Last weekend I had the pleasure of being part of BlissDom09. As it says on the Blissdom Conference website:
We came. We saw. We learned. We bonded. We had the most wonderful time!
BlissDom09 brought together outstanding speakers and panelists and new bloggers, blogging professionals, writers — women mostly from all over the country — Michelle Lamar — Buy her book and embrace your inner trailer park. Ghennipher who is grace and intelligence, Lori Falcon who’s brilliant about making money with a blog, Jessica Smith who asks great questions and knows more than I’ve forgotten. Carole Hicks a friend already, Debba Haupert who didn’t bring the coffee!! and especially Beth Rosen, who knew everyone before she left there. And this is only a few of the cool people I met.
BlissDom is the brain child of Alli Worthingdon who runs Blissfully Domestic and Barbara Jones, who masterminds One2OneNetwork. Congratulations to Alli and Barbara who are clearly about making sure that everyone gets even more than what they came for.
One way that they did that was to forge relationships with the best sponsor-partners.
How to Be A Successful and Outstanding Sponsor
Any conference is an investment for conference producers, attendees, and sponsors. I’ve read a lot about how to run a good conference, learned a bit by doing just that. I’ve written about the value of attending a well-run event — how it can change a business. But I’ve not seen much on how a sponsor can add to and make the most of a event — though I’ve seen sponsors do silly things that have really turned attendees off.
If you’re running a conference or about to sponsor one, look to do more than just se
What I saw at BlissDom was a partnership, much the same as that we work for my own event. Successful and outstanding sponsors are the ones we remember because they fit seamlessly into the event.
It’s a week past. These Blissdom09 sponsors are the ones I’m still talking about.
- Great sponsors come as learners to build relationships, not to hunt buyers.
John Andrews from Walmat and Tara Anderson from lijit were panelists, attended the sessions, and participated in event activities. Though their companies are hugely different in size, scale, and offering, they related to people in the same one-to-one fashion. They were building relationships. I had personal conversations with each of them. It was obvious they were both there to learn and connect. I’ll be using them as examples when people as how do to do it right.
John and Tara were about building relationships with their customers — current and future.
- If they send a product, it’s the right one.
I didn’t met a representative from Little Debbie, but I didn’t see any reason that one needed to be there. The product — 100 calorie snacks — fed us during the breaks and movie party. Simply providing it for us to sample was enough for me to see that I liked it. I’ve already bought some. I like the peanut butter ones. More please!!
Little Debbie let their product speak for them.
- They give more than they might get.
I’ve always been a LandsEnd evangelist. I love their jeans. The catalog they included in the swag back introduced their new line with free shipping. I paged through their catalog. I didn’t buy. I kept thinking that a $25 gift would have been a better investment. I was disappointed that LandsEnd didn’t reach out more.
Free shipping from LandsEnd? Not exactly a sample of their product. UPDATE: My apology to LandsEnd What I was thinking? HOW COULD I OVERLOOK THE LANDSEND TOTES? Thank you, LandsEnd. I must have conference totebag blindness. I sure would have noticed if I had to carry that stuff without them. The inside pockets are particularly cool.
Crocs added a $50 gift to the package. $50 was enough for me to go to their website to realize that they have more than just plastic shoes with holes in them. I think they might have a new customer. I’ve already told three people about the gift and how Alli showed off her crocs boots the audience.
Crocs offered an invitation to experience more than shoes with holes.
- Great sponsors know people remember experiences, not demos and speeches. They invite us to participate in unforgettable ways.
Sony showed up in the form of Chris Mann, who talked with BlissDom attendees on Twitter as @iamchrismann long before that weekend. So when he took the stage at BlissDom, he was already a friend. Here’s a clip from the private concert he did. Chris stayed, talked, and shot video.
Sony let us help launch a career!
Disney Pearl brought a massive HD plasma screen, 4 small ones, a complete sound system and production team for what might have been the most entertaining break of the the event. They were introducing YANNI VOICES — an event in which the famous musician chose 5 solo voices to put lyrics to his music and developed a performance around them. Who would have thought a DVD of a music show belonged a blogger conference. But the experience was exciting, moving, and entertaining. THEN, to make us feel special, it ended with a chance to meet the vocalists in the show.
Disney made us part of a huge event.
Granted I’m only one person, and this is only my opinion. BUT … I’m one person with a few Twitter followers, a few blog subscribers. I run a conference, use a telephone, speak and teach about relationships in business, and attend more meetups and tweetups than most. I also like talking about the folks who get it right, but reminding folks who the best of the best are.
It’s great to see sponsors showing that they understand that experience is that way to share their products. They understand how build a fiercely loyal fan base. When they get right, it’s only right that we point it out and give a little of that love back.
How has a sponsor at a conference ever gotten you talk about them?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!