The general and breakout sessions are packed, with sold-out crowds of what appeared to be around 500 people. And while Marketing Sherpa has been criticized in the past as being perhaps a little too "nuts and bolts" -- that is, "low-level" -- in its content, it is clear there is a market for this type of boot-camp training for marketers just getting into email -- or those who are looking for practical tips on improving their campaigns.
The weaknesses of the show are its true lack of networking opportunities and its inability to allot any space in the program for attendees to visit the vendor booths. For the most part, the vendors are sitting around their empty booths as attendees are kept in one session after another with few breaks. Other than a few hours of cocktails on the first day, no effort seems to be made to drive people to the booths. In fact, during lunch time, the other period with built-in networking opportunities, many of the lunch tables were squeezed against some of the vendors' booths, making it difficult to access their space.
I think Marketing Sherpa could be a great show, but I think its developers need to think more carefully about integration of the editorial/commerce in balancing future shows, if they plan on keeping vendors happy and re-upping.
On a completely different topic, this week I received a firsthand reminder just how important it is for a company to maintain a robust email infrastructure, to make sure it is not only not alienating its client base but not performing acts that are don't comply with CanSpam. A while back my company joined a nonprofit organization that focuses on competitive intelligence professionals. I (along with another employee) were signed up for the group's mailing list -- a mailing list that sent out offers about meetings and programs that had little interest for me multiple times a week. When the other employee left my company, I was forwarded their emails, so now I was getting bombarded times two.
It was then that I discovered that the nonprofit had no opt-out link in its emails, making it impossible for me to unsubscribe. After being informed by me that they really needed to provide a way for people to get off their list, they began including a link. I unsubscribed away, but still kept receiving emails. In October I sent two notices to get me off their list, in December another two notices. Two more in February, and I was still receiving a steady flow of emails.
What was the problem? Most likely they have no way to unsubscribe a company from their lists, and there is no mechanism in place to remove the email address of the former employee whose email forwards I keep getting. So I keep getting the emails I no longer want to receive and they no longer want to send me.
How are your company's unsubscribe procedures? Are you putting someone in the same boat I'm in?