Last week I spent three days at the Internet Summit conference in Raleigh Convention center. For $200 or so early bird registration fee, this is the best $200 spent on continuing education you can get! The quality of presenters, panelist and keynote speakers is extraordinary as they all have the common one thing: they share freely and openly the knowledge about industry trends and best practices.
Three day long conference started off with Startup Summit where local Internet and digital media startups had an opportunity to showcase their companies. As a startup consultant, I pride myself in being knowledgeable about Triangle startup ecosystem, but I was surprised to see a number of companies completely new to me! They are mostly companies that are bootstrapping themselves. Because of that, they typically don’t socialize with people associated with local entrepreneurial organizations and accelerators. I find this encouraging because these new companies are focusing all their time and energy on product development and client acquisition, not on chasing prominent angel investors and local journalists covering the tech scene.
The main conference started off with a phenomenal keynote by Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-founder VaynerMedia, a successful entrepreneur with a talent for marketing that takes advantage of the latest technological and social developments.
“Marketers ruin everything”
is his favorite quote. Once a methodology or practice surpasses early adopters stage, marketers swamp the market and make this method useless for everyone else. For example, email open rate in 1996 was over 88% and now it’s about 9%, and going down fast to about 4% with Google Promotion tab hiding a lot of messages from the main Inbox. This trend makes really hard for all of us to stand out from the crowd and one way of doing that is with superior and customized customer experience. Hence, the rest of the conference was filled with panels sharing their wisdom on how to use content marketing, customer engagement and new social media channels to stand out from the crowd.
There were well over 2,000 people in attendance and it seams that every company in Carolinas that has at least one marketing person on their payroll was there. That means that small businesses, the Main Street businesses have a tremendous interest in digital marketing, but that doesn’t mean that they have human capital to execute new marketing strategies. Regardless, it’s good for them to be at the conference in order to keep abreast of the new trends in marketing tactics and strategies.
Finally, the keynote lunch speak by actor and stand up comedian Kevin Pollak is hard to beat! He’s incredibly funny, talented and business savvy. His advice to all creative people (actors, artists) is that they need to create artistic content and share it instead of waiting on the phone call from their agent to do the work. Internet makes content distribution easy, and number of followers on social media networks speaks to your talent and popularity. With a strong social media following, a big shot media producer will notice you and give you a call; no agents are necessary.
I look forward to next year conference!
Dragana Mendel, a management consultant for startups, small and medium size businesses develops and executes growth strategies for her clients.