Don’t just takeaway, give back

I attend digital marketing and social media workshops, conferences and seminars to learn in order to improve my skill set or expand my knowledge, and my expected takeaway is that I learned in order to achieve my goals.
I just returned from a Facebook marketing workshop hosted by Blitzmetrics. Led by founder and Chief Technology Officer Dennis Yu, the entire program is based on process and checklists. This methodology doesn’t stop with the program. It is also how Dennis trains his team ensuring accountability and results for both the business and clients.
Leading up to the workshop, each attendee has a project list in Basecamp. It is probably the most prep work I have to complete before attending an event. What initially seemed like a daunting check list, I made my way through each task and got all but one complete before arriving in Phoenix.
What is usually a week-long event, we accomplish in three intensive days. And it is impossible to explain the amount of information that we cover. I’m sure I’ll need a couple of days to decompress, and really grasp what I learned. Dennis and his team demonstrate their program works by showing us real time examples, and sharing step by step the how and why.
Dennis Yu kicking things off for the Blitzmetrics workshop.

What was your key takeaway?

As we drove to our the start of our final day this morning, the question was asked, “What is the key takeaway you got from attending this event?” Everyone had a different response. One said it meant validation of what they were already doing. Another said she had renewed motivation for her company.
My key takeaway was a little different. I’ve known Dennis for several years. I have sought Dennis’ counsel and the expertise of the Blitzmetrics team for social media campaign amplification and research and data for marketing presentations. Dennis has been suggesting for a few months that I should consider launching my personal brand. While I have never said “No” to Dennis, I also haven’t jumped into action either.

The kick in the butt I needed

For me the event is the kick in the butt I need to get myself moving forward. When it is all said and done, I believe I’m on the right path to achieve my goal. That goal is to help companies and brands in the automotive aftermarket build their own strong and successful social media program.
The third and final day was the most relevant to me. Isaac Irvine of GoDaddy spoke to us about the making of his “Why” video that we had viewed the day before. The end product was the result of several takes, editing, trimming, voice over and splicing. He talks about recording on the fly when he’s inspired with an idea for great content. As he spoke, I realize that his fears about making videos were the same as mine and others who were in the audience.

Be Willing to Teach

What I really connected with was Dennis Yu’s explanation of the Nine Triangles Framework. This put together everything we had been learning and implementing.
The most noteworthy triangle to me was Learn, Do, Teach (LDT). It isn’t enough to learn how to be a better social media marketer or knowledgeable about personal branding. So often we selfishly keep what we know to ourselves thinking that it is our “advantage.” Instead, it is our responsibility to pass on our knowledge on to others so that they may benefit and will teach others as well.
I was surrounded by amazing people with the same objectives, to learn more.
Beyond the wealth of information that I learned. I found myself surrounded by some of the most amazing people. All of us came from different industries, yet we have the commonality of wanting to know more. And that more was given to us by Dennis and his team. By the way, if Dennis believes in you, he never takes “No” for answer.

Are Marketing Conferences Really Valuable?

Name tags from past conferences.

Marketing conferences come in all shapes and sizes, and take place in great locations like San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. All of them offer you the same benefits more or less. You can network with other digitally like minded people. Rub elbows with “influencers”. Hear success stories from brands you’d either like to work for or model your brand after.

Don’t go to a marketing conference thinking that you can stick to any resemblance of a diet. If you’re not sitting and listening, you’re eating and drinking. The last conference I attended I actually packed some workout clothes. I ended up doing 30 minute tabata programs in my room each morning. My sad attempt to maintain some sort of balance.

One of the best conferences

One of my favorite conferences was Social Fresh East in Tampa, FL. Each attendee was assigned a group on the name tag when they arrived. This was the group that would collectively work on a social media marketing project for a local non-profit. The exercise was a great opportunity for networking and hands on collaboration with an end goal. After submitting pitches on deadline, the non-profit selected a winner.

Is Bigger Really Better?

One of the largest marketing conferences I have ever attended is the Adobe Summit. You can’t really go wrong having an event in Vegas at the end of March. Adobe boasted it was the largest Summit with 10,000 attendees from all over the globe.

Like all conferences, there are good and not-so-good presenters. All of the presenters at the Summit are Adobe clients which makes sense, because who better to champion the vast suite that you offer? The whole event is a high tech produced opportunity to introduce new Adobe products. While the key note speakers had star quality (Abby Womback and George Clooney), neither addressed how digital or social was important (or not) in their careers.

My colleague told me before I registered that I wouldn’t learn anything new at the conference from a digital marketing perspective. But if I wanted to experience a good party with networking opportunities it was the place to be. He wasn’t wrong. But the planning and execution of feeding 10,000 in a Vegas parking lot was truly impressive.

Set your own standards

I’m not saying that marketing conferences aren’t worthwhile, because they are. I believe that five and a half years in, the way I gain value from them has changed.

I select the sessions I attend (if that is an option) because I’m hoping to gain insight into a topic based on the title of the session. Then I attempt to answer these two questions in each one.

  • What are the top three takeaways from each session?
  • Can I relate those points to my work or my brand?

Do you go marketing conferences or any industry event to expand your network or absorb all you can? Is there a happy medium between both?