Category Archives: Event Marketing

Posted On December 20th, 2016 by Crowded Ocean

Some new, some old: the latest lingo of Silicon Valley

It’s time once again for NEW WORDS and PHRASES bubbling up in Silicon Valley…

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 10.47.06 AMGAFA: the rest of the world looks upon the technology giants of the left coast (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) and simply refers to them as GAFA.

TAFT: the acronym for “tell them any frigging thing” was the unscrupulous sales practice at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the nation’s largest time-share operator.

Rat-fucking: made famous in the Watergate era, ratfucking was the term for dirty tricks instigated by Republican operatives on the campaign to re-elect Richard Nixon. Yes, the term is back.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 9.01.45 AMMechanical pixels: scientists are exploring a new display technology based upon graphene to build flexible, durable, energy efficient screens that are superior to LED screens.

Sexist algorithms: it turns out that there is a gender bias inherent in the data sets, called word embeddings, that are being used to train AI tools like chatbots, translation systems and recommendation engines.

culture, marketingPerfect forward secrecy: a security feature built into the end-to-end encryption of programs like WhatsApp that “future-proofs” your messages from new hacker attacks.

Posted On February 23rd, 2016 by Crowded Ocean

The 20×20 Rule for Startups

As part of every onboarding process, we get asked by the startup founding team what we think of trade shows. Implicit in that question (since most of them come from established companies who are frequent participants in trade shows) is: when do you think we’re ready to start exhibiting?

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 8.28.27 AMThe immediate answer (and remember: there are always exceptions) is: not yet, and probably not for a long time. The reasoning behind this answer is:

  1. Trade shows are cripplers for startups, from finding and customizing a rental booth to building a demo to staffing the show. It brings product development and early Sales to a grinding halt.
  2. A rental 10×10 booth (even in Startup Alley) makes you look small, perhaps even temporary.
  3. Trade show leads (in the opinion of most of the Sales guys we’ve worked with) don’t rank as highly as those from other sources, such as webinars or outbound e-blasts.

The exceptions to the rule are those events where everyone is given the same real estate, such as certain Gartner shows. Quality of lead is good and everyone’s in a 10×10.

So our counsel to our clients is this:

  • Stay off the show floor for as long as you can. Your time and money is better spent playing off-floor—renting a hotel suite and bringing clients and analysts there for a more controlled (and peaceful) environment.
  • If you’re determined to exhibit on the show floor, don’t go until you can afford a 20×20 booth. If you can afford a booth that size, Sales is probably established, the product is stable, and you’re large enough to staff the show without bringing your entire operation to a halt.


Posted On October 22nd, 2014 by Crowded Ocean

Kudos to Snowflake Computing on Launch Day

We’re pleased to salute the team at Snowflake Computing as they emerged from stealth and officially launched yesterday, October 21. Snowflake has pioneered a new data warehouse service from the ground up for the cloud.

snowflake launch teamStrong customer validation: We’re excited to have been part of the team, along with early customers like Conde Nast, Adobe, White Ops, Accordant Media and VoiceBase, who have embraced Snowflake’s fundamentally new approach and helped put this hot startup on the map.

snowflakelaunchPR rules: And we’re not alone in endorsing the huge potential of Snowflake. Press coverage from the NY Times to InfoWorld has been phenomenal. Check it out. Kudos to our PR team at Kulesa Faul.

And check out the sales resources we developed to help build demand and scale the company.

Sales-based marketing: In addition to the PR agency, we hired a virtual marketing team for Snowflake that included: a web design firm, digital marketing firm, SEO specialist, content writers, video producer, event producer, exhibit house and presentation designer.

Congratulations to the team: We’ve been working with Co-founders Benoit Dageville, Thierry Cruanes, Marcin Zukowski, CEO Bob Muglia and virtual Co-founder Jon Bock, VP of Product, since last April. It was thrilling to have helped launch the company and to be there yesterday to take a moment to celebrate with the team. Onward!


Posted On September 30th, 2013 by Crowded Ocean

New terminology in startup-land

New terms in Silicon Valley and startup-land appear every week and we like to share the new ones…have you heard of these?

Minimization – what the NSA says it does to filter out and protect the data of U.S. citizens before sharing its intelligence data with other nations. Contrary to that policy, The Guardian has reported that “pre-minimized” (or un-filtered) data was shared by the U.S. with Israel.

Contact chaining – the NSA describes a strategy of linking communications data (phone and email logs) with other data from public and commercial sources to develop a rich profile of a person or organization targeted for foreign intelligence interest.

HUD – more of our mobile devices are going to come with “heads up display” (or HUD) capabilities to protect drivers accessing maps and other info on the move.

Lurkersvisitors to your blog or social media channels who consume content but who do not respond or engage.

Hashspeak – the cloying habit of verbalizing keywords or topics which are commonly earmarked with a hashtag – the convention of Twitter and Facebook – when written.

Posted On May 6th, 2013 by Crowded Ocean

Startup Marketing and Whatever Happened to Virtual Events?

Two or three years ago, if you’d given us a thousand dollars and told us to invest in a new technology, one industry that we would have seriously thought of plunking our money down on would have been ‘Virtual Events’. Humanity + Virtual RealityWith the web becoming more and more visually ‘real’ and event budgets being the first item slashed in downturning economies, these hosted environments looked like the next big thing.

Fast-forward to today and we’re seeing our clients once again budgeting for physical events, from DreamForce and Oracle World to small, industry-specific events. As noted in previous blogs, we don’t advise our clients to attend trade shows in the traditional manner:  invest in a booth, bring your company to a halt in prep for the show as well as during the show, not to mention the image that a 10×10 booth projects to prospects. Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 1.47.20 PMIt’s poor ROI, from our vantage point. What we do counsel them to do is to consider attending these shows and conducting their business ‘off-floor’, in suites where they can control the environment and look bigger than they are. And we have channel-focused clients that we encourage to participate in critical shows and conferences via their partner’s booth rather than their own.

Where does that leave virtual events?  Still trying to prove themselves, in our opinion.  We’ll keep an eye on them, to be certain, but we still think webinars and off-floor event participation is a better ROI for our



Posted On March 4th, 2013 by Crowded Ocean

Startup Marketing — Tradeshows versus Events

Part of our job is launching our startup clients. And many of them have grown up with the idea that you need to launch around a specific event. This is erroneous thinking, but if the timing of your launch coincides with a major industry event, we’re all for it.netcitadel demosuitefeb2013rsa

Which brings us to the question of trade shows. Bottom line for us:  exhibiting at a tradeshow for a startup is a poor ROI, in our opinion, and we counsel against it. The most our clients can afford is a 10×10, which hardly screams ‘major player’. And, in addition to the cost of the booth, preparing a trade show usually brings the company to a halt for the two weeks prior to the event, the week of the event, and the week after. Our counsel to our clients is to attend the trade show or event, but to conduct their business off-floor, in a suite or at an alternative venue. Our client NetCitadel did just that at last week’s RSA tradeshow, hosting demos in their suite and then an event in a local bookstore, both of which were well attended and productive for generating new leads.

In terms of allocating precious marketing dollars well in the early days of a startup, post-launch, we wrote about some of the considerations here, including sponsorships and thought leadership opportunities at events.

Posted On August 6th, 2012 by Crowded Ocean

Campaign Slogans Can Be Arresting

The Obama team kicked off a new campaign slogan last week and it’s a single word:  “Forward.” The punctuation sticklers are going a bit nutty over the fact that this one-word slogan includes a period at the end of it.

As marketing campaigns go, we like it because it is exactly what a slogan should be:  arresting, memorable and – whether you lean red or blue politically – positive. You stop and take note. That period after the single word makes you stop. And if you’re keeping score out there, “Forward.” is an extension of Obama’s “Change” campaign of 2008.

What is unfortunate is that the media already went nutty over liberal-minded MSNBC that kicked off its marketing campaign earlier this year: Lean Forward. Maybe the general voting public won’t notice the obvious parallel, but this can’t help Obama appeal to the middle-of-the-road out there. And you can bet that GOP campaign operatives and the ranting pundits over at Fox News will make a big damn deal about it. Welcome to the next 100 days of presidential campaigning!