At one point on Thursday during her session at Optimization Summits in Dallas, CK mentioned a type of technology and how marketers could utilize it effectively. Then she mentioned another, and the audience was so enthralled that an hour-long discussion on just these tools commenced.
Was she talking Twitter? Facebook? Blogs? Hell no, she was talking QR codes and Geo-Fencing.
Want more? Chris Penn was talking email marketing, Geno Church was talking creating customer evangelist movements. Even those of us that did discuss social media, did so in the context of combining it with other areas. Jason Falls talked about improving the SEO of your company blog, I talked about learning from rockstars to use social media to cultivate brand advocates.
This is one of the things I loved about #Optsum, Tami put together a stellar speaking lineup. Yes, I am probably biased since I am friends with most of these speakers, but I learned something new in EVERY session I sat in. And you have to remember that most of these speakers I had already heard before. But they brought something completely new to the table for attendees, and gave them a completely new way of thinking about improving their marketing efforts. In fact I would rank the speaking lineup at this event on par with Social South 2009 and the first Digital Marketing Mixer in 2008 as being the best group of speakers at any event I’ve attended.
The sessions were all engaging, and the speakers made a point of getting the audience involved. Most of the sessions were fairly well-attended, even though there were up to 8 tracks available for some slots. More on that in a moment.
The content was top-notch, and the speakers were excellent. At the end of the day, that’s probably the most important factor in determining if an event was worth your time.
Here are the things I didn’t like about #Optsum, and I want to mention these to help other event planners in organizing similar events. But I should point out that Tami has been interacting with attendees and based on their feedback, will likely improve most or all of these points for the next event. Which is another reason why Tami rocks!
First, #Optsum was running alongside Brainstorming, which is a much larger event aimed primarily at the Apartment industry. #Optsum usually had 4 tracks going at once, and if Brainstorming did as well (as it did for much of Thurs), then attendees had to choose between EIGHT tracks, assuming they bought tickets to both. I noticed higher attendance in the sessions on Friday, and I am sure this factored into it.
Second, I hated the layout of the hotel. It was absolutely huge, so big that it covered two adjacent blocks. Which meant that knowing that the session you wanted to go to was on the 1st floor wasn’t enough, you also needed to know which side of the street on the 1st floor it was! Which made for a LOT of running around. And the directions posted in the hotel weren’t very helpful and the maps were very hard to read. This wasn’t really Tami’s fault, it was a byproduct of the Sheraton just being too damn big and confusing.
Other than those two areas, the event itself was wonderful and at $500 or so for admission, it was an absolute steal of a bargain for attendees for 2 days of learning. And I have to say that Tami and her team did a fabulous job working with me as a speaker to get me to the event on time, on coordinating all my travel, and everything. In fact it was probably the best experience I have had so far with event organizers.
Below is the deck from my Think Like a Rockstar workshop. I was proud to say that the session was very well-received, and the deck itself was the biggest I’ve ever made. If you attended, thank you SO much for doing so, I was thrilled with the turnout, I believe the room was full by the time the session got started.
All in all, I would heartily recommend #Optsum to anyone that is considering it, and if Tami asks me to speak at the next one, I would accept in a second. It was a wonderfully informative and valuable event, and I honestly didn’t hear one negative word about any of the speakers or sessions, which is actually quite rare.
If you attended #Optsum, what did you think?