Social Marketing Solutions and One Woman's Journey to the Dark Side
Social Marketing Solutions and One Woman's Journey to the Dark Side30-Apr-2015
Tamar Beck never intended to work for a technology company. After 15 years with global giant Reed Exhibitions, she decided to take a career pause to spend time with her small children. After a few months, a brief consulting job introduced her to the world of startups and social marketing for events. Now she spends her time evangelizing to marketers who, like her, would never have given any thought whatsoever to software that mines social data for new registrants and insights.
As the director of Reed’s IT exhibition portfolio in the UK, Beck admits that profit and loss, not technology, were her top priorities. “I just worked with what I had in front of me and rarely, rarely ever had the time and probably quite honestly the inclination to look at a different way of doing things,” she says. Nevertheless, she and her team constantly brainstormed about how to grow the shows. “I don’t remember ever looking for technology to help me with that.”
Now that she is the CEO of GleanIn, a UK-based developer of social marketing solutions for exhibitions and professional events, she understands the potential of technology. She uses her experience at Reed to connect with kindred spirits, who like she was, are trying to find new attendees, convert pre-registrants, get exhibitors to spend more on space, and find new revenue. “I’ve been on their side. I understand some of the pain, some of the issues, and also some of the good stuff,” she explains.
Part of what Beck can relate to is the lack of incentive for trying anything new. In [large] events, we just tend to have our heads down all the time cranking the wheel and doing the same stuff. As long as it kind of just about works OK, we get away with it,” she says. In many organizations, there’s really no reward for innovating. “I’ve never met a ‘marketeer’ who is likely to be fired for achieving even a sub-standard result as long as they’ve followed the tried-and-true methods.”
At the time that Beck was leaving Reed, the founders of GleanIn, one of whom is an ex co-founder of Bebo, a once-popular social network that has reinvented itself into a smartphone app developer, had begun experimenting with social data. While they were initially intrigued with the Twitter chatter about the Arab Spring uprisings, they began to notice how thousands of people were also discussing the World Travel Market, a major London trade show. As a result, they switched their focus toward events.
When Beck came into contact with the GleanIn founders prior to the firm’s launch in July 2012, she immediately understood how a tool that could help trade show organizers leverage social data would be extremely useful. “At Reed, it was so difficult for us to understand what the value of Twitter was. It was really difficult for us to manage it and it was very very difficult for us to articulate [to senior-level executives] what the value of Twitter was,” she admits.
GleanIn’s two main products, GleanIn Monitor and GleanIn WebReg.Me sift through social data to identify meaningful connections. They mine Twitter and LinkedIn to, for example, “discover which stakeholders are the most influential in converting someone to a registration, which participants are followed by the most people who have registered, and which registrants are followed by the most relevant people who have not registered,” Beck says. Organizers use the information to personalize their marketing and advertising campaigns and help exhibitors make connections.
For someone who, just a couple of years ago, considered herself the least likely person to work for a technology company, Tamar Beck has come a long way. Despite the slow-moving culture of the exhibition industry, GleanIn has found success with its anchor solutions and is in the process of launching several new products: SocialAds, SocialEmail, and SocialWidgets. “We have an ambition to change the way organizers market their events. Some won’t change until they feel pain,” Beck says. No one knows that better than she does.