This morning, The Pulse Network hosted the monthly webisode, The Customer Edge: At Your Service: Winning the Heart of the 21st Century Customer. Throughout
the webisode, guests discussed how organizations have shifted from using social media platforms as a primary means of communication marketing messages to their customers to using social media as an outlet for customer service.
Shortly after the webisode ended, my fellow marketing colleague Kerry Tanner and I headed to our local Stop and Shop to pick up some things for our office. Kerry noticed a block of molding cheese sitting on the shelf. After a few moments of voicing our disgust, Kerry and I both snapped pictures with our smartphones and headed to the deli to turn the molding cheese in to one of the store’s employees. Although he was apologetic, there really was no customer service experience that occurred. Granted, he was not a customer service representative and we were in a rush, but we felt that something more needed to be done. So what did we do? We turned to social media to see where we would get the quickest response.
The webisode’s first guest,
Summer is over and most of America is returning back to the full time grind of working 40 hours a week and with that an abundance of meeting summaries, travel itineraries and maybe a few hours of overtime. On top of the 9-5 tasks, we may need to attend a few conferences and most of them between the months of September – November. Of course we all think “Yes! I don’t have to be in the office, I get to chat with awesome people, go out to dinner, etc.” But we all know once we are back in the office, we will have to report on what we got out of the conference, besides 5lbs of stale pastries from the breakfast buffet.
To help prepare you for conference season, here are 5 Tips to Successfully Attend a Conference:
1. Create a Schedule
A week or two before the conference, look at the speaker list and session schedule. Decide which sessions you want to attend and create an itinerary for yourself so you don’t miss anything really important. Research the people you’d most like to meet and spend time with, and then reach out via email, Twitter or LinkedIn. Set up a 10-15 minute meeting over coffee or a drink. By showing your friendship first, you’ll be in the door ahead of time and you won’t have to scramble to get their attention once at the conference.
2. Research the Attendees
It’s important to know who your fellow attendees will be and what their specializations, business, or expertise is. This includes the people who will be presenting at the conference. Take time to visit the speakers’ websites, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles to learn about them. Researching their companies’ background as well as their professional background will help you spark a conversation worth having. Watch this video on how to approaching influencers for more advice.
Plus, if you are star struck by some of the speakers, knowing a little bit about them (like their first job at a startup) may make the conversation more candid and memorable.
Image Source: ReactionGifs.com
3. Business Cards – Are Everything
If you don’t have business cards, it’s time to get some. At the bare minimum, make sure the cards have your name, email address and phone number, and the name of your company or your occupation. Passing out business cards is an effective way to give out your contact information. Even if the initial conversation did not amount to anything, once they get back to their office you may end up getting a phone call.
More important than bringing your business cards is remembering to collect them. Be in control of who you connect with – collecting cards from the people you most want to stay in touch with. Ask each person you meet for his/her card. There’s nothing worse than having a great conversation with someone only to realize you lost their card and don’t remember their name. When you get a chance, follow up and connect with them on LinkedIn at the very least.
4. Make an Impression
Practice what you’re going to say at home, so you make sure to include all important information. Limit your introduction to around 30 seconds, during which you say your name, who you work for and a bit about your background. Ask people meaningful questions and really hear them out. A good networker is a good listener. Limit your own talking and encourage the other person to talk. Whatever you do, no matter how excited or enamored of this person’s expertise or importance you are, don’t jump to conclusions about what he or she will say next and try to fill it in. And dress to impress. Check out the conference website to get a sense of what you should wear. You should aim to look polished and stylish, and if you have the personality for it, wear a louder accessory (like a bright yellow scarf or bright blue shoes) to make yourself a little more memorable.
5. Continue Networking Afterwards
Networking is critical when it comes to event conferences. But messing up all that good work you did during the event but not following through after? Don’t wait too long after the conference to reach out to people while your conversations are still fresh in your minds. That said, you should wait at least a day before shooting off an email. If you can, send a relevant article to the topic they shared. This will show that you have an avid interest in the topic and that you’re willing to share information with them. If possible, connect the person with other people you know personally or met at the conference. Connecting through LinkedIn and Twitter will help with casual conversations, share information and connections generously, as this will wind up benefiting you later. Check out this video about following up after the conference.
Above all else, when you attend a conference, have concrete goals in mind. If you follow these simple tips, you’ll get more out of each conference you attend. Want to try them out? Register for Boston’s next conference, Inbound Marketing Summit coming this November.
Simply put, cloud computing is the new black. In the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer. Today, cloud computing allows customers to access the same kind of applications through the internet. This means more space on your computers, accessing the most up to date versions and data, and your applications can be run from anywhere!
Imagine this: You are ahead of schedule and arrive onsite to your event early. It would be great to start printing badges and even a few test agendas before your boss gets there. But, the computer with the software is nowhere to be found. However, with cloud solutions, as long as you can connect to the internet, you can access the application as well as data in real time.
So why should you move to the cloud? Because cloud computing increases efficiency, helps improve data flow and offers many more benefits. Here are 3 reasons why you should move to the cloud:
1. It works from anywhere
As long as you have internet access, you can work from anywhere. Customers can see the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, registration for events and webcasts, and the customer interactions anywhere, anytime, anyplace on any device that has internet access.
Bloomberg says some 800,000 laptops are lost each year in airports alone. This can have some serious data implications, as well as just an annoyance, but when everything is stored in the cloud, data can still be accessed no matter what happens to a machine.
3. Automatic software updates
In 2010, companies spent 18 working days per month managing on-site applications alone. But cloud computing suppliers do the server maintenance – including technology improvements and security updates –themselves, pushing all the updates through the cloud-freeing up their customers’ time and resources for other tasks.
Cloud Computing is undoubtedly a growing revolution. However, as with any technology trend, there are risks and rewards which need to be finely balanced. We believe that moving your event registration to the cloud brings unprecedented benefits to organizations and will be the dominant way of managing an event.
Still not convinced? We are hosting a live webcast discussing “10 Reasons Why Cloud Solutions Should Be Your Only Onsite Solution” where we will provide you all the statistics, expert reviews and a QA period where you can learn more about Cloud Solutions. Register Today to learn more!
Founded by CEO Stephen Sheinbaum in 2005, Merchant Cash and Capital is an alternative financial company which focuses on raising money for small to medium sized businesses. While many SMBs have a difficult time fundraising and have limited access to capital, Merchant Cash and Capital takes an alternative approach to funding by working with merchant processors to send interest payments directly to lenders directly from gross revenues, rather than focusing on net income or other metrics.
Watch the video below to learn more about how Stephen Sheinbaum’s Merchant Cash and Capital helps small to medium sized businesses:
As opposed to the traditional financial system, Merchant Cash and Capital doesn’t require any collateral for borrowers. Conventionally, borrowers are required to have valuable assets such as real estate or stock portfolios to put up as a guarantee. Merchant Cash and Capital also expedites the application process for SMBs, with the entire application process only taking a couple of days.
Interested in learning more? Click here to view the entire interview with Stephen Sheinbaum and Stephen Saber.
Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager of Cisco, joins Robert Collins and Richard Caines of The Pulse Network to discuss his 5 Tips in 10 Minutes for Content Marketers looking for creative strategies to implement in their marketing campaigns.
1. Produce a Documentary on a Shoestring Budget
Find an author, speaker, or well known industry speaker who can help tell stories of invention, failure, and what lead to where your industry is now. By telling stories about your industry rather than about your company, it’s much less of a marketing message and will gain more traction on YouTube.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to connect with people, and creating content that is relevant to your audience will help you build an audience that will
2. Insert Fun into a Technical Topic
Invest in having fun and creating something fun – with or without a call to action. Create something fun and entertaining as a gift to your audience for them reading your blog or visiting your website. This type of content does not necessary need to be directly related to a product or service you offer – it could be something as simple as video created by an interesting employee.
3. Create an Edutainment Video
Creating “edutainment” has the same goal as your other content – sharing relevant content and driving leads. If your audience visits your site or your blog and finds relevant content that is also entertaining, people will subscribe. If you build it, they will come.
4. Create a Humorous Video
One of the first humorous videos that Tim was involved with was the “The Art of the Sale”, created by IBM. By being self-deprecating and telling a true story that resonated with the audience, the video has millions of hits on YouTube. Tim recommends that if you are going to create a video like “The Art of the Sale”, rather than pointing back to a product marketing page, you should link your video back to a blog post that relates to the context of the video. Doing so helps you build the audience that you are trying to.
5. Use Locations to Inspire New Ideas for Video
Ask yourself, what would be a great way to visually tell a story? Is there a loose connection to your industry or business? Cisco produced a video at the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut and produced a video about how the aquarium uses the mobile internet to enhance the experience that their visitors have. Storytelling doesn’t always have to be about your product or services, again, just make it about your industry and something relevant.
Tim Washer, the Senior Marketing Manager for Cisco, has a professional background ranging from a role as analyst and sales. He joins Robert Collins and Richard Caines of The Pulse Network to discuss developing creative ways to engage the audience your audience through content marketing.
Being able to measure specific metrics through your content marketing campaigns is crucial for getting buy-in from upper management and continuing to build momentum with your campaigns. Tim Washer of Cisco joins The Pulse Network to discuss important strategies for measuring content marketing success and the specific metrics you need to look at in your campaigns.
- Consumption Metrics: Page views, video views, document views, downloads and social chatter
- Sharing Metrics
- Lead Generations Metrics
- Sales Metrics
- Thought Leadership
- Loyalty Metrics
Sharing- Likes, shares, forwards and downloads email, blog subscriptions, blog comments and your conversion rate
Sales- Track online and offline sales that are influenced by content and content drive communities
Thought Leadership- requests to speak with media or at key events on industry leading issues
Loyalty- Advocates, referrals and words of mouth
Consumption Metrics- How many people viewed, downloaded or listened
- Page views
- Video views
Consumptions is just the first step
Led Gen Metrics
- Have you set up your system when you have the content out there that you are capturing. How people are engaging with you are having them subscribe
- Make sure you put how they came in and what the context was about
- Make sure you are capturing those people and adding them into your CRM system and look back to see if that content made a value point in the company.