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  • I'm a creator, entrepreneur, author of DREAM YEAR, and aspiring novelist. My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our five kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie & Millie

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Awesome. So Ben what would be your one piece of advice to a group of women launching their first baby aka conference ?

A bit ago, Scott Belsky tweeted "PR is the price one pays for not sharing ideas, engaging others, and listening along the way." Had it stuck in my head and now you throw this out there. Not something your marketing communications person really wants to hear, but agreed - if at the end of the day marketing is about influence, then engaging people with your actual great thing is going to have more influence than a campaign. A cool campaign is just a cool campaign. But, I've got a question for you - where do you draw the line between "raising awareness" and marketing?
And now...back to my marketing job.

Cyndi, start by making it exceptional for a smaller number of people

Shanti, there is a progression of great brands where eventually they essentially do "anti-marketing." For eg, I never received a mailer for Belsky's 99% Conf and they limited seating, which are tactics to ess become unavailable... I sought them out.

You're doing ok when others seek u out

You are exactly right. I think a great example of this is Gungor band new album.
Its brilliant, and they let the brilliance of the album market itself. I cannot stop talking about that thing to everyone I know.
Same with the Story conference. I have had at least ten people tell me about it and why I need to go. Free marketing FTW

Hi Ben,


what a great post (and a bit Piper-esque!) I'd love to hear your thoughts on how beauty relates to marketing. My observation is that you make your event promos visually stunning, thus lowering your need to "push." Anyway, it would be an interesting blog post, I think.

kyle i've got the gungor album spinning now. right on

i would say piper+godin steve =) i look at the promo materials as a way to "begin the experience" - so agreed.

Ahem ... I'm going to have to push back here, Ben.

Marketing certainly CAN exist to help create a market and sell poor/mediocre products or services, but it can also do the same for very good offerings.

Like the upcoming STORY Chicago, for example, which is going to be an unforgettable offering! While I wasn't yet a regular reader of your blog last year, I have been following with great interest your efforts to promote the 2010 STORY event. And you're doing plenty of marketing.

* Blog posts here with announcements, teases, photos =marketing
* Dedicated Facebook Page and Twitter account = marketing
* Dedicated website for the event = marketing
* Sending out promotional kits = marketing
* Reaching out to bloggers and asking them to help promote = marketing.
* ... all designed to generate word-of-mouth marketing, the best kind of marketing there is!

ALL of this is marketing, Ben. It's good marketing for a good event, and I'm thrilled to see that it's working!

Yes, outstanding content is key, but good marketing goes a long way, too.

"Marketing" can be a widely defined term based on the actions taken to create awareness and influence. What works for one thing doesn't for another.

I think the premise of this post is spot on. If we create things of value then the value begins to sell (market or promote) itself.

Like you mentioned, "this years event is next years marketing," you first need people to actually attend this year in order for it to be marketing for next year. Getting them there initially is where marketing is needed. Each year it builds (if the event is good) and then takes on a life and identity of its own.

On another note, great content or offerings alone won't accomplish much if no one becomes aware of it. Like a book. I know many GREAT books that never took off. Why? Their marketing stunk and they never reached enough mass for the readership to become critical. Good marketing primes the engine.

Marketing doesn't have to be cheesy. It doesn't have to be selling out. It just needs to be smart and effective based on whatever the goal is to achieve.

tell it, Ben!

Dang Ben, you're starting to get "Seth Godin smart"!!!

Jay Brock

I'm an alumnus of Story, and I've convinced two others to join me for this year's event. However, I would not be coming, and neither would they, if this year's event was not going to be drastically different (speakers, schedule, focus) than last year's. And the only way I knew that was because of marketing - this website and the event website, and the subsequent mail cards.

I desired something very different, and you had to win me by marketing it to me anew.

You're assuming that I'm saying I embody everything I write

i don't.

i don't think STORY is great... yet. It will be. Give it a few more years. But until then, I have to market it.

I'm writing this because it's my goal.

does that make sense?

I've got to admit that stung a little bit

Ben, I think only having 140 tickets left for STORY should take the sting out a little. :) Every year being better than the last.

Thanks Ben. Great advice. I actually think that is one of our goals(the starting out small and the exceptional part). :)

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