MarketingProfs has gotten pretty good at producing a steady digital stream of marketing know-how for our members. But darn it, sometimes it's lonely doing everything through IP packets. Once in a while we've got to see another face, share a plate of nachos, and swap a few stories from the business trenches.
So we picked a sunny spot in wine country. Brought three dozen MarketingProfs readers, six MarketingProfs authors, and seven MarketingProfs people there, and serious fun and learning happened.
That was last month at the two-day MarketingProfs executive retreat, "Finders, Keepers: Finding Prospects and Keeping Customers." We brought all the attendees together in Santa Barbara, the seaside town north of Los Angeles, at a historic hotel that was mere blocks away from great restaurants and hip shopping. With practical shoes, you could even walk to the beach. (I'm a trolley rider, myself. I'd rather wear stylish shoes.)
The presenters were also participants for the entire event, which lead to some fascinating and sometimes lively dialog between the experts. "This is like the Bill Maher of marketing seminars," I overheard someone say.
The topic for Day One was "Customer Acquisition"; Day Two was "Customer Retention."
MarketingProfs founder Allen Weiss kicked things off with a presentation on lasting customer relationships. Folks appreciated his interesting twist on the subject: Do your customers really want a relationship with you, or are they more "transactional" by nature?
The other presenters were also some of the most popular authors at MarketingProfs. William Arruda delivered a discussion of how branding has the power to attract customers (in the post-event evaluation, it was voted the weekend's favorite). Jonathan Kranz offered some terrific techniques on writing compelling stories about your business. George Michie revealed some surprising tips for making your Web site "findable" by search engines.
And that was just the first day.
Shelley Ryan is a recovering entrepreneur who wears many robes at MarketingProfs. She is Customer Service Samurai, Marketing Communications Diva, and Associate Deputy Director of Events Mission Control.