I received a personal email invitation from Sir John Madejski (a successful Reading businessman) to attend a seminar about marketing and social networking at the Madejski Stadium (home of the Reading football club).
So I accepted. After all, it was free, and sitting at the back could do no harm, and I was intrigued to see how much they really knew about social media. I saw from the website I signed up from that it was hosted by 107.fm, the local radio station associated with the Royals (football club), so I expected some promotional activity for radio advertising.
They were very clever. Sir John himself was there, pressing the flesh, graciously meeting everyone as they came in. They’d got one of the 107.fm presenters in, so the maitre-d was suitably slick, through reading from the presenter’s profiles was a bit stilted. The first presenter was a successful young sales marketer who had recently written a book, and after flinging out some suitably spell-binding statistics of all his successes (undoubtedly true), he gave an entertaining and thought-provoking (for the non-marketing suits) presentation based on its contents.
Then an imposing marketing man from 107.fm stood up, and an air of expectation bristled around the room. Apparently he was well known amongst the majority of the businessmen there (ladies, it’s another world when it comes to male networking!). He started his presentation with boring powerpoint slides and a mouth full of jargon (does this really impress anyone?), and after about five minutes of this, without mentioning social media once, he launched into the benefits of radio advertising.
I had been expecting this from the beginning. After all, 107.fm was hosting the show, and its logos were plastered all over the place. But where was the social networking information? A tiny mention about their Twitter account, and an app that allowed interaction with a live radio programme, and that was it!
After a dismal presentation by Debra Mann about the various packages they had to offer (smacking of desperation to fill air time), we adjourned for coffee and networking. I asked people what was their purpose for coming to the event, and the answers were: social networking information and networking – well, at least they got one of those! Interestingly, nothing about radio advertising, even though that was at least 80% of what was forced down their throats.
So the moral of the story is, if it’s free, it’s probably rubbish. This is a sad situation, but you do pay for what you get. So much is available on the net now for free that people expect to pay nothing, and any price put on an event results in wrinkled noses.
So paying £30 to attend an absolutely superb International Women’s Day event, hosted by Success Network, was money well spent! Stimulating speakers, inviting venue, scrumptious food, friendly clientele and excellent networking prospects, what incredible value! Sir John – you’ve nothing in comparison.