Portland, Maine, Rich Brooks discussed on Duct Tape Marketing
This is John Jansen. My guest today is rich Brooks. He is founder of flight new media and creator of the agents of change digital marketing conference. Something we're gonna talk about today. So rich, thanks for joyous. Hey, it's a great pleasure to be on your show, John. So you've been doing this conference for a few years. And I guess the first question I have is what's the name? That's a good question. So the agents of change came out of a previous conference, I put on for a few years called social media f t w with a few friends, but after three years the band broke up, and I was thinking about doing another conference when it happened to run into. Chris Brogan who said, oh, I love to something sometimes. So I'm like, I know I have to do this conference. I couldn't use the same name, and I wanted to bring in search and mobile marketing to the mix because I feel like social is just one aspect of what we should be doing. And I started going through the thesaurus, which is always a tough word for me to say. And I had this idea of, you know, a an accelerated, like social media's in excel, so I went on there looked it up, and I found, but I'm like exceleron world, like accelerate expo doesn't roll off the tongue that led me to catalyst, which is a nice hard case ounce on a catalyst. Still wasn't working for me. Looked it up one more time. And I saw agent of change. And if you saw Alvis right, John, you know, I'm a huge superhero nerd, and I could already envision the three agents of change for search social and mobile marketing, and that is where the name came from so in preparation for this, because you do the conference in have your business in the city of Portland. Yeah. Portland. Maine. I was gonna go there because I, I did a little search. I said, fun facts about Portland Maine and how the little Sner ch- search snippet of position zero that Google puts up there. It was five fun facts about Portland, Oregon. So even Google doesn't know necessarily were Portland Maine, is, so I'm guessing that the agents of change conference is kind of a big deal in Portland, may I like to think it is, I mean we like to think ourselves as one of the coolest conferences in New England. It is more of a regional thing, though. We do get people from all around the country and sometimes all around the world. Visit but I would say the majority of people who attend in person are from New England, and then we also have a virtual pass with a live stream, and we actually get people literally from all over the world including places like Australia. And I'm like I guess they're getting up in the middle of the night to watch. So we're gonna talk about conferences, and putting them on because you've got a little experience doing so but is that the only conference that you currently put on? Yeah. I mean, we do other workshops and I just recently started a new brand called fast forward main where we're putting on a business workshops around the state, but the big the big tent pole event is definitely agents of change conference. So. Let's talk specifically about that one who, who should go to your conference, every human being now, we really focus on digital marketing, so, especially in Maine that tends to be people who have social media manager or digital marketer marketer in their title. But of course, a lot of small businesses around here, so we get a lot of people who are doing things who might be owners or entrepreneurs, and we get a lot of agency owners who show up to, I think, because they listen to my pod cast for new ideas. And so in the last years, we've gotten a lot more agency owners and consultants. So let's flip than to events in general. Is that something that, you know, first off, I'm just gonna admit if or heart? So you, you said they are heart. So is that something that a lot of businesses should be thinking about getting into I wouldn't say a lot of businesses? But people ask me like why do you put on a conference? It seems like a lot of work, and I'm like it is, that's the beauty of it. I mean, how hard is it to put up another Facebook post or an Instagram photo? Anybody can do it in. Everybody is doing it, but to put on an event. And I'm not saying that you need to make it as big or small as our conference. We between three hundred fifty to four hundred people, but I'm saying that it immediately elevates, everything that we're doing in the state to another level. So when people come to the agents of change conference suddenly rich Brooks, and flight, you media get a lot more visibility flooding medias are digital agency. So because of that than when we get into a lot more conversations around the state, and even outside the state about, oh, should we talk to flight about our website or SEO or social media so of your struggling with maybe some of the digital marketing stuff in outreach? Especially if you're new, I strongly recommend taking a look at vents because a lot of your competition, just don't have the stomach to put it on. Yes, it sounds as I heard you describe that little bit of the advice, where people say you should have a book because it sort of elevate your status as an influence in some ways. That's what you're saying about the conference. Absolutely. And I've written a book and I've gotten work directly out of it. So I know that works, and I've gotten worked directly out of the agents of change conference, just as a side note, I had for years, a friend of mine's business, and I kept on saying, like you really need. New website, lake your website was built in seventeen twenty four. It's time for an upgrade. This person wouldn't spend five thousand dollars on it. They ended up winning ticket to the conference of all things came to the conference ended up talking to my creative director and ended up, sending signing deal for twenty thousand dollars worth of design. I'm like, I couldn't convince you after five years and you come to meet him for fifteen minutes. So again, it elevates. You put you at another level. And I think that's great for business owners who are looking for a competitive edge. So in web term seventeen twenty four was like five years ago. Right. Exactly. So what was the huge thing that you learned when you first started doing this? So what I tell anybody just starting off his first of all, it's totally okay to start small like you can start with twelve people in a room, if they're the right twelve people. That's one aspect like there's no size too small. It's about putting yourself in front of the right audience or building the right audience. But the other thing that I found over time as people started asking me questions as there's three main categories that any successful ventured focus on which, I now, call three S's, and it's speakers, sponsors and seats is in putting butts in them, and I can speak to any one of them, but it's about having the right people on stage and that could just be you. It's about bringing in some sponsors. Especially when you get to a certain size to help bring down the cost, and then it's also about making sure that you've got a way to make sure that you fill the seats because you have the best speakers, a lot of sponsors, but your events. Fail if nobody shows up. So let's talk about balancing those folks a little bit because sometimes what is sponsor wants out of what's win for them may not be a win for. Attendees is I mean, is that a constant struggle that is a struggle end? It's I've definitely made the mistake over promising something for sponsor. And then realizing that may be I've, I've not really treated, my attendee. The way they should have been treated. And this is something I've learned the hard way. And of course, now GDR pay this becomes an even bigger issue. But, you know, one of the things that we say with our sponsors now is like, we, we can't share emails anymore. Like that's just not something we do contact information. But I have had some pushback in, in years past, and with, with, with the sponsors, I think it's just about getting up front with him. And having intelligent conversations, what do you wanna get out of this event? Like, are you looking? I've had people come to me, and they're like, I just want to be associated with your brand other people are like I'm just looking for a. My own personal brand awareness, and then I've got people were like I need fifteen leads out of this, and based on what they're looking for, then I can help them create something customized. So that even if I'm not giving them the name address, and blood type of every single attendee giving them the opportunity for them to succeed. And maybe that means that I'm doing something special from stage for them. Or maybe it means that we're creating some special videos, a kind of pump them up or talking about them on the podcast. But it's about finding those winds for them where you're not selling your soul or the information of era,.