I spent Wednesday morning with Seth Godin at The Art of Marketing conference which was held at Vancouver’s The Center. This one-day conference is built on the success of their sold-out national tour and featured six internationally best selling authors and thought leaders, who shared an exciting blend of cutting edge thinking, best case practices and real experience on today’s most critical marketing issues.
The conference which was held on March 19 2014, coincided with the 30th anniversary and the inaugural Vancouver TED conference at the Vancouver Convention Center. This may be the reason why The Art Of Marketing was held at a venue which is arguably inappropriate for the volume of attendees but it may also be a contributing factor to the calibre of speakers such as Seth Godin and Mitch Joel. I loved the content of the conference but I was disappointed by The Center‘s cramped foyer which hindered the large, talkative audience of almost 1000 from interacting with each other and sharing ideas.
Despite the space, the 2014 conference was excellent. The recurring theme was the misnomer that our increased connectedness with each other is the same as relationship and how essential it is to know your audience, the people and their groups, and to integrate mobile tools to your strategy.
Before Wednesday, I had not had the privilege of seeing any of these 6 speakers and they all exceeded my expectations. Brian Wong asked key questions such as “if you ask a girl out 20 times and she ignores you, will she say yes if you ask another 20 times?”and Keith Ferrazzi reiterated well-known phrases such as “Never be afraid to ask, the worst anyone can say is no.” Seth Godin always prompts me to take a second look from a different place but the resonating phrase this time was: “the reason we are on twitter is because someone told you about it”. Mitch Joel discussed the notion of privacy violation (capturing personal information and using it in any way that has not been pre-approved by the consumer) versus personalization (tracking their usage to create a better and more personalized experience). The speaker’s brought their ideas to life with real world examples like Bethany Mota or Evita Peron’s Speech from 1951 and in answer to an attendees question, the hard reality that “If you work for a corporate who doesn’t allow you to do the Art of Marketing, then you should leave”.
I had a numerous takeaways from the conference but an unexpected one was the concept of creating a people plan. I have always valued relationships and enjoy building them and I understand how crucial we are to each others success but I would never have thought of building a “people plan”. It was entrepreneur and author Keith Ferrazzi who brought this forward and who emphasized that we need to think about what we want to achieve and to pinpoint who can help in achieving this goal.
It is impossible not to feel fired up and ready to go after spending a day immersed in the ideas of these high calibre people.