Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Email Industry Un-Conference

Thursday, 19. February 2009 by Anna Billstrom

So I’ve been thinking for a while that we should have an un-conference. What is an un-conference? It’s a conference where the attendants make up the agenda. It has a different angle, basically very relevant topics and participation. Very few sponsors or vendors- everyone is there to simply learn from each other.

I have a few frustrations with events in this industry. I have been in email marketing since 2000 roughly, and since I’m from a technical background, I’m usually on the hunt for new technologies- but also new case histories, new techniques, new campaigns. Rarely if ever has there been a talk at these conferences that is on my level of enterprise campaigns, segmentation, metrics, etc. Sure, there’s a confidentiality aspect that means that we don’t get a lot of the intensely good client stories up on stage.

I expressed this to my colleague Tamara Gielen of BeRelevant! B2B Email Marketing. She said that namely these are networking conferences, and while the topics may be rudimentary for me, they aren’t for a lot of the people attending.

An unconference can easily solve the problem of the agenda. The way it works is this: we select a central city, low-cost travel. We attend, and in the first few hours do a quick introduction round, put up possible talks, and determine interest. Multiple sessions run at the same time, we take notes in conferences and post to a wiki. The next day, similar activity. Catered on site (sponsor opportunity).

So, I’m asking readers and other colleagues- are you interested in a conference where we make up our own talks? Where the registration is below $100, where the travel costs are also low? Is this industry – online marketing – going to work with the unconference style?

Unconference tenets:
- If you’re not contributing to a session or learning from it, you need to move on
- The people who show up at your session are the right people to be there
- Go as long, or as short, in time, as the topic bears

More Reading:
Wikipedia on the unconference
Planning for Bar Camp
Email Marketing Club Discussion

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