Lessons from… The Art of Marketing
March 2, 2010

Attended “The Art of Marketing” today in Toronto.  Brilliant event with some excellent speakers – (in order of appearance)  Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Sally Hogshead, James Othmer, Max Lenderman, and Dan Heath.

While I won’t get into the content of the day in this post, I do want to spend a little time discussing my takeaways from the presentations themselves.  A couple thoughts:

Power point:

We’ve come a long way.  This group (collectively) really used the screen well to highlight their material.  Whether is was juxtaposed images up there, visual examples of their point, or pictures to simplify complex ideas, the power point slideshows were really well utilized.

The Lesson:  Support materials should be exactly that – support, not a duplicate of your presentation.


Video is brilliant at telling a story.  As video becomes ubiquitous in our society, the proper integration of video into presentations will be valuable… for those who know how to harness it well.

The Lesson:  Video for video’s sake is flashy, but hollow.  Video examples are memorable and emotive.

Tech issues:

Two of the presenters had tech issues – for one, the screens were strobing (quite annoyingly) and the other speaker’s notes weren’t showing up on the tele-prompter.  One handled the challenge with grace and humor, the other… well, the other floundered.

The Lesson:  Have backups.  Always.  And, when backups aren’t available, relax and turn the challenge into a group experience.  “We’re all in this together” is a lot more fun (and positive) than “I’m screwed”.

Knowing your material:

The speakers today are experts in their fields.  They’ve all written best selling books on their subject matter, and know it inside out.  Knowing it, however, is not the same as knowing how to present it. Most material was presented with excellence.  One was disjointedly shared, but fun.  The last, was jumping all over the place.  The sad thing is that you could tell how deep his knowledge was on the subject, and how passionate he was about it, he was simply unable to pull it together coherently for 90 minutes.  One of the major challenges with knowing material intimately is knowing how to disconnect from it enough to share it with an audience who’s hearing it for the first time.

The Lesson:  Know your audience and don’t make assumptions.  Acronyms and jargon that are common speak to you are Greek to me.

All in all, it was a great experience, with excellent messages from brilliant thought leaders.  Glad I made it.