man looking up at the hole in the wall

The Day the Event Walls Came Down

In News by admin

On June 11th, 2013, I attended an event in downtown Toronto called the Social Marketing Summit. Billed as a “how to” for small to medium sized businesses on driving new business opportunities through online and social marketing, the daylong event featured social media thought leaders and speakers from a variety of industries.
Hours before attending, I called my late friend Tony Thibault – himself an entrepreneur and social media junkie – to tell him about the event. After running through the day’s topics and itinerary, I remember Tony letting out a deep sigh and say dejectedly, “Damn, that sounds amazing K-Pen (his nickname for me). I would PAY to be a fly on the wall during that”. Residing in Nova Scotia, he told me that such events were rare near his home and accessing this type of content was difficult.
The event itself was extremely well attended. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house and the capacity auditorium was abuzz with the chatter of anticipation and networking. As the event began, I asked myself, “why couldn’t Tony benefit from today”? Surely, the organizers would realize the number of non-attending business owners out there – just like Tony – who would value the opportunity to consume the day’s content. And surely…SURELY, these same organizers – of an event focused on online marketing of all things – would recognize the benefits of streaming all, or at least a portion of the day’s content, to external attendees.
I looked around the auditorium. There were no cameras or A/V equipment in sight that would give any indication that any of the day’s valuable content was being streamed to an external audience or, for that matter, recorded for later use. I decided to approach one of the show’s managers during the lunchbreak to ask if any thought had been given to live-streaming/recording the day’s content for remote, non-attendees.
“Why would we do that? Look around you, it’s packed!”
This was the answer I received (in addition to a “look” that had me checking for the second head that was apparently on my shoulders). Sure there were lots of people there, but to what extent were the event’s organizers missing out on an untapped – potentially PAYING – audience of remote attendees? How many other “Tony’s” with a high speed internet connection, a desire to engage in exclusive content, and a willingness to pay for it, were out there – beyond the auditorium’s brick walls? This is the question that’s always in the back of my mind at any live event I attend.