A Live Report From the Marketing Conference

Excitement Over Miami. Marketing Conference Delivers!

Here’s what’s so great with being at a SIPA Conference in person. During his insightful keynote—where he pledged that you should not be pressured by social media: “find the one [social media] that works for you and embrace it”—SiteLogic’s Matt Bailey gave the example of Minyanville, a publisher-plus in New York. In short, they went into Google Trends one day, saw an item in their field that was trending high, wrote a quick article on it and put it right up on their site. Within two hours, Minyanville was coming up as one of the first couple links on that subject on Google searches and drawing incredible traffic.

Two hours later, I’m sitting in the bustling Roundtable session with Annie Stickney from Minyanville. During the first half, her table was full, as she answered some lingering questions from her advertising session earlier in the day. But now, I was just one of two people as she explained further Bailey’s example from the morning—giving here’s-what-you-do details of her shrewd play.

Hear a great idea, talk to the idea owner about it. And then do it again. Does it get any better that that?

A whole bunch of sharp and sharing SIPA members have converged on South Beach in Miami this week to basically talk shop. After just a day and a half—pre-conference workshops on Wednesday set the usual information-sharing tone—a couple themes have clearly risen to the exciting surface:

1. Find out—test!—what works best for you. Everyone’s audience is different.
2. There is almost no such thing as too much correspondence—if it is part of a well thought-out, relationship-building process with your customers.
3. But….at the same time, they should be aware that you are on top of things—so the emails they get make sense and acknowledge their latest actions. (Oh, and use that extra white space in your “Thanks for renewing or buying” message.)

The always-popular Bailey set everyone’s idea wheels in motion yesterday morning in a session titled How Not to Waste Your Time on Social Media. His firm message was don’t lose sleep over trying to do everything well. “Pick one thing—be it Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook—and do an excellent job with it. Then the others can just support those efforts.”

He strongly recommends blogs and forums right now because they are active and changing—they’re two of the most powerful tools to bring people to your site, Bailey said. “Blogs are like websites on steroids. And they are really open to [Google] searches. Websites don’t change . They’re like the couch potato, while blogs exercise every day.”

Bailey gave three key steps to social media marketing.
1 .Find your message that you want to convey;
2. Develop an identity – find the best medium for that message;
3. Build interaction and support; entertain. Give people reasons to engage with you. What’s in it for me?

“Your purpose is to build fans,” Bailey said. “Recruit, find your fans and reward them. Find out what they love and give it to them. Because your message does much better when someone else is delivering it.”

What also stood out immediately about this conference is a willingness from SIPA to itself move forward with the times. An early session on benchmarks and metrics showed that people are very hungry for those kinds of things. And an innovative post-lunch session called IdeaSlam proved an instant hit as 12 teams were given real-life problems to solve. That slot, usually a little low-key after lunch, became the most interactive and exchange-happy of the day.

A strong half day concludes the conference today with sessions on Maximizing Your ROE, Creative Ways to Maximize Your Direct Mail, Kindles, iPads and iPhones – Marketing to Mobile Devices, Paid Content Websites and the traditional Best of the Best. Stay tuned for more great information! And put June 5-7 on your calendar now for SIPA’s International Conference in Washington, D.C.

Audio tapes of this Conference will be available for purchase. We’ll have that information next week.

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