There is something really good to these virtual conferences. I just watched the director of strategic initiatives for The Washington Post and he was great. (I will report on it here next week.) He even told a funny Jeff Bezos story.) It doesn't work for everything. Theaters have tried to put some productions online and it's tough.
Sitting at home, we can
focus on speakers online—even with the occasional pets, kids and laundry disruption. SIPA 2020
June 1 motivational keynote Don Harkey
told me that he likes the idea that he can mention an article and people can bring it up, or they can comment as he goes along, and he can play off that energy
"The more that we can mimic the one-to-one conversations at these events, that's going to be key," SIPA 2020 June 2 keynote speaker Krystle Kopacz
, CEO of Revmade, told me this week. In a way, watching a speaker on our computer is pretty much one-to-one. It really is just you and him or her. And you can ask questions—actually that's easier
online than in person.
Kopacz is a brilliant speaker, and I hope many of you will register to hear her. For six years prior to starting Revmade, she led Atlantic Media's B2B sales enablement efforts, which have become known as best-in-business examples of how to achieve digital success.
Between running her company and caring with her husband for their 9-month-old daughter, Kopacz sees a tunnel at the end of this blight. In that tunnel—or let's say pipeline—is the need to give your customers the lead generation they need.
"Why does someone buy into an event?" she asked. "I've been working with a couple clients—why does someone spend a ton of money to host a booth? They want to have face-to-face conversations with possible clients. So how does the lack of live events across the industry affect us? What does that do to lead generation efforts? And how are you refilling that pipeline? Publishers still have a key role to play between buyers and sellers. There are many ways you can mimic what live events do."
Kopacz said she had been thinking about her upcoming SIPA presentation that early morning. "Publishers can provide information and research, but what do they need from me? How can I help them navigate this? I work with brand clients. And they're calling me saying, 'we're not doing trade shows, so how do I find qualified buyers?'
"'Have you thought about working with a publisher?' I suggest. But publishers are up against a lot in this new environment. What publishers need to do is to align their products better with marketing pain points. 'How do I call up some of the clients' pain points? How do I create a lead gen replacement package?'
"This is where your media sales team can play the biggest role, helping clients understand and being relevant to your target audience," Kopacz continued. "They're also wondering, 'How do I navigate this?' So there's some advice-giving that needs to happen."
From a business standpoint, good things can come of this, but it will not be easy. Harkey told that story of his 75 year-old mother-in-law teaching piano lessons on Skype now. "If you would have told me that at Christmas time, I would've said no way. But she's doing it and liking it and said she will be offering it to her students in the future. It's things like that that are fundamentally changing."
Kopacz agrees. "The biggest challenge is, how do you lead your company through a massive transformation when your work hours are not what you're used to"—tell me about it!—"you can't connect in the office, and you can't separate professional and personal problems?"
If anyone can advise us on this, it will be Krystle Kopacz. Stay tuned. Register here
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…