I attended the WITI Summit earlier this week, recapping the keynotes on the first day. On the second day, I attended three panel sessions on the Applied Cloud, New Opportunities in the Mobile Market, and Social Media Business Solutions. Below is my summary of these sessions:
Applied Cloud Panel Discussion
The panel discussion highlighted the benefits of cloud applications in terms of cost efficiencies, speed to implementation, scalability, and flexibility. Vanessa Alvarez, analyst with Frost & Sullivan, indicated that a hybrid approach (on-premise and cloud) may emerge which may ease issues with integration across multiple vendors and data.
While the benefits of cloud applications was discussed, the issue of data integration was present. According to R. Ray Wong, analyst with the Altimeter Group: ” Integration is very hard. Going backwards to best of breed … People are going out to procure apps themselves. Integration has to come back to have same reports. Everything is coming back as have to have a good data architecture and how the business processes get tied back for reporting. Then can talk about data integration.”
In the end, the possibility of SaaS suites will emerge.
Mobile is becoming an integral part of our lives. The panel clarified that there are six types of mobile applications: 1. Communications, 2. Games, 3. Multimedia, 4. Productivity (email, calendaring, etc.), 5. Travel, and 6. Utilities (address book, task manager, etc.).
Considering that the US has double the number of smartphones than China, which is second worldwide, there is ample opportunity for marketers to leverage mobile. The key takeaway was to provide your audience with useful applications that address their needs. For example, applications for new mothers would be an interesting opportunity for Johnson & Johnson or other company targeting new moms.
Social Media Business Solutions
The panel consisted of representatives from Meebo, Paypal, and IBM. For me, I found how Paypal and IBM leveraged social business very interesting:
Paypal Leverages Social for Community Forum and Customer Service
Paypal is leveraging social media as part of the service’s web self-service. The goal is to provide a long-term community to better understand the needs of their audience. For Paypal, the value is understanding the cost of product development and launch. With web analytics, they are also able to track customers and determine the path for communications help.
IBM Connects with Partners with Virtual Event
For IBM, they built a robust virtual event to learn from partners and provide them the information they need from IBM. 5,000 partners attended the virtual event live with 2,500 accessing the archive. IBM’s goal was not to replace its physical event with virtual. Rather, they can be selective with face-to-face events, using virtual to supplement the face-to-face.
In terms of value, they reviewed the analytics to measure against their objectives, such as engagement, did the conversations continue beyond the event, or was the conversation at a deeper level.
The WITI Summit was held this past week in San Jose. Founded to help women advance in technology, the first day of the summit had some powerful keynotes. I was able to catch presentations by Sally Jenkins, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Symantec; Sandy Carter, VP, Software Business Software, IBM; and (my favorite!), Dr. Ruth Westheimer.
I have summarized the presentations by Sally and Sandy below. And while I would like to summarize Dr. Ruth’s presentation, much of her content was very specific and not appropriate for the blog, if you know what I mean =) It was a great honor to hear her speak, as well as to meet her personally. I will post summaries of some key sessions tomorrow.
Brand Transformation – Sally Jenkins
Sally described the process that Symantec have been undergoing over the past 3 years to rebrand and reposition Norton. She highlighted key questions to consider:
1. What does the data say?
2. What is the buzz in the market about your brand and competitors?
3. Are you listening to your customers?
4. Can you wait any longer to change?
5. Are you listening to your gut?
For Norton, they looked at what story they had to tell to create buzz within the category. They decided to have a purpose which highlighted what they stood for and would lend itself to a dialogue. The story was about fighting cybercrime. The methodology included:
- edutainment for engagement and to communicate the stats
- the media strategy was focused online
- and developed a physical exhibit that discussed the “black market” of identify theft to educate the masses
They implemented this through their channels and with one voice internationally. Internally, they wanted their employees to live and breathe the brand of fighting cybercrime:
- held seminars
- created brand story book for every employee
- gave employees new mission – fight cybercrime, not sell software.
- rethink role for each job- main competitor is cybercriminal
- Customers now stay with Norton for an average of 4 yrs
- 47 percent share of voice
- Winning on all channels
- Turned Norton haters into advocates
- Multiple product awards
Social Media Ecosystem – Sandy Carter
Sandy discussed how the ecosystem around your company is very powerful. Previously, it was about one-way marketing and now it’s more open. In fact, she quoted one study which stated that 80 percent of CEOs will go outside of the company for recommendations about services and the brand.
With this in mind, Sandy highlighted the ANGELS framework:
- Nail the story and strategy
- Go to market
- Energize communications
- Leads and revenue
- Scream – breakthrough the noise
For example, IBM leveraged a game to energize partners and students before placing it online. This online game is now the number 1 lead generation tactic, moving the game from edutainment to lead generation.
The early part of my career was focused on securing speaking opportunities for my clients. In the beginning, speakingopportunities was considered the step child of PR – something you had to include in the program but activity was (and to some degree is) relegated to the end of the month when you had to show progress to the client.
What I’ve learned is that speaking opps must be framed in the larger context of how can speaking and PR enhance a client’s presence at the conference or tradeshow. And from a marketing perspective, drive quality sales prospects to the booth.
There are many ways that PR can bring value to conference or tradeshow. Here are my Five Ways that PR Enhances Events:
1. Leverage partners: If your client isn’t participating at a tradeshow or conference, determine if a partner will be at the show. If so, consider approaching the partner about joint PR or maybe get access to the media list. The key is developing a pitch that benefits both you and the partner.
2. Sponsorship Package: Consider was level sponsorship your client has at a conference. Oftentimes a sponsor can negotiate access to the attendee list for pre or post show marketing. This can either be in email or direct mail campaigns. For start-ups and companies with smaller marketing departments, there is an opportunity for you to assist with copy writing or provide counsel on the type of information to share with this audience. Something valuable, such as a case study, white paper or webcast that will drive prospects to register for this information.
3. Value of tchokes tchotchke: As quality of sales prospects is key, you have to weigh the value of giving out tchokes tchotchke. As you’re giving something away, you’ll attract people who are interested in the freebie vs being truly interested in your tech or service. However if you’re giving something that is related to your company’s products and services, such as a free trial, consulting time or other valuable information, you’ll attract quality people. Update: Thanks to reader for the correct spelling of “tchotchke.”
4. Speaking Opportunities: Speaking opps are great for driving awareness and positioning your speaker as an industry expert at a show, especially if you have no booth. This requires dedication and working with the conference organizer over a period of several months. It’s key to provie a session that is objective and contains valuable information.
5. Rethink the press kit: For a small company, the press kit may double as the “sales kit.” As many attendees now carry usb or flash drives, reconsider putting together heavy kits. Maybe consider using Moo to create an unusual business that limks to an online press kit. You can include unique logins and passwords for each of your media meetings or just the URL with minimal copy to show attendees. For media, you track activity on the back end while having registration for show attendees to capture prospect information.
One book I’ll recommend was written by Allison Saget, who I worked with on a previous client. She wrote a book titled The Event Marketing Handbook that quotes my former boss and myself. Check it out to get a better sense of the value of tradeshows and conferences.
Let me know what you think and if you have any additional tips.
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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