BizCamp Craigavon


I attended BizCamp Craigavon last Saturday, after negotiating a few dozen roundabouts, between Lurgan and Craigavon, with Jacqueline McGonigle (from WhatsOnNI) frantically scouring GoogleMaps for inspiration. BizCamp Craigavon is an unConference, a phenomenon I’ve blogged about before, in The Rise of the Unconference.

The previous post both defines and raves in equal measure. I’ve summarised the points I found most useful from the speakers I listened to. Some titles are improvised, as I didn’t write everything down. :)

Who Rocked at Craigavon?

Geoff Wilson from the Irish Football Association on the Customer Journey Through Your Website

Geoff spoke passionately and intelligently about the online customer experience. His talk provided the most incredible quick-fire list of marketing ideas, many of which could used or adapted for SMEs.

Points to remember:

  • Pay attention to what the customer wants. Listen, and make changes.
  • Think creatively when trying to get the word out.
  • Email marketing works.

Stephen Brown from The Adventure Team on The Colour Orange!

Stephen spoke about his experiences of how to use Facebook successfully for promoting The Adventure Team’s activities. He was very honest about not having a marketing budget when he started just under one and half years ago, and shared his experiences on failures and mistakes with candour. Stephen provided a personal list of things that work and those that don’t.

Points to remember:

  • Don’t bombard people with events reminders.
  • Be nice. People love sharing. So, when you share their stuff, they will share yours.
  • Consider Facebook adverts. Compared to Google’s Pay Per Click, they are less expensive and more easily targeted.
  • Look up EventElephant if you are thinking of promoting and selling tickets to an event.
  • An increasing number of people are sharing blog posts on Buzz.

Peter Brankin from YellowTom on How To Save Money on Advertising

Peter freely shared his experience and thoughts on getting the most out of the advertising we buy. He was very approachable, easy to understand and open to many questions afterwards from attendees. For example, he explained long-tail and short tail searches, which was useful to me in understanding the searching behaviour of those we would hope to attract to our website.

Points to remember:

  • Use both sides of any marketing materials you purchase, from business cards to flyers.
  • Use free Google tools.
  • Classified Advertisements often have a bigger return that large page advertisements. Hmmm…

Jacqueline McGonigle from WhatsOnNI on Bootstrapping Your Business

Jacqueline shared an honest, personal story of her efforts to get the business off the ground, including a little of her background in event promotion and design. Very down-to-earth and approachable, Jacqui had the audience laughing and eating out of her hand. The storytelling technique is very powerful; adults relates well to personal experience, especially when they can identify with some elements. It was great to see all the nice comments on Twitter afterwards, especially as Jacqui is also my second cousin! I’m very proud!

Points to remember:

  • Personal experience storytelling really makes an impact on an audience.
  • Sometimes the right decision is jumping right in there!

Niall McKeown from Ion Online Marketing on Creating Profitable Online Marketing Campaigns

Niall really made me think. He asked two difficult questions, How intelligent are you? and How creative are you?

His point was that it’s often OK to be considered intelligent, but few of us would admit to being creative. His premise is that you need to be both, but that creativity is more important. I’m still thinking about that one!

Points to remember:

  • Those in jobs based on processes are at risk of losing them.
  • Those in jobs based on kindness and altruism are more essential, therefore their jobs are less at risk.
  • Pay attention to your website content. Don’t get more caught up in the design than the content.

Lyra McKee from Digital Inc Technologies on Here’s to the Crazy Ones: Insane Internet Business Models and How They’re Changing the World And How to Make Them Work for Your Business

Watching Lyra’s talk was more insane than her title! She’s only 20 years’ old! She introduced me to fremium and how it just seems to work. This is something I need to research more.

Points to remember:

  • Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best.
  • Just because everyone else says it won’t work, doesn’t make it so.

Thomas O’Hagan from Comms Combined on Google Apps

Thomas delivered a credible case for using Google Apps in place of Microsoft programs as part of any business office suite. His explanations were short, simple and easy for anyone to understand.

Points to remember:

  • A hybrid-type arrangement is possible, with some users using all Google Apps, with others using them in combination with some Microsoft tools.
  • 25GB of storage is available.
  • The costs of currently set at £33 per user.

Congratulations to Nicola Bates and Chris McCabe for a very well organised and executed day.

If you attended, who was your favourite speaker, or part of the day? Answers on a comment please.

Update August 2010: BizCamp Belfast 2010 is coming!!