I network a lot. I’ve even given three presentations on how to network. I always recommend that meeting people in-person will bring you more success than meeting online. Of course, I supplement my networking through social media tools like LinkedIn and Twitter, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction.
That’s because it’s easier to develop the rapport or relationship you need to do business with someone, provide a referral or offer job leads. I can’t imagine doing any of these things without having met someone, just like you wouldn’t marry someone without first going on some live dates.
Put another way, every consultant or business offers essentially the same level of service (don’t kid yourself). When you’re at a networking event, you’re not selling your services; you’re selling “you.” That’s how people decide on which accountant, lawyer, financial planner and yes, PR consultant, to hire.
We’ve hired Alexis Harrison as our public relations intern for the summer. Alexis, who’s from Branford, Conn., is a strategic communications major at the University of Wisconsin. She also writes for several publications, including the Badger Herald.
LeBron James should have been the unanimous MVP this year, but he didn’t get the vote belonging to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
Washburn spent an entire column to defend himself using flawed logic. For example, he stressed that without Carmelo Anthony (for whom Washburn voted), the Knicks would not have made the playoffs. Yet, the same argument could be made about Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, James Harden and the Rockets and so on.
I just wanted to show how easily a reporter can negatively affect someone. Of course, basketball is a trivial example. Think how many times reporters have revealed the names and addresses of victims of crime or written about leaked information of national security?
And then there are no repercussions. Reporters hardly ever apologize and usually don’t get fired for “doing their job,” so to speak, no matter how egregious the error or lack of common sense. In fact, I wonder how many reporters do this just to sell a few more newspapers? One comment to Washburn’s story nailed it:
“This is another writer/media person trying to make the story about them rather than the sport they are supposedly covering. And, again it works. Gary Washburn gets himslf [sic] (and the Boston Globe) some publicity by making an absolutley [sic] ridiculus [sic] pick for MVP. This is exactly why writers shouldn’t pick any of the awards in any sport. They are clearly unqualified and typically have self serving motives.”
You should read the other comments of Washburn’s article. I don’t recall seeing anyone defend him. He should have said, “I was wrong, I know I can’t do anything now to change my vote, and I’m sorry to LeBron James.”
But we all know that would never have happened.
Ever wonder why after visiting a site just once, ads for the site suddenly seem to be showing up on every other site you visit?
Then retargeting companies are further able to segment visitors by tracking what they viewed while on the site. For example, if you looked at shoes, then it would be in best practice to show ads for shoes.
One retargeting company, Adroll, states that retargeting works by “converting window-shoppers into buyers.” While I am all for finding more shoes similar to the ones I have been coveting while online-shopping, I also think there are potential problems with retargeting.
For one, retargeting calls into question the never-ending discussion of privacy limits on the web. While retargeting offers a great way to keep track of potential consumers, it also may be seen as an invasion of privacy by visitors. It is possible that the average shopper will get annoyed that every time they visit a site, they will start seeing numerous ads.
According to retargeter.com, “for most websites, only two percent of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98 percent of users who don’t convert right away.”
While the goal to increase effectiveness of advertising by targeting only those who have already shown some interest in the products or company makes sense, I think the new strategy should be used with some caution. For example, companies should take ad placement and frequency into consideration and avoid annoying potential customers too much.
What a restaurant owner says “the food will speak for itself” or “we rely on word-of-mouth,” it’s their death sentence. On top of having good operations (pricing, staffing, quality, etc.), you have to do marketing. I know from my experience in restaurant consulting that a very, very small percentage of restaurants can survive on word-of-mouth alone.
Have you ever noticed that the most trendy or successful restaurants in any city still do a ton of marketing and advertising? And that the least successful restaurants continue to do nothing?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2013
Contact: Ellen Barnard
FEED Kitchens Breaks Ground on Facility
(MADISON, Wis.)—Food Enterprise and Economic Development (FEED) Kitchens broke ground today on its planned food business incubator at Northgate Shopping Center with the hopes of opening its doors to local food entrepreneurs in September.
“We are so excited to have taken the next step in the process today,” Ellen Barnard, FEED Kitchens chair, said. “The groundbreaking signifies that we are getting closer to supporting more locally produced food for the community.”
The 5,400-square foot facility will include five commercial kitchens, with specialized equipment for baking; produce preparation and processing; and deli prep and meat processing.
FEED selected Engineered Construction, Inc, as the general contractor and Iconica as the architect. Construction is expected to begin immediately and conclude by August.
Major donors include The Madison Community Foundation, Madison Gas & Electric Foundation, A Woman’s Touch, Lotions Limited LLC, City of Madison Community Development Block Grants, Pleasant Rowland Foundation, Willy Street Coop and the State of Wisconsin through the Buy Local-Buy Wisconsin.
Currently, Madison College, REAP Food Group, Community Action Coalition, Yum Tum Organic Baby Food, Mad City Fry Guy Food Cart, Polly’s Preserves & Jams, Stubborn Mule Catering and Dean’s Xpress Catering are committed to using the facility.
The Food Enterprise and Economic Development (FEED) Kitchens will provide tools to help youth and adults who are disadvantaged, unemployed or underemployed develop skills that move them toward self-sufficiency. FEED will reduce hunger and increase the availability of healthy local food by providing organizations serving the hungry, gardeners and farmers a place to process excess produce that would otherwise end up in a landfill or compost pile. For more information, please visit www.feedkitchens.org
Resulting media coverage:
- Wisconsin State Journal (April 3, 2013): Groundbreaking set Wednesday for North Side food business incubator
- WisBusiness (April 3, 2013): FEED Kitchens breaks ground on facility
- Madison Startups (April 3, 2013): FEED’s Groundbreaking a ‘Step Closer’ to Goal
I spent a whirlwind 36 hours at the Interactive portion of South by Southwest, and below is what I learned. But first, no one in Austin says “South by Southwest.” Instead, they say simply, “South By.”
Do I need to buy a badge?
Depends. If you’re really looking to attend the sessions/keynotes, then yes. However, I’ve come to learn that no one ever looks at the photo on your badge to see if it’s really you, so you could always borrow one. I signed up for parties that didn’t require a badge, and believe me, there were plenty. You can still do a lot of networking, hobnobbing and other business at these events.
How do I sign up for these unofficial SXSW parties?
First, you have to find them. You can simply search on eventbrite.com, and/or follow Twitter accounts such as @SXSWPartyList and @SXSWPartyGirls. Next, sign up early, as spaces fill quickly. Sometimes, you’ll be put on a waitlist. That’s okay, as spaces usually open up once the party gets going (for the non-major parties).
I didn’t get into the #openwebparty initially, but I waited in line for five minutes, and it was clear to the organizers that not many of the lottery winners were actually coming, so they let us in.
What goes on at these parties?
These parties usually have open bar, free food and giveways. You become so spoiled that when you attend a party that doesn’t have these features, you get mad. That happened to me when I went to the Crashlytics Boozy Brunch, which hyped itself up with free “Cocktails and apps” (complete with photos) but only served beer, wine and kolaches. Bastards.
What’s the point of these parties (besides having fun)?
I’m not sure. Not many parties were set up to market directly to the attendees, so a lot of the times I didn’t even know what service or product the sponsor sold. Nor did these parties seemed geared toward wining-and-dining clients.
It seemed to me that some companies were simply showing off how much money they had. They weren’t worried about ROI–they just wanted to show the world that they were cool. And you know what, that’s okay, too.
I do want to mention that Bing did a nice job of having staff interact with attendees at its party to show how its search engine was better than Google. I also liked that I had “points” to use toward free snacks from its digital vending machine.
What should I bring?
- Cash for pedi-cabs or taxis and tipping your bartender (it’s the best way to get noticed for your next round).
- Comfortable shoes. You will do a lot of walking, standing in line and dancing.
- A spare cell battery or charger. I bought a portable charger, and it really saved me!
- Business cards.
- An itinerary. It’s nice to have some general idea of your schedule so you know which party/event/session is next. Do not download any of the SXSW apps–they are all useless.