I have the privilege of being able to speak at quite a few conferences and local groups every year, and while I do very much enjoy the actual speaking part, I long ago realized that the real benefit to going to conferences is the interaction with all of the other attendees and speakers. And I’m not talking about the sessions: obviously, I would never want to dissuade attendees from showing up to sessions — it would be a little lonely standing at the front of a room with no one but the A/V guy in it. But really, the larger value again and again is in the hallways and after-parties, when you get to chat with people from all different kinds of organizations, and all different kinds of backgrounds, about all different kinds of marketing issues. In a matter of two or three days, you can start to form a pretty hi-res picture of what “the industry” is doing and what’s missing.
It’s based on just this kind of interaction that I came back to my team a few months ago and talked about creating an education series for marketers. What I was hearing from folks in the field was that there’s plenty of abstract, high-level, theoretical discussion about “strategy” and “ROI,” and that there’s sufficient opportunity for low-level, tactical training about tools and how to use them, but that what seemed missing was the stuff that ties that together. How do you define the next actions from strategy? How do you tie it all together, and build not just an optimization project or experiment, but an optimization program?
It so happens that we’d been ruminating internally about a need to help our clients and prospects get their arms around this type of thinking, so hearing that marketers were actually looking for this made us sit up and take notice.
We’ve now developed a marketing optimization curriculum through 2012, and we’re beginning the series next Thursday, November 10th at noon central. Our plan is to charge $50 per screen per webinar, although we’ll be rolling out a subscription plan by the end of 2011.
You may be wondering why we’re charging for these webinars when so many other companies are producing them for free? I think that’s a fair question, but to answer it, let’s think like a marketer at one of these companies that’s producing the free webinars. Free is only a valid pricing model if you’re extracting value elsewhere. Most of these companies are using the webinars for lead generation. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that, in my view, and we may choose to add some free lead-gen-oriented webinar content down the road as well. But as a consumer of goods, you know you don’t get something for nothing. You know that if you’re attending for free, there’s something expected of you down the road. We want our attendees to feel secure in the knowledge that they’ve paid their admission and the value of their learning is theirs to keep. We also want to offer this learning opportunity to marketers at organizations who might not be the best fit for our consulting services. Everyone stands to benefit from a better understanding of marketing optimization; we want to help cultivate smarter marketing everywhere, not just with our prospective customers.
In the meantime, while we’re getting started on the series, we’re broadly offering a 50% off discount to November’s webinar attendees. If you enter the code “ORANGE” when you register, the cost will be only $25 per screen, meaning you can join from a conference room screen and invite others from your department. We really want to make this valuable for everyone, so we hope you’ll attend and provide feedback to make our December webinar and the 2012 curriculum a no-brainer for you and for many others.
We look forward to seeing you on November 10th!