New Media Expo 2014 Recap: Observations from a Lone Dragon

Months of preparation. Dozens of social media messages. Invitations to connect with other attendees and guest speakers. Workshop development. Collateral design and printing. Brainstorming creative booth elements. Flight, ground transportation, hotel and meal coordination. Scheduling conference session attendance. And one plan for 18-holes at a KISS themed mini-golf course! And in one gripping, cold, blinding snow storm…it was over. In total, 14 of #UsDragons were geared up and ready to invade the 2014 New Media Expo (NMX) on January 2 in Las Vegas…the same day that the first major storm of the year chose to invade the Eastern half of the country. Airports shut down. Thousands of flights were cancelled, including ours. With no hope of a rescheduled flight, we turned around and trudged out of the airport, defeated.

Turned away from the airport

Turned away at the gate, the DragonSearch team heads back to the car on a cold Saturday morning.

Enter the Lone Dragon – #LoneDragon

But wait…there was hope! One Lone Dragon had chosen to head West several days earlier, enjoying some sunny down time in warmer climes. How she managed to perfect her timing is, well, the reason why Etela Ivkovic is our General Manager. What follows are Eta’s observations from NMX. It should be noted that since she was solo, she had no time to attend conference sessions, which disappointed her greatly. However, she was able to connect with a lot of great people attending the event.

It’s About the People

Brandie McCallum and others site at NMX conference“I was so impressed with the people, the community, at NMX,” explains Eta. “The NMX team announced that most of our DragonSearch team hadn’t made the trip and that I was staffing the booth alone. After that, so many people came by to offer encouragement. With the added pressure of being alone, the kind words made a big difference.” Special thanks to our long-time friend Brandie McCallum (picture, far left) who helped Eta hold down the fort.

But kindness wasn’t the only thing Eta noticed about the NMX attendees. She has previously attended NMX, formerly known as BlogWorld, and she was aware how the audience has changed. “It used to be virtually all bloggers. But this time, there was a very good mix of bloggers, community managers, entrepreneurs and corporate marketing people. That is something everyone presenting and demonstrating at next year’s event should really know so they can widen their messaging beyond blogging.” Another observation Eta had was that it seemed many people were there for help. “I met a lot of people who were there to learn meaningful, tactical practices that they could take back to their work. Some conferences seem to be more about the social aspect, meeting people or connecting with those you know online. But many people were there for the knowledge they could takeaway and improve their marketing efforts, and some even with the goal of connecting with someone who can help them with their digital marketing challenges.”

Speaking of people, here are a few of them who took advantage of, and had fun with, our Graffiti Wall!


Look for some of our friends pictured in the slide show:

Barry Feldman

Dino Dogan

Diane and Steve Brogan

Shashi Bellamkonda

Masa Dikanovic

Debbie Miller

What? No Social Marketology Workshop??

DragonSearch was honored to be asked to conduct a social media strategy workshop based on the “Social Marketology book” written by our CEO Ric Dragon. Great! We were all set. Ric would provide an overview of how a social media strategy MUST be created in order to give a focus to your efforts while also providing metrics by which the strategy’s success can be measured. Eta would dive deeper into desired outcomes, and setting and measuring goals. Even I would get into the act, delivering some insight about audience segmentation and finding the best influencers who can become brand advocates. And there would be talk of “brand voice” and “competitive analysis” and “action plans and reporting” and so much more. Alas, it was not to be. We had to cancel the workshop since we could not make it there. “It was sad because so many people came to the booth excited about the workshop, then were disappointed it was cancelled,” says Eta. Not to fear! We have several resources and social media strategy templates available here on our website, so check them out. Also, we are able to bring the DragonSearch social media strategy workshops to you! Call or e-mail us, or submit our contact form to find out about how we can conduct a social media workshop for your community management and marketing strategy team.

Our Dragon Was More Than Ready for Her Close-up!

While attending NMX, Eta was approached by Chuck Joiner of MacVoices for a video interview. She jumped at the chance! Well, OK…jumped might not be the best description. Perhaps “tried to run and hide under her hotel-room bed” might be more accurate. Already stretched thin at peak levels because of her solo conference-representing efforts, Eta not sure about a video, and socially shareable, interview. But, as we have all come to expect from her, Eta rose to the occasion and delivered! Watch the following as she describes the Social Marketology strategy and talks about what it’s like to work with DragonSearch:

Final Words and Observations

Though fairly immobile, anchored to the DragonSearch booth, Eta was able to make some interesting observations about NMX and the attendees:

  • People are struggling with defining their audience so that they can target their content appropriately.
  • Many expect there to be a “one price” option for digital marketing. “That’s impossible since every business, situation and industry is so different, it takes the kind of customization that comes from a strategic approach, not one based on a formula or pre-packaged services.”
  • It’s a small world. “Our neighbor at the booth also knows Lisa Barone, VP of Strategy at Overit.com, a good friend to the Dragon pride. So, we connected about that.”
  • The Dragon influence is spreading. “I was quite happy to see the familiarization people had with DragonSearch. Our name is certainly spreading, which is fantastic.”
  • Even marketing people are shy. “You would think that marketers, bloggers and social media people would be extraverts but, so many were shy. That surprised me.”
  • Eating is not a priority when you are the Lone Dragon. “I tried to have lunch or snacks but…there was so much good stuff going on and I wanted to talk with every person who came to our booth. Food just had to wait!”

Were you at NMX? What are some of your lasting impressions/observations?

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7 comments on “New Media Expo 2014 Recap: Observations from a Lone Dragon

ruaralph2

Etela can now host her own TV show, give the State of the Union Address, and perform at halftime at the Super Bowl (weather permitting!)


Jannette Wing Pazer

How fortunate that we had Eta to represent the team at NMX! Thanks for doing such a great job!


    Etela Ivkovic

    Thanks Jannette. I think any one of our dragons would’ve stepped up and did the best with the situation.


paulrakov

The graffiti wall rocks! When are we getting one in the office? Nice job Eta…no one could have represented #usDragons better!


    Jason White

    As long as the graffiti wall doesn’t go in Ric’s office! I don’t want to haul that up the fire escape again…


Paul

Sorry the 13 Dragonites got frozen in. Same thing happened to me last week–went early to California to escape cold/visit friends, and the rest of my team got stuck 2 days later with no flights. Had to hire a So. California team and train in one day to deliver the job…


    paulrakov

    Dang, Paul. That’s pretty amazing you could pull that off!