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SFIMA Keynote Speech by Peter Shankman

May 20, 2011

I was at the conference yesterday who had Peter Shankman as the keynote speaker. Here were some of the key points of his speech:

Be transparent
Peter told the story of an idea he came up with regarding creating a list of PR professionals. He was constantly receiving queries for comments on articles as an “expert”, but some of the answers to questions or comments journalists were seeking didn’t match up with his skillset. He created a list that he could then send these queries out to other “experts” like himself who could then speak with the journalist so they could make their deadline. The mailing list built up to a nice size when he was contacted by an apparel company who was interested in sending an advertisement to the list. He wrote an email to the list talking about the products with a tracking code + url pointing to the advertiser. The return was 17% when the apparel company was used to normally receiving less than a 1% conversion rate. When they asked him what he did differently, all he said was he just wrote honestly about it and people on his mailing list trust his opinion so they purchased.

Privacy settings cannot be protected by stupid
If you don’t want your information to fall into the wrong hands online, then don’t put it online. A story he told was that he asked an audience member what kind of personal details she posted online and she replied “All of it but I only have it online for my friends”. He then asked her friend if they were connected on Facebook, to which he said “yes”. He gave him $100 and logged in with his ID and went directly to her Wall and saw all her info. In summary, don’t post information online that you don’t want everyone to know about.

Relevance – Find out how audience prefers to have their media delivered
He used an example of a non profit Animal Rescue group that was sending out coffee table books to anyone who made a donation. When he made his donation he called up the Rescue group and asked them about it. They told him their average donator tended to be older and didn’t use the Internet. Well after getting added to the Advisory Board he conducted a survey and found out 2 things, 1) The average age of a donator was between 10 and 15 years younger than what they had thought and 2) they preferred to get their information online. He was able to save the Rescue group, $500,000 in the first year on postage and production costs while increasing their donations 30%.

Revenue. Always work on or create projects that will make money.
The days of the sock puppet which went through $300 million in venture capital with very little revenue are over.

Attention Spans are very short.
The average amount of a person’s attention span was 2.4 or about 142 characters. Normally you would think this was a Tweet but it’s actually the length of a text message. As fast as cell phone growth is exploding, the text message is exploding along with it. Good writing is clarity and brevity and clarity and brevity is marketing.

Top of mind will win.
The big differentiator amongst all of the brands out there competing for your attention is customer service. For example, Delta had to make an emergency landing in South Carolina on a flight to NY and everything at the airport was closed while the pilots had vanished. He started tweeting to @Delta telling them they were stranded and then they needed help. Guess who responded to him? Southwest Airlines who told him if he could get them to an airport 30 miles north they would fly him to NY. Another time he was landing in Europe and was dead tires. He tweeted to his hotel that he wanted some coffee. When he checked into his room he had a knock on the door and it was room service with his coffee. These types of experiences are the reason why he stays exclusive to these brands.

What is your “KLOUT” score?
Influence is always important and just moving online. People with Klout Scores about particular subjects will have more influence in a decision making process.