BlogHer ’14: What Lens are You Looking Through?

I’m so excited that I don’t have to travel this year for BlogHer.  As a native San Jose gal, I’m proud that our city is hosting the 10th anniversary of BlogHer.  It’s been fun to answer people’s questions about where to eat [San Pedro Square Market] or what to go see  [The Tech Museum of Innovation].  I’m also happy to take any fellow ice hockey players to Sharks Ice, which hosts the largest adult league west of the Mississippi, for a quick skate.

I have mixed emotions about BlogHer this year.  I had been hoping that the startup that I work for would be having a space and providing some really cool activities for fellow attendees.  As anybody in the Valley knows, product development doesn’t always go as planned and, alas, a month ago I found myself with some extra time on my hands.  So, instead, I am going as myself and with a blog that isn’t as evolved as I’d like it to be.

I’ll be looking and experiencing BlogHer ’14 through a marketer’s lens.  What brands created the most buzz through their sponsorships, activities or swag.   I attended BlogHer ’10 as a vendor.  It was an invaluable investment of time that prompted the creation of a new line of headphones for women.  It wasn’t about just changing the color.   Everyone kept coming up to us and asking if we had smaller sized headphones.  Women’s ears are smaller and the standard size just doesn’t stay in.  And, when you hear it over and over for a couple of days, you listen.

Angel and I sharing a delicious moment with the Pillsbury doughboy at BlogHer '10.

Angel and I sharing a delicious moment with the Pillsbury doughboy at BlogHer ’10.

I’m excited to be on the attendee side this year and be contributing thoughts.  I’m one of the lucky that have received an invitation for the Merck for Mothers event.  I bet they don’t even know how near and dear the subject is to me.  As someone who has experienced preeclampsia in two pregnancies and had several friends with postpartum bleeding episodes [it’s more common than you think], I’m all for trying to educate as well as find answers.

During the show I’d love to hear about your experiences with the brands.  Feel free to comment here, come find me [I’m in the BlogHer app] or tweet me @mktgmixologist.

Cheers.

 

 

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A Sponsorship that Worked

Last Friday I was in New York City for the first [and hopefully annual] BlogHer Writer’s Conference–presented by Penguin Group.  Besides the actual content of the conference being phenomenal, I was struck by how well the partnership worked.

Part of the reason I trekked all the way across the country for a one-day event was the fact that Penguin was not only going to be a sponsor, but they were going to be active participants.  What every budding writer wants is the opportunity to be discovered.    The likelihood of that happening while being a room filled with people in the publishing industry is far greater than simply being online 3,000 miles away.

BlogHer Writer's Conference

Captive Audience at BlogHer Writer’s Conference

The group seems bigger than it was in the photo above [only 200 attendees].  Now I have no idea what Penguin’s investment was in this venture, so it is possible that a straight ROI would look low.  However, if they find their next big writer and are able to capitalize on a long-term revenue-generating relationship, it could more than payoff.  Though, there is some return from simply exposing themselves to a group of avid readers.  I have never really paid much attention to who publishes what book, but I took the time to see what literary franchises are a part of the Penguin family and will pay attention in the near future.

But, what was truly impressive was that they didn’t simply put money behind the event–they put people in the event.  Every session had at least two people on a moderated panel.  Plus, there were small group mentoring sessions [no more than 10 people] where you interacted with the experts and got hands-on advice about what to do next in the publishing process.

When I am working on the corporate side, I don’t think that there is a day that goes by when I am not asked about some type of sponsorship–whether it be sports, music festivals, user conferences, etc.    Taking budget out of the equation, what usually makes me say yes or no is whether or not it simply makes sense to be there.  Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is my target audience in attendance?  Are these the decision makers that can influence my sales?  Even if you put on the most spectacular concert, it is unlikely that an attendee is going to go back to the office and talk about your brand versus how cool the band was.
  2. What is the quality of interaction with attendees?  Too often venues/conferences simply want you to put your name on a bag or a reception hour without giving you the opportunity to have some time to talk to attendees.  Make sure that you are set up for success at the show.  Or in the case of sports sponsorships, are you getting the increased brand awareness that you are looking for?
  3. What do you want to get out of the sponsorship?  Again, I don’t believe that there always has to be an immediate ROI, but you need to be clear to management about what the expectations are after the sponsorship.  Is there a measurement everyone can agree on? [Leads, Follows, Downloads]

Anybody else have thoughts on what makes a sponsorship work?