Have you ever experienced an event disaster?

Sunday, June 29, 2014 Posted by

Event DisasterYou know those events when it’s really a case of Murphy’s Law? Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. It’s a total event disaster.

Recently I had my first. I’ve had some major mess ups during events, all the allocated seating mixed up for a very high profile speaker comes to mind. But none where nothing went smoothly. Really, I mean nothing.

Let’s look at what I learned.

The Do’s of an Event Disaster

  • Do order swag, etc at least two weeks in advance. It was only a three hour drive away, but eight days wasn’t enough for USPS express delivery.
  • Do promote the bleep out of the event. I was a little timid directly inviting my AMA colleagues and former workmates. Next time I won’t be.
  • Do reschedule if Hillary Clinton and the North West Internet Advertising Group announce last minute events that clash. The NWIAG gets a couple of hundred marketers with the lure of free alcohol. It’s not a model I like, but it’s very popular in Seattle. OK, so the chance of this happening again is nearly 0%, but I’m not risking it.
  • Do check out the venue at the time you want to run the event. I’ve attended events on Tuesday nights there. Wednesday is trivia competition night and the audio is piped ALL through the venue.
  • Do tour EVERY room the venue has. We checked most, but were allocated a different one. It was next to the entrance – great – there was no barrier/door – not so great.
  • Do have a great draw. This was an easy networking happy hour, so we weren’t offering anything to counter the competition.

The Don’ts of an Event Disaster

  • Don’t assume that if someone registers they will attend. Generally most will, but especially with free events, if they get a better offer, you won’t see them. See: NWIAG.
  • Don’t assume a part description on Amazon is correct. Or maybe do order the VGA adaptor for your laptop early, so you can get a replacement if it doesn’t fit.
  • Don’t assume that because the venue has built in AV that they know how to use it, or the cables are long enough. It was only a promo loop, but we couldn’t use it.

It would be hard for another event to bomb as heavily as this one did, but please learn from my “experience”. It’s not fun to have an event disaster.

Note: you’ve probably assumed this photo is not from “that” event. It’s from a PSAMA Speed Networking event, that was not a disaster.

Book Review: Understanding Digital Marketing

Thursday, June 26, 2014 Posted by

Understanding-Digital-MarketingWhen I started Understanding Digital Marketing by Damien Ryan I thought it was a text book. It has 399 pages and multiple editions. The Kindle edition was 15% in before I realized it’s a very long business book.

What makes Understanding Digital Marketing so long? It’s detailed and includes all digital marketing tools. I was surprised, but impressed by podcasts’ inclusion. This is definitely a book to teach you a lot. I was recommending it (with a caveat) before I was half-done reading it.

Who is Understanding Digital Marketing For?

In each review I decide to add structure to the flow, but then the book takes over. Once again, “Who’s it for” jumps to the start.
This a relatively junior book. It’s very tactical and even covers theories and models such as the 4Ps and a BCG grid. Both things I learned in my first semester of marketing at college. However, the information for a couple of tactics is out of date. I’ll touch on it more in the “not so good”, but … and I’m struggling here … it does need some knowledge to understand what’s current, inferring a mid-level marketer, or with at least a year or two of digital marketing experience.

The Good

The chapter on content. Really, I noted it twice. It’s practical, realistic, and includes a lot of mentions of engagement. The book is worth it for this chapter alone.
I also loved the detail. Sure, a marketer doesn’t really need to know the different web server options, but having an overview makes it easier talking with engineers. And marketers will be talking with engineers.

The case studies are also excellent. They are recent, and global.

The Not So Good

SEO. Really, that entire chapter is that bad. I don’t know Damien’s background, but whomever advised on that chapter is not an SEO expert. There have been two major Google algorithm updates in the last 18 months, and with the case studies being so recent, there’s no excuse for this chapter being at least two years old.

There are occasional other parts that are out-of-date too, thus the caveat. I recall hearing of videos in email as a hot topic last November, but it’s a no-no here.

Overall, this is a very useful book, and one I recommend as a starting point to digital marketing tools.

Dumb Ways to Die – Metro Sells Out

Friday, June 13, 2014 Posted by

Dumb Ways to Die KidneyPicture this. You develop an incredibly successful PSA campaign for a client. Then two years later the client sells the creative to a company in a different industry overseas.

It would never happen.

I’m sure that’s what McCann was thinking until last night, Seattle time.

Metro Trains, the client for Dumb Ways to Die has sold the creative to a Canadian life insurance company. The catch phrase is now ” A dumb way to die is without life insurance”.

I’m sure you’re cursing this as much as I am. It’s a nasty, unethical cash grab.

One thing I had to remind myself was that Metro Trains is a private management company. They’re contracted by the Victorian government in Australia to run their metropolitan train network. Yes, Metro Trains is a for-profit company. Therefore, are we expecting too much for them to┬ápass up the opportunity to make money off a PSA that has topped iTunes charts internationally, won a record number of Gold Lion awards, and launch a few successful mobile game? Oh, and meet its original goal of reducing incidents around trains.

We probably are. After all, Metro Trains exists to make money. Dumb Ways to Die gave them that opportunity.

What will be the result of the Dumb Ways to Die Sell Out?

At the very least agency/client contracts will gain an additional clause prohibiting any on-selling of the work. I’m not privy to McCann’s contract with Metro Trains, but knowing Metro Trains, the sale will be legal. I can also see agencies being less eager to push creativity if their work will be onsold and butchered. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that last count.

I kind of prefer if Metro Trains did sell their kidneys on the internet.

 

 

 

Are you ready for #HootUpSEA?

Sunday, June 1, 2014 Posted by

#HootUpSEAWhat do HUG, MUG and #HootUpSEA have in common?

They’re all user groups.

What’s this? You haven’t heard of #HootUpSEA? That’s because it’s new. The Seattle HootSuite users and friends are having their first user event, or as well call it, #HootUp. It’s also my first public activity as a HootSuite Ambassador for North America.

Join us on Wednesday June 18 at Fado’s Irish pub in Pioneer Square for Happy Hour. There will be marketers and social media people, along with others, sharing tips and ideas over a drink. And, it’s a #HootUp so I can promise you swag. We also don’t discriminate. If you don’t use HootSuite, we’d still love to meet you.

Space is limited, so please RSVP quickly. It’s free.

See you there and keep hooting.

PS, special thanks to fellow #HootAmb Kim Castlemain for the photo.

Book Review: The Social Media Gospel

Sunday, May 25, 2014 Posted by

Social Media GospelAre you one of the few who still doesn’t “get” social media? Meredith Gould’s book, The Social Media Gospel will help you understand why it’s important, and gives you some tips to get started for your Church.

Meredith is a professional communicator, predominantly advising Churches and clergy on digital communications – including social media. She’s very open with her begrudging start to social media, and this is definitely a strength for The Social Media Gospel. The fact that she’s not a digital native does show all through the book. I don’t think it’s intentional. For me it’s off-putting but it will appeal to her target audience.

What’s the Social Media Gospel about? It’s a book to help you be a better digital communicator for your church. Meredith describes all the arguments churches present against using social media as a comms tool, and counters them, fairly and well-researched. She will help you understand the behaviors behind the choices, and I especially love the chapter on different learning styles and which social media platforms relate to each. Meredith doesn’t really touch on the how of social media, but is thorough on the why – sometimes when she’s trying to explain the how. It’s a good starter, to then get you looking more at the specific techniques for each platform.

There are two changes I would make to this book. One is a major one, the other a personal irritation. The major one is that the Social Media Gospel doesn’t explain that communications is all about your audience. Meridith is right with saying that you should pick and choose which social media platforms according to your time and resources; not take it all on. What she missed though is getting the reader to examine where their audience is playing. The communicator may feel more comfortable on Pinterest, but if their audience isn’t there, it’s wasted time. The second is the cheesy inclusion of scripture and praise messages. It feels a little over-the-top and unnecessary. But then again, maybe I should have expected it from a social media book with gospel in the title. Exodus 20:3-4 comes to mind. Is this book really a gospel?

Who is The Social Media Gospel for?

Clergy who are uncomfortable with social media and digital communication techniques. There are terms that make the book appear older than its 2013 publication date: web 1.0 (and subsequent generations), and age-based demographics, as well as the term digital native. It works well for the audience. Meredith originally shunned computers for anything more than word processing, and the readers who’ll get the most of out The Social Media Gospel likely did the same.

Thanks to Kerry Allman of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia for the loan of the Social Media Gospel.