Marketing Ideas from Web 2.0 Expo

It took me a bit longer than expected to gather these thoughts together, but there was plenty of smart stuff happening at the Web 2.0 Expo this week in San Francisco.  I considered doing a wrap up of sites from the event, but taking a quick look at other posts out there, it seems that’s been done quite a bit more extensively than I could hope to achieve.  So, instead, here are a few marketing ideas that I will be taking with me from the Expo …

  • The Long Tail Exhibition – Alongside the traditional booths from exhibitors was an inventive area with about twenty tall, laptop-sized cylindrical tables for smaller exhibitors to give demos of their products.  Termed the "long tail" area, it was a great way to include more ideas at the show from less established sites or services and give them a chance to be part of the show.  Two noteworthy sites I learned about there were Maplight.org (a nonprofit site dedicated to exposing the many links between money and politics) and Women2.org (a community for female entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley).
  • The Bag Award – At every event that has an Expo with brochures and free schwag, there should be a "bag award."  This is always given to the company that has the brains to focus on providing carry bags for people to put all the crap they get from everyone else into.  You would think just about every sponsor would do this, but at every show there is only a few that think of it, and one bag that dominates.  At Web 2.0, the Bag Award goes to … the folks at Reply
  • Promoting other exhibitors – Providing the bag is not the only way to rise above the competition at the show.  You could also try a technique Yugma (a new online video conferencing solution) used to build buzz about their service and booth.  They offered an ongoing venue for other exhibitors to share their presentations using Yugma’s service and even published agendas of who would be speaking and when.  Think about the brilliance of this strategy … by featuring other exhibitors and helping them spread the word, they become a mini media channel at the event, foster word of mouth, ensure that a wide range of influencers beta test your product. 
  • Desktop RSS – One of the more interesting ideas I came across was from RSSBus and involved a product download that could offer RSS feeds of all types of content, including folders on networks, spreadsheets or databases.  Though strikingly simple as an idea, it got me thinking about the vast untapped potential of RSS feeds to help organize all kinds of information and offer instant updates on just about any kind of content.

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