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14 May, 2015

2015 Northeast Regional UBER Conference Recap

Megan Himler

Event Recap  
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Read time: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

Was it October? I could check my email, but it was probably about then when I started seeing the “SMPS UBER…” subject lines. I was interested but realistic. Our firm is small and mighty, which means there is always too much to do and they wouldn't have been able to support sending me to this conference. My involvement with SMPS, to this point, had been minimal and digital – listening in during lunch time to webinars and reading articles to guide me. Those resources were (and still are) fantastic for the times I ask myself “what am I supposed to be doing?” Often that question has an exclamation point as well as a question mark…nevertheless, I was hardly involved. Then, as so many adventures start, the phone rings and something changes. Deborah Hayward shared the great news that I had been selected to be sponsored by the DC Chapter.

The 2015 Northeast Regional UBER Conference packed a great deal of educational content in each session, but like any effective conference it was more than just the sessions. The DC chapter especially, made me feel not only welcomed but awaited. There were group emails and connections being made even before the event. I didn't have to feel nervous because I knew once I found the ribbons with “Washington, DC” that I was set. They introduced me to members of the other chapters, bounced ideas around with me after sessions, and encouraged me to get more involved once we were back in DC. The best part of the experience was the instant inclusion by my chapter that enables me to say “my” chapter. Their individual excitement to be involved in committees, eagerness to help me, and ability to share benefits from attending events, sold me.

My biggest “Take-Aways” from the sessions:

  • Communication is a process so don’t skip steps

The first step is the message and the subsequent steps are about sending the message. The language used in marketing materials should highlight the benefits not the features of the company. Additionally, Chuck Roberts (Performance Management Group, Inc.) recommended purging material of liability, utilizing graphics and bullets, and understanding the difference between quality assurance and quality control.

  • Interconnectivity replaces Advertising

John and Kalev (One North Interactive)’s presentation on “Relationship Era,” addressed the necessity of marketers understanding the way in which people are communicating today. Marketers should focus on being valuable and useful to clients in a conversational manner. The “old” advertising approach was one-sided but the new goal is to identify how people relate to brands.

  • Spend time to find “Our Story”

While every presentation I attended touched upon this in some way, there were different examples, approaches, and brainstorming exercises. Understanding our firm is more than just what we do, it includes who we are, why we do what we do, how we do it…etc., but it is challenging to figure out how to use all that information to be compelling and unique. Brent Robertson’s presentation on “How to Stand Out in the Age of Choice” had me scribbling possible answers to “How are we making a better world.” Addressing challenging questions like that is a crucial part of the marketing process.

What our firm has been up to since…

  • Goal: Create content for a variety of buying personas
    • Step 1: Create a blog with education content written by our technical staff
  • Goal: Working in Real Time
    • Step 1: Utilize Social Media
  • Goal: Answer “How are we making the world better?”
    • Step 1: Ask ourselves who we are and who we want to be

Written by: Megan Himler, TCT Cost Consultants LLC