The other week I got an ad for The Art of Marketing in my email and it seemed pretty interesting! Considering that I’d eventually like to start up a business and the fact that I’m constantly working on projects, trying to promote them to the world, I thought that this would be a very awesome opportunity for me to pursue!
Except that it was $400 per ticket. Quite the deterrent. I love to learn, but now matter how awesome the opportunity, sometimes a price tag can make an opportunity seem all but accessible. So I deleted the email and pretty quickly forgot about it.
So one day later on, I was catching up on my RSS feeds (and by “catching up”, I really mean that I often read the same 5-10 feeds to keep them cleared out and then vow to eventually read the others) and lo and behold, The Cellular Guru was holding a contest to win a free ticket to The Art of Marketing!!!
All I needed to do was write a comment to this blog explaining why I thought I’d be the best candidate to go to the conference. So I wrote this:
“Wow! I was looking at this in my inbox the other day, wishing that I had the $400 to attend! Why would I most benefit from this conference? Well, where do I begin…I’ve been looking to make a change in my life for a while now. I’ve done a lot education- and career-wise that seemed like the “right thing to do”, but was never really within my control.But then one day, I started going to Tweetups. One day I stopped thinking that the ideas I had for products and services were silly, and started thinking on what I could actually do to make them happen.Without a formal education in marketing, I’ve been consuming whatever comes my way — books on branding, Fast Company magazine, ebooks galore on content creation and online marketing. I’ve been improving my skills to make the things I’d like to see a reality rather than constantly wondering “what if?”I saw this conference and it spoke to me — I think it would be a great opportunity to give me the fuel and nourishment needed to keep striding forward to achieve great things! It’s not something that I’ll accomplish overnight, but with every new chance to learn, I feel that I’m getting ever closer to making some awesome products for the world around me :)So that’s why!If I win, I’ll take the day off work. I will argue with my boss to show the merit of why I need to attend. I will tweet. I will embrace and immerse myself in the opportunity. I think this is just what I’ve been looking for.”
I was happy with what I wrote, because I thought it was the best and most honest response I could’ve written. And I won!
So I figured it out with work and what I needed to do over the weekend, and hit up The Art of Marketing! I didn’t know what to expect, since marketing isn’t my field at all, but for a novice like me, the experience was phenomenal. The attendance was in the area of 1,500 people, and the five speakers were informative, engaging and knew their material well. For some people, it may have seemed like a rehashing of concepts they’ve dealt with time and time again, but for me, it was like getting a guided beginner’s tour to a new world altogether!
The speakers covered various areas of marketing:
- Avinash Kaushik: Spoke to how to get more about your site visitors data and use tools to really understand how to improve your site in ways that matter (really funny guy! I recommend his speeches to anyone — he makes studying data FUN)
- Gary Vaynerchuk: Spoke to the shift in marketing to one-to-one interactions rather than aiming for approaches with impacts on as many people as possible (pretty insane dude, but once you warm up to his style, you see the passion and sincerity)
- Jeffrey Hayzlett: Spoke to how to REALLY assess one’s business and whether they’re making the hard, unpopular decisions necessary in order to remain innovative and competitive (highly informative and narrative)
- Dr. Sheena Iyengar: Spoke to the way in which people subconsciously make choices and what can be done to affect certain responses (knows her stuff and THEN some! I will also admit that I didn’t know she was blind prior to seeing her come onstage)
- Guy Kawasaki: Spoke about the 10 rules of how to be enchanting. REALLY great speaker! (No, seriously! He knows how to rock a crowd!)
And I won a signed copy of Dr. Iyengar’s book, so yay there 🙂
They had books from all the speakers, but at cover price – the value bundle of $150 where you saved $60 was still $42 more than Amazon. To those who questioned why some would still buy books from the show when at least 80% of the crowd has access to robust data plans on their smartphones, a friend of mine explained his view of loyalist behaviours to me:
- For some, it’s less about cost and more about immediacy. They can have the books tonight while it’s fresh in their mind.
- For others, it’s part of the event…akin to swinging by a gift/souvenir shop.
- There’s also the social pressure of buying it then around their peers and going through that ritual (and potentially getting it signed/personalized by the speakers).
- Or (and perhaps I’m stretching here) but they could be doing it for the same reason I like to buy albums at concerts: with less middlemen (i.e. Amazon), I assume that the performer gets a bigger cut of the money I’m handing over. At any rate, I’m saving them from hauling it to the next gig!
So there you have it. All sorts at this conference — the skeptics, the obsessed, the novices, those with a deep love for the craft; I had a great time overall. I’d totally recommend experiences like these where you dive into a pool of experts to learn more about things in which you have even the remotest interest, just so you can get a better idea of what’s available to you; what you can learn; how you can apply the skills you have already… the sky really IS the limit!