Developing an Effective Speaker Program


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Thought Leadership is an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. As the credibility and influence of traditional advertising, direct and telemarketing continues to wane, marketers are increasingly turning to methods that highlight capabilities in advance of a direct sales engagement. Public relations, social media and public speaking are among the ways companies can establish their expertise and generate positive impressions with prospects before the first sales call.

Speaking programs are an excellent way to build credibility and demonstrate thought leadership in an increasingly competitive market. Developing an effective speaking program takes time and effort, but there are ways to jumpstart the effort.

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Developing an Effective Speaker Program

  1. 1. Developing an Effective Speaker Program Steve Susina, Director of Marketing 630.521.8932 March 4, 2008 ©2008 Laurus Technologies, Inc.
  2. 2. How did I get involved? Speeches on the Event Calendar: Circa 2002 5 4 3 2 1 0 Steve Susina Rest of Tellabs I only did it so I could go to conferences! 2 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  3. 3. Benefits of Speaking Programs: Thought Leadership > Prospects want to buy—not to be sold. > Information empowers prospects to enter into relationships with their vendors as informed and knowledgeable consumers > Trust is built before the initial meeting PhotoCredit: 3 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  4. 4. Becoming Known > Increasingly, customers won’t start building the relationship with you until they know more about you > Customers want to learn from trusted experts > Presenting at conferences, trade shows and other venues serve as a proxy for vetting the expertise Irony—customers want to know you before they’ll even accept a meeting to get to know you! 4 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  5. 5. How to establish a speaking program: > Have something interesting or worthwhile to say. > Find speakers who are authentic, enthusiastic, reasonably well spoken. Write a strong bio, including all prior speeches. > Have something interesting or worthwhile to say. > Encourage speakers to start at the bottom tier events—even if they’re the VP. 5 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  6. 6. How to establish a speaking program (Con’t) > Have something interesting or worthwhile to say. > Develop a list of target events, then widen your net and look further > Have something interesting or worthwhile to say. > Document each and every speaking opportunity in which your staff participates. > Have something interesting or worthwhile to say. 6 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  7. 7. Things to keep in mind > Build one area of expertise per speaker > Focus on positioning them as an expert > If no experience, start with “pay for play” > Spend time up front to develop 3 or 4 different abstracts > Examples > Business benefits > Technology primer > Evolution of the Technology/Market/Customer > Implementation best practices/case studies > Work with the expert to understand where s/he wants to present > Type of events > Geography > Audience demographics 7 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  8. 8. The Three Page Abstract: > Page 1: > FULL contact information, Speaker and Administrative contact (you) > Two or three paragraph description of the speech > The Key Phrase: > “In this presentation, the audience will learn:” > Followed by 3-5 bullet-points of specific audience benefits > Page 2: > A full page justification for the speech > More detail, background. > Page 3: > A detailed bio, including education and personal background > A listing of recent public speaking opportunities 8 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  9. 9. Locating Events to pitch > Trade Publication calendars > Your competition’s “News & Events” page > Catchpole’s weekly newsletter > Google > Subject topic + “call for papers” or “call for presentations” > Event producers > Marcus Evans > IIR > Your PR firm > Local chapter contacts of professional organizations > Schools > Conferences & Trade show organizers The wall between the conference producer and the exhibit sales staff is often thin (if it exists at all)! 9 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  10. 10. Post-event marketing opportunities > Post the slide deck on your web site as a resource > Record the speech for a podcast/online video > Develop a white paper around the speech > Send a letter to customers offering to deliver a “command performance” if they missed the conference or trade show > Incorporate the content into your Newsletter > Call attention to your speeches as evidence of your thought leadership 10 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  11. 11. Social media opportunities: > > Post slidedecks online, integrate with LinkedIn > LinkedIn > What are you working on? > “Finalizing presentation on Developing An Effective Speaker Program to present at Illinois Tech. Assn. Chicago tomorrow.” > Twitter > “Presenting at the Illinois Technology Association tomorrow on Developing an Effective Speaker Program.” > > Speaker rating service for audience members. 11 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  12. 12. Results? Speeches on the Tellabs Event Calendar 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 2002 2004 Same approach at UTStarcom led to 11 speeches in 2006-07 on FMC product line—8 for me, 3 for others 12 Laurus Technologies Confidential
  13. 13. 13 Laurus Technologies Confidential