The afternoon sessions were uniformly excellent. The way we form this conference every year is I pick the keynotes, and give them their topics. The rest of the conference comes from solicited and unsolicited presentations. Some very fine presentations were made by the serious subject matter experts from the automation industry.
Although we really hate to do it, we had such good sessions that we had to have concurrent sessions running. So in one session, we had:
George Buckbee, vice president marketing and product development for Expertune, on "Automated Processing of Sales Leads," Michael Korf, director of sales and marketing for Siemens Energy Instrumentation and Electrical, on "Striking a Balance: Meeting the Informational and Emotional Needs of a Technical Audience," and Scott Sommer, Automation Technology Manager for Jacobs Engineering Group and Juliann Grant, vice president of Telesian Technology on "Marketing Strategies that Enable Your Sales Force to Succeed."
If you can imagine a more information filled hour and a half, great, because I can't.
Now why am I not "live blogging" these presentations? Frankly, because we want you to attend the conference next year, and we're giving you a taste. "I'm the Candyman...."
After the afternoon break, we had a terrific discussion by Gary Mintchell, my opposite number at Automation World (see, God did not strike me dead for talking about the competition). It was called "Marketing as Conversation," and took up the theme that he, Jim Cahill, and I have been playing for quite some time now. "In a world of hype and spin," he asked, "how do you get a message across to a skeptical and cynical audience?" He closed with a quote from the Iranian poet Rumi, born 1207, that I have always loved as well:
With passion, pray.
With passion, work.
With passion make love.
Wtih passion eat and drink and dance and play.
Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God.
Now that's a view of marketing you don't get every day.
Simultaneously with Gary's ruminations (yes, I intended that pun) Don Mack and Catherine Derkosh, from Siemens, were talking about "Bring Back that Loving Feeling: Keeping Customers Happy." And Jeff Cawley, vice president of Northwest Analytical showed his Web2.0-fu with a great presentation entitled, "Write Once, Publish Many: Integrating Conventional and Web 2.0 Media to Leverage Marketing Efforts."
Too bad you weren't there to catch those, eh?
Then after a fine tour of a microbrewery, or dinner with Dick Morley (that's what I did)...
On Friday we were treated to Jan Jekielek, from Nutshell Models on "Communications Solutions to Presenting Technical Information" and "Taking Your Search Marketing Program to the Next Level" by Shari Worthington.
After that, I facilitated year two of a workshop on distribution channel issues. Good reps, bad reps, greedy vendors, and good and bad channel management practices.
Finally, Dick Morley gave the closing keynote. He spoke of nanotechnology, chocolate, and marketing. He showed some data from Hans Baumann and others that suggests that the automation industry pays less than 10% of the attention to marketing that it ought to.
Next year's Summit will be in September in Boston. Set your calendar now. Date, time and location will be announced shortly.
We've grown from 65 the first year to 71 the second year to 88 this year, and that's a decent growth rate. We want to break a hundred in 2009.