where is it? Where will you be standing when you are introduced? How many steps for you to reach the lectern or center stage? Is the audience close enough to where you will be speaking to build intimacy? Is the light on you instead of the banner or the lectern if you are not standing behind it? Audience research proves if you put the sound up and the lights down the audience thinks they can’t hear!
2. Make friends with the stage: When the room is empty, walk on the stage and “block” your presentation, or plan where you are going to stand and when you are going to move during your speech. You do not want to distract from your message with unnecessary movement. Go through the outline of your talk. Imagine an enthusiastic response. The more time you spend feeling comfortable on stage the more you can relax and focus on the audience. This is what actors call “making friends with the stage.”
3. Take a clock: Make sure you have a clock you can see from a distance. To keep me on track and on time, I travel with a large kitchen clock that I can see from a distance without having to wear glasses. Very few people know how long they have been speaking. If you are including Q & A, have a dramatic close or the speech has a “must-end-by” time. Scheduling this adds to your professionalism.
4. Microphone: Do you have your preferred microphone: hand-held, lavaliere, or lectern? Practice talking into it; the proper placing is chin level for a handheld. Ask someone to walk around and check that you can be heard from all parts of the room. Make friends with the audio technicians. Make sure you are on time for your microphone check and thank them for their help when you have finished.
5. Audio visual: If you are using a PowerPoint presentation make sure the equipment is working well. Are your PowerPoint slides in the right sequence? Do you have a remote control to change them? This way you can move around and are not chained to your computer. Remember to turn the slide to black when you are not addressing what is on the screen. Is each slide visible from the back of the room or auditorium? Are the talking points presented as a “build” or “reveal?” Remember, your visuals aids are a tool, not a crutch. They are there to support you.
6. Connect with the organizer or emcee: Be clear about who will introduce you, and where you will be during their comments. Will you walk on from the wings or up from the floor? Will you shake hands with him or her, or will they exit once you hit the stage and before the applause dies down. I recommend you nod and mouth “Thank you.” If you are speaking at a banquet, check that you will have a clear path to the microphone without tripping over wires, chairs, or diners.
7. Pre-written introduction: In advance, send your pre-written introduction to the person delivering it. Carry another two with you. Have it written in an 18-point, bulleted list. This is easier to read than paragraphs. Be sure your introducer knows how to pronounce your name correctly. It is a good idea to confirm they have the introduction and are comfortable with what is written. Make sure your introducer knows the introduction is prepared in a certain way to set the tone for your presentation.
8. Be your own warm up act: Connect with as many audience members as possible before you speak. When they see you are extending yourself they will return the favor of giving their attention. That only lasts a few minutes so make sure you grab their attention with a great opening.
9. Learn from the experience: Always follow any presentation with an After Action Analysis. Start with asking yourself what you did well. Next, what could be improved? Always record your presentation and listen to what you said. There are three speeches for every one you deliver. The one you planned to give, the speech you actually delivered, and the improved next presentation based on what you did right, would like to do better, and what can be added from what you learned from the experience.
Any speaking engagement or presentation can be intimidating. Remember, your goal is to present the most valuable information possible to the members of the audience. Keeping focused on the positive impact of the presentation, preparing and paying attention to these details will help you deliver the best speech possible. Delivering a dynamic presentation is not rocket science; however, it is a lot more complex than most people realize.
Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE, is Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach and sales presentation skills trainer and keynote speaker on sales, effective presentation skills and executive communication skills. She works with companies large and small, and individuals from the C-Suite to the work floor. She builds leaders, transforms sales teams and delights audiences. She is the author of “Get What You Want!” and “Make It, So You Don’t Have to Fake It!”, and is Past-President of the National Speakers Association. To learn more about having Patricia do her magic for you, contact her at www.Fripp.com or PFripp@ix.netcom.com.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
By Allan Maurer
ATLANTA – When people need a product or service, they often start their search online. At that moment there is an opportunity to grab a consumer’s attention.
President & CEO, Relevance Advisors
Your goal is to be present when potential customers search, and once they arrive at your website, you want them to take an action – whether that is an online purchase, filling out a lead form, or viewing a video.
“You can send a million visitors to a client’s site and still be fired if they don’t take action,” says Benjamin Rudolph, president, founder and CEO of Relevance Advisors in Atlanta. Relevance offers pay per click, SEO, and Web analytics services.
Rudolph is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, a Yahoo! Search Ambassador, a Microsoft AdExcellence member, a Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO) individual member, and a member of the Web Analytics Association. He is also president and co-founder of the SEMPO Atlanta Working Group.
Prior to founding Relevance Advisors in 2010, he spent four years at Comcast, where he managed the search partnership with Google for Comcast Interactive Media.
Rudolph is one of 50 top Internet mavens, digital media experts, executives and entrepreneurs slated to participate in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 16-17 at Cobb Galleria. He’ll be focusing on developing landing pages to direct post-click activity.
Figuring out post-click behavior
One of the main challenges in search engine marketing, Rudolph says, is too get visitors to Web sites to take a desired action. At Relevance Advisors, he notes, “We help companies figure out that post-click (on the site url) behavior.”
“A company has a lot of control over a destination page,” Rudolph says. “It’s easier to make a change on a Web page than in a retail store, and it lends itself well to testing, such as trying different shopping cart paths.”
That sounds easy enough. But, Rudolph adds, “Navigation can be a big problem for Web sites.” He says that having worked at a large company such as Comcast, he knows that “a lot of constituents” can have a voice, but a lot of voices may mean the site ends up not being consistent with the goals of the visitors it attracts.
He offers the following advice for those who want to increase post-click activity:
“Content should match keyword search terms as closely as possible.” Content that suits the company’s needs may not suit the users, he points out. “Most people decide to stay or leave a site in two seconds. If they don’t see something quickly, they’re gone. We have some clients who spend $20 a keyword, so it can be an expensive departure.”
Scene from TechMedia’s previous event Internet Summit 2010. Benjamin Rudolph of Relevance Advisors is a participant in the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 16-17.
“Test. Show your landing page to someone who never saw it before.” Let them look for two seconds and ask them what they should do next. If they don’t know, try something new, he suggests.
“Check out friction.” Don’t lead with a form of 50 lines. “Forms should be simple and ask for as little information as possible. Include a progress bar.”
“Explain top benefits in a bulleted format. People put too much on a landing page. You can always include links to more information.”
Minimize external links. “People think landing pages are like home pages. They’re not. People arrive because they searched for a specific term. Make the specific intent of the page clear: to buy, to get a lead, click on a link. Don’t try to be all things to all people. That’s a high bounce rate situation.”
Don’t get hung-up on the wrong metrics
Sometimes, he says, a high bounce rate is not the metric you should pay attention to. “If you’re a dentist and your goal is for someone to read, get your number and pick up the phone, de-emphasize the bounce rate.”
He adds, “People can get hung up on the wrong metrics. I had a client who focused on time on the site. If you’re Macy’s, too much time on the site might mean people can’t find what they’re looking for. You have to think about what your goals are first, then how to tie the metrics to the goals.”
His basic, overall advice, however, is to “Build relevant content based on how users interact with your site and come up with a strategy relevant to your audience.”
Join hundreds of Internet executives, interactive marketers, web entrepreneurs and other new media professionals at the Digital Summit scheduled for Atlanta, May 16-17. Get the latest trends and best practices in topic areas such as Social Media, Cloud, Mobile, Internet Entrepreneurship, Search Marketing, Email, Venture Outlook and more while checking out hot new Internet startups in the Demo Showcase. Use VIP code TECHVIEW50 to save $50 off your registration http://www.digitalsummit.com/
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
RALEIGH, NC – Peak 10 Inc., a managed services company with world-class data centers is hosting IPv6 Engineering Series events throughout its 10 markets in order to help business and IT leaders prepare for the impending IPv6 adoption.
In addition to the IPv6 Engineering Series, Peak 10 has released a white paper on the topic and recently sponsored the South Florida Technology Alliance event in which John Curran, the president and CEO of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, spoke about the imminent transfer from IPv4 to IPv6.
“We want to ensure that our customers as well as other businesses in our markets are adequately prepared for the addition of IPv6 to their network, and education is our key initiative. It is important to not only educate IT managers, but everyone in the business about IPv6 as it could affect many aspects of a company,” said Ronnie Frames, the director of network services at Peak 10. “There are many misconceptions surrounding IPv6 and we want to provide clarity and guidance on the subject.”
Both the IPv6 Engineering Series and SFTA events are geared toward identifying the realities of IPv6 and how companies can prepare for its adoption.
Many do not understand adoption is not mandatory
“Many people do not understand that the adoption of IPv6 is not mandatory, however it is the evolution for the continued growth of the Internet,” said Frames. “That being said, it is important that companies proactively budget and plan for an inevitable implementation in their network.”
Peak 10 Network Engineering spent countless lab hours preparing and planning for overlaying IPv6 on their backbone. “We wanted to assure our IPv6 deployment followed standards that technical staffs were already familiar with so that the learning and training aspects were minimized,” said Don Lundquist, senior manager of network engineering at Peak 10. “We integrated IPv6 into our existing network design so that our team easily understood the deployment methodologies for provisioning and operation.”
In addition to hosting and sponsoring IPv6 events, Peak 10 has also released an IPv6 white paper, “A Practical Guide to Preparing for IPv6,” the first of three in an IPv6 series. The paper is designed to walk readers through the reasons behind the IPv6 adoption, and explain the steps that will need to be taken in order to make businesses IPv6-ready. For more information about IPv6 or to read this white paper, click here.
Peak 10’s managed IT and data center services improve performance and reliability, lower costs and maximize internal resources for customers while keeping their valuable information technology assets close to the business. The company combines its secure, private network and enterprise-class data centers with world-class engineering and support to serve market-leading companies nationwide. As a managed services leader, Peak 10 offers a wide range of technology solutions including virtualization, managed hosting, and cloud-based services in a cost-efficient and reliable platform for its customers.
The company owns and operates data centers in 10 markets that include Cincinnati, Ohio; Atlanta, GA.; Raleigh and Charlotte, NC; Tampa, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale, FL.; Nashville, TN.; Louisville, KY.; and Richmond, VA.