I have been extremely busy over the summer and have been on a “blog sabbatical” so to speak. Now I am inspired to write on a number of different topics and here is the first-my review of Marketing Profs Digital Marketing World Virtual Conference.
Last week I attended this virtual conference which was included as part of my Pro membership. The webcasting platform used was On24.
I found the virtual conference concept to be pretty cool, with so much more to offer than a traditional webcast. It was truly designed to look and feel like a trade show. After logging in, there was a brief welcome video explaining the concept of the virtual conference. One option included an exhibit hall where you could visit vendor “booths”. At these “booths” you could find out more about the vendor, check out their resources, documents and videos, have a booth chat and get in touch with a representative. There were 8 vendors in the exhibit hall who were obviously sponsors of the virtual conference. I will comment more on that later.
As well, there was an “auditorium” where you could view “presentations”. There were 3 scheduled for the day. I only attended one of them which was entitled “The Challenges of Overcoming Social Media Metrics” , put on by Radian6. I see now after the fact that the webinar received a viewer rating of 2.5 out of 5 and I strongly agree with this assessment.In my view the webinar was very commercial and Radian6 was far too obvious in its quest to sell its product. As a result, I was unimpressed with the content and decided not to attend the other seminars that day. I see now that the other two presentations received 4-star ratings so they may have been more relevant.
Before leaving the conference I went into the “Resource Center” and downloaded several whitepapers and articles. I have not had the opportunity to review these materials yet so cannot comment on the quality. However, I would like to note that the majority of the documentation was placed there by sponsors. Marketing Profs, who has a significant and impressive archive of relevant educational materials had relatively little available in the resource center. And what they did have there was often a link to reports that were “for sale” instead of “free information.” Perhaps this is because they feel that their members have access to their materials ongoing? I still feel that they should have included more relevant materials on the conference topic.
There was also a “Networking Lounge” that I did not have the time to go into. I peeked today and quickly reviewed some of the chat comments. Those who participated in the chat seemed to be fairly complimentary about the conference. Although, it does not appear that there were a great number of participants.
Here is my opinion for what it’s worth. I think the technology behind and the structure of the virtual conference is amazing. I love the different elements and educational options. However, I feel that the content (from what I saw) and feel of this conference was “too commercial”. The sponsors were front and center instead of the content. My experience with Content Marketing has taught me that you need to provide your audience with relevant information of interest to them; content that is so interesting in itself that viewers/readers are compelled to find out more. The secret to successful inbound marketing.
Finally, I think Marketing Profs as a legitimate educational resource for the marketing community, needs to pay attention to this if they are going to succeed with the virtual conference concept. A better balance is needed. I know sponsors are a major revenue source but Marketing Profs needs to be mindful of their mission ” to deliver the best thinking across a wide spectrum”. Their conferences should also include contributions from academics, consultants and other experts in addition to their sponsors in order to achieve a more well-rounded educational experience.
if anyone else reading this post attended the conference, please let me know your thoughts.