My SF Inbound Marketing Summit Takeaways

The San Francisco Inbound Marketing Summit, this past April 28th and 29th was a great learning and refresher experience for me. It featured an intense format with the majority of speakers limited to twenty minutes for their presentation and questions. But, this format also allowed for a wide-ranging spectrum of speakers due to the fast paced, what Chris Brogan referred to as, “ADD-style” format.

This was the first meeting that I tried to dual-task taking notes in a Word document and tweet highlights/memorable quotes at the same time.  I think that I achieved a respectable degree of success with both. Click to see either my #ims09 tweets, all of the #ims09 tweets or my conference notes.  I’m  sure that my notes (and maybe my tweets) are both a bit cryptic and unpolished, so here’s a summary of eight key takeaways along with my best effort at attribution as to the speaker had what I thought was the most salient comment about each item:

  1. Everyone is a publisher on the internet – whether you are  brand or an individual you are known first and foremost by the content that you produce and publish online. Jason Falls put it that content is king because consumers demand engagement, engaging content becomes conversation and websites then become living, breathing things. John Battelle urged that we should “dare” to let our brands create content and conversations, he said that “every marketer is now a publisher, every publisher is now a marketer and every consumer is now both”. Most importantly, we should “work on stuff that matters” according to Tim O’Reilly.
  2. Content should not just reside on your “website”, it should be posted on blogs, forums, review sites or wherever someone may wind up looking for information on a topic that your content covers. 30% on your domain and the rest in other places according to Brian Halligan from Hubspot.
  3. Speak to individuals through personas and segmentation. Don’t expect your content to be all things to all people. David Meerman Scott emphasized personas in his example of hotel websites. He stated that all hotel websites seem to feature products, e.g. pools, restaurants and rooms while, in his opinion, hotel sites should focus on buyer personas and then create content that speaks to those separate personas. In agreement, Darren Guarnaccia said that we all want to be “self-segmented” and that this should be done organically on sites.
  4. It’s objectives that must determine what you monitor online. The “Listening and Monitoring” panel really stressed that in order to monitor effectively, you absolutely must establish what the strategic goal is and then refine your listening tactics accordingly. And Susan Rice-Lincoln summarized this when she said that “Social Media has been long on tactics and short on strategy so far”.
  5. Inbound Marketing offers nearly unlimited potential. Dharmesh Shah opined that “Outbound Marketing was limited by the width of your wallet. Inbound is only limited by the depth of your creativity.”
  6. Web 2.0 is progressing to the Web Squared according to John Battelle. Meaning that the the next step in terms of computing and networking with not be additive but a multiple step forward.
  7. All campaigns must be fully integrated across platforms, on and off-line to be most effective. Chris Brogan also said to “remember the physical world” to be most effective in social media.
  8. Think beyond your brand. Tim O’Reilly stressed that it’s not about your brand or your story, but rather it’s about your community.

These were the things that resonated with me, but in the spirit of sharing and aggregating, here’s a list of other Inbound Marketing Summit San Francisco blog posts:

Please leave me a comment if I missed any posts and a big thanks to all of the speakers, panelists and in particular, the organizers

Check back later this week as I’ll try to translate this for the resort industry; in particular, I’ll be posting ideas on how to implement Inbound Marketing in our segment.

Photo credit: (CC) Brian Solis. (Yeah, I’m the one wearing the white shirt, dead center in the first row)

My Head is Spinning for a Number of Reasons

After two incredibly full days at the Inbound Marketing Summit in San Francisco, I’m back in Park City relaxing on my couch and trying to digest the great information and ideas that were put forward during the conference. Two main points that are currently resonating for me are:

  • Decide first and foremost what it is that you want to accomplish online.
  • Create, and continue to create lots and lots of quality content that relates to what it is that you are trying to accomplish.

I promise to post more about IMS 09 in SF, but I’m pretty wiped out from a very early morning and the need to fully download on everything from the Summit.

It’s been quite interesting getting back to Park City and finding out that our School District officials have canceled school for the next couple of days due to the fact that they think that some kids may have the “Swine Flu.” I  looked in a local paper and saw that a Utah state health official said that our local officials “erred on the side of being cautious, but I don’t fault them for that decision.”This is due to the fact that the three cases here in the Park City area are still listed just as “probable” so until they’re confirmed or not I am planning to keep washing my hands every chance that I get, and keep on doing what i always do otherwise.

And then there’s the news that the largest of the local Park City area property management companies, Deer Valley Lodging, is being forced into chapter 7 bankruptcy. This coincides with a separate announcement that Deer Valley Resort will officially announce that are putting together their own property management division. Interesting news,  and in my book good news, because many great people should be able to (hopefully) transition from DVL to DVR without the uncertainty that has been hanging over their heads as Deer Valley Lodging has stumbled deeper and deeper into the mire over the past several weeks.

Just a few exciting things around here then,  anything interesting going on in your neck of the woods?!

Photo credit: littledan77

Best concert of the year

Ok, I don’t get out to see many concerts anymore. Having  2 year old in the house definitely crips the style a bit in terms of nightlight. But, this past Saturday night, my wife and I left little K with a babysitter and headed down to Salt Lake City for a ‘date night’. This date was to go to a concert that we had bought tickets to, well actually my wife bought the tickets while I was out powder cat skiing, with the feeling that the show would sell out. And sell out it did, as The State Room has a limit of just 300 tickets per show, and Brandi Carlile is an artist that could fill venues much larger than that.

Neither of us had been to The State Room before and the venue quickly impressed us as extremely well run as well as a fantastic space for live music. However, that was nothing compared to the show that Brandi Carlile put on for the few hundred people that spent their Saturday evening enjoying her and her band.

If you haven’t hear of Brandi Carlile, please take a peak atthe clip below (from the show we were at) – I’d say that she’s a bit of Patsy Cline mixed up with a dash of Tori Amos, Elton John, some Indigo Girls and a touch of Johny Cash, take a gander and enjoy:

Thanks for the great night Ms Carlile, my wife and I are aleady looking forward to your next trip to the beehive state!

Inbound Marketing Summit

I’m excited to be heading to San Francisco next week for the Inbound Marketing Summit taking place on April 28-29. Inbound Marketing is an interesting change, because unlike traditional marketing, which focuses on finding customers and pushing messages to them, Inbound Marketing focuses on ways to be found by the customers.

If you haven’t already, you need to pay attention to Inbound Marketing because traditional marketing isn’t working the way it used to:

  • We DVR our favorite TV programs and skip the ads
  • We have SPAM filters that block unsolicited bulk emails
  • Telemarketing has been crippled by do not call lists
  • Newspapers and magazines are going out of business by the day

The answer isn’t finding a another way to push your message, it’s changing how you reach your customers. The way to do this then, is to help your customers find you online through Inbound Marketing. The heart of any Inbound Marketing effort is to create high quality content. This content can reside on a website, a blog or any other sort of media including video, photography or audio. The next step is to ensure this content is findable via Search Engine Optimization techniques so that your content appears organically in searches – which is still how most people find products online. Finally it’s a natural step to use the wide variety of social media tools to provide additional support and context to your SEO efforts. By the way, if my description of Inbound Marketing isn’t completely clear to you, check out this great post by Rick Burnes on the Hubspot blog for a more comprehensive explanation.

So hopefully you can see why I’m excited to see where the great slate of speakers at the Inbound Marketing Summit think that Inbound Marketing is going in the coming months and I’ll be sure to put together a post or two to sum up what I hear.

Photo Credit: psd

Helmets – To Wear or Not to Wear

E/K/k on liftSince the tragic skiing accident that killed Natasha Richardson a month ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about helmet usage while skiing and riding and I’ve finally gotten around to posting after I saw this press release from Vail Resorts. VR have announced that effective next season, “…the Company will require all employees to wear helmets when skiing or riding on the job at each of its five mountain resorts…”. They also will require helmet use for children under 12 in any lesson and any rental package – wow!

I personally wear  helmet whenever I ski (as do my wife and daughter), but I am still leery about mandating safety equipment use such as helmets. I didn’t wear a helmet on the slopes until perhaps five years ago and I do think that it’s a personal choice that each person needs to make on their own. As a side note, I’ve seen only a few of our pro-patrollers wearing helmets, even though they are the people that most frequently see the consequences of not wearing a helmet.

As VR is a company a not a governmental entity, I think that their choice to require employee helmet use is a very good stance from a safety standpoint and I do applaud it;  however, in light of the fact that their resorts are located on federal land – any thoughts about how federal labor laws may apply in this decision?

One more week!

The good word came down this afternoon – we are extending our winter season at Park City Mountain Resort for one more week – now closing on April 19, instead of three days from now, on April 12! It’s kind of odd because I feel at once happy to get the opportunity for another week of local, lift-served skiing, but also a bit bummed, in that I’ve already lined up everything I needed to do for the end of the season and even had a good chunk of my check-list already complete.

I think it’s for the best, because I took the above photo just over a week ago in some of the sweetest conditions of the year (nice turns RD). And, it just doesn’t seem right to be closing after getting about eight feet of new snow in the past two weeks.

So, if you’re lucky enough to be in Park City and up on the mountain during our extra week next week, please say a “thanks” to the person bumping your chair, or checking your ticket because although I know they’re happy to be working an extra week, they were also planning on doing something completely different just a few hours ago!

Little K’s First Turns at the Resort

Today was a busy day, we had a photo shoot at the resort that ran from 9 until 4, but most importantly I got to make some turns with my 25 month old daughter! I’ve been waiting all winter to ski with Little K, but we wanted to wait until she turned two before putting her on skis. We’ve had her around the back yard on her skis several times now, but finally had nice enough weather to take her to the resort today.

My wife called when she and Little K got to the mountain, and I zipped down to meet them and experience the first runs and lift ride. It’s almost an indescribably cool feeling to see your child smiling and enjoying their first time on a mountain, but it’s certainly a feeling that I’m looking forward to more in the years to come!

I’m hoping that we can get Little K skiing without using a harness and or edgie wedgie as I’ve heard that they can be a bit of a crutch for kids once they get used to them. Any personal opinions on these tools, positive or negative are apprecited!