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10 Tips I learned at the marketing conference

marketing conference

I have just been to an amazing marketing conference in Norway. I’m not sure how to describe how excited I still am, but I have been to a three hour seminar with Gary Vaynerchuck, and I have been watching people like Chris Brogan, Avinash Kaushik, Bryan Eisenberg, Alex Bogusky and Mari Smith on stage.

I have been to Oslo and the Gulltaggen conference for three days, and yes, it was amazing.

During the conference, I have learned a lot of things about marketing and even some things about myself. I love conferences, at the same time I feel that I don’t belong.

I have at least ten valuable tips that I want to share with you.

Number 1 – Work everywhere

I have been reading books like getting things done, and focus, and I have been looking at many different time management methods, but there’s one thing I haven’t considered at all.

First, let me just say that I went to the conference with nothing but my iPhone, a pen and a notepad. More than 1500 people attended the conference, and I’m not kidding when I say that it looked like most of them had the newest iPad or a MacBook Air (well, I’m only exaggerating a little).

What I discovered was that all the speakers, like Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck, was working on their laptops while sitting among the audience. It didn’t seem like any of the well-known marketers spent any time to relax or just look around. They were focused, on what was happening on stage and on working. When Chris Brogan was on stage, he even showed the index chards that he keeps in his pocket.

I’ve never been like that, but it made me think.

Number 2 – Trust

Chris Brogan is awesome, and he was a lot funnier on stage than I had imagined. I still haven’t read his book, Trust Agents, but I am going to.

Not only, Chris, but it seems that in one way or the other, all the speakers talked about trust. Trust is probably the most important part of business. We don’t do business with people we don’t trust.

So, the point is, how do we gain trust?

I’ll be answering this in a second.

Number 3 – Sharing

I am not sure who said this, but someone did.

Everything that can be shared will be shared.

You know this already, and I know this. So, what are we going to do about it? Well, the sooner we start sharing, the better the chances are for us to become successful.

Number 4 – Helping

When we share, we’re also helping. Think about that.

Chris Brogan said something like when we publish anything on Facebook, we should help someone 50% of the time and not just be talking about ourselves. When we tweet, the ratio should be 12:1, retweet someone elses tweets 12 times for every tweet about yourself or something you’ve written.

Number 5 – Networking

A conference, and especially a conference about marketing, is just as much about networking and meeting other people, as it is about what’s happening on stage.

I watched all the business people talking, and I saw them exchanging business cards and I even listened in on a few conversations. But, I didn’t participate.

I’m shy.

When I saw Chris Brogan and Gary Vaynerchuck just standing there, all I did was look. I could have walked up to them and said hi, and I loved your book or your blog or something. But, I’m shy. So, I just kept watching all the other people talk to them.

Number 6 – Immediacy

I have thought about this for a while, especially since launching a Facebook Page for the college where I work. When we publish anything, it takes minutes, and sometimes seconds before the first reaction. And then, a few hours later, it all stops.

It seems that no matter what we’re doing online, it’s about instant involvement. The speed is lightning fast. It’s about presence, and if we’re not there at the right time, we’re losing.

Think about it, it’s happening on Facebook, on blog comments, and on Twitter. If we’re not responding at the right time (being fast), it’s like we never responded.

Number 7 – Knowledge

All of the speakers at the marketing conference were brilliant. They are among the best in the world at what they do. They talked about the latest trends in marketing, and presented their work.

I found it interesting to discover that I actually did know a lot of what they presented. I have had a gut feeling, and during the conference the feeling turned into an awesome feeling.

During the conference, I felt good about myself, and all the things I had already learned prior to the conference. It’s a great feeling, and it’s an important feeling. A conference is not just about learning, but to discover what you already know.

Number 8 – Action

Many of the speakers looked at the audience, me included, and said that one of the most important things in marketing is to take action. Don’t just think about what you’re going to do, do it.

I know. This is a simple advice, but a very important one. I know from experience, that after a conference, I get so many ideas, and usually I have written them all down. But when I get back to the office, I hardly open up the notepad and look at the ideas.

Number 9 – Listen

I don’t talk much. I didn’t before the conference, and now, after I’ve attended this conference, I might actually talk even less.

What I learned about listening, is that we should listen first, and then talk. It’s important to follow conversations, join them, and help out. Not be the one doing all the talking and starting the conversations.

Join and help. Do it on Twitter, do it on blogs, do it on discussion forums, on Facebook or whatever.

Number 10 – Relationships

Presence is important, really important. We’re on Facebook, we’re on Twitter, we’re on blogs, we’re everywhere, and we’re always online – because immediacy matters.

But, we should understand that web 2.0 or social media or whatever it’s called is still about people. We should become personal, and we should become friends. I have had a hard time to understand social media as a way to actually be social. Until now.

I especially remember when Gary Vaynerchuck said that Chris Brogan and Mari Smith are really good friends of his, but he had only spent about 9 minutes with them offline (he was making a joke, but also making a very interesting point).

When we are online, we create relationships, relationships that lasts a lifetime, without ever meeting people as we used to.

It’s important to understand that online relationships are becoming almost as important as offline relationships (and for many people, even more important).

53 responses to “10 Tips I learned at the marketing conference”

  1. Melvin says:

    Wow, great recap. makes me wanna feel ashamed of my version of a conference recap that I did couple of weeks back. 😉

    I envy you because you were able to attend this conference with these caliber of speakers. Hopefully they will think of coming here in Asia as well.

    • jens says:

      Hi Melvin,

      I really enjoyed your recap, so you shouldn’t be ashamed at all. But thanks a lot for the kind words.

      I couldn’t belive my eyes when I read that all of these brilliant people were going to be at the conference. It was awesome.

      They should go to Asia, if I was a speaker, I would prefer Asia to Norway 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your comment Melvin.

  2. Sean M Kelly says:

    Great article Jens, I can feel your enthusiasm buzzing through it. Thanks for writing it.

    Best wishes
    The Irish Inspirational Blogger

  3. Warren says:

    Sounds like it was an amazing conference, and you got a lot out of it! 🙂

    Your excitement definitely comes through the article! Nice!

    • jens says:

      Hi Warren,

      Thanks a lot. Yes, I am still very excited about this conference. I couldn’t believe that people like Gary V and Chris Brogan was among the speakers.

      – Jens

  4. Warren says:

    I’ve never been to one yet, but I can tell you after reading this I’m excited to find one in my area (Calgary, AB).

    Sounds like an amazing experience. I’ll make sure to blog about it when I find one to attend! 🙂

    • jens says:

      You should, it’s a great way to meet people (if you’re not shy like me) and if the conference is good you’ll meet some of the best people in the business.

      I would love to go to one of the big conferences in the US, like Blog World in New York. Maybe next year 🙂

  5. Adrienne says:

    Ah Jens, I feel your excitement. Don’t you love going to conferences like these and hearing some amazing speakers and then what you take away from that is you knew a LOT more than you thought you did! It’s a learning experience and this will help you grow even more.

    My #1 problem (when I’m speaking to someone face to face) is listening to them before I speak. I’m full of energy and bubbly so I’m definitely a talker. I love helping people but I need to let them get it ALL out before I open my mouth. I’m still working on that one. It might take me forever but I’ll get there. I’m definitely not shy so that’s never been an issue with me. LOL!!!

    I love reading your recap and I’m going to be sharing this post with everyone I know. So glad you had a great time and hope I can hear these same people in my near future as well.

    Thanks again.


    • jens says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      That’s exactly one of my points, It was a wonderful feeling when I understood that I actually knew a lot more than I thought 🙂

      As long as you know what your number 1 problem is, you certainly know a lot more than most people 🙂 I love to talk to people full of energy, and as long as they start talking, I feel comfortable and then I am not shy either. But, most of the time it feels like I have to be the one contacting them and they’ll wait for me to talk.

      I’d love to attend the Blog World conference in New York in May, but maybe next year.

      Thanks a lot for your awesome comment.

      – Jens

  6. Bob Watson says:

    Hi Jens,

    By far, this is one of the best blog posts I have read this month. It is clearly a blueprint for what everyone should focus on learning and taking away from every conference. Great job! BTW-Love your entire blog! Bob

    • jens says:

      Hi Bob,

      Wow, that’s awesome. Thank you so much.

      I got so inspired by attending the conference, so hopefully you’ll see a lot of cool stuff happening here the next weeks – well, if I can only get a publisher to accept my novel 🙂

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      – Jens

  7. Leslie says:

    Thank you Jens for an excellent recap of key principles for building and maintaining online relationships. The biggest challege for digital/online relationships is that the “human” connection – face-to-face – gets lost. Your list of tips keeps us human in the online world. Good job!

    🙂 Leslie

    • jens says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words.

      I agree with you, the biggest challenge is the “human” connection in the online world. But as Gary Vaynerchuck said, it’s a very important one, and in fact, a lot of people consider some of their best friends to be people they only meet online. So, we should just keep trying hard to become more personal. That’s what matters.

      Thanks again for your awesome comment.

  8. Dino Dogan says:

    Great list dude…I esp liked the first one. I do work everywhere….whenever I have a moment, I connect or even if there is no Internet connection, Im working locally on a future post or something. That was a great observation…

    • jens says:

      Hi Dino,

      I am trying to work everywhere as well, but I suck at it. I can’t decide how I am going to work. If I am just going to take notes on my iPhone or if I should bring my laptop and write blog posts or what I should be doing. It seems that the easiest way for me to get things done when I am not at my office, is to use Evernote on my iPhone.

      Do you bring your computer with you at all times (or at least most of the time when you think you’ll get a few minutes to do some work)?

      Thanks a lot for your awesome comment Dino.

      • Dino Dogan says:

        Yup..I sure do. I ALWAYS have my laptop with me. I dont have kind-of-working-but-not-really mode. I have all my shit with me at all times (or as close as I can get it)

        • jens says:

          That’s interesting and something I should definitively try. What kind of laptop do you have? Is it a MacBook Air? I have a 17″ Macbook Pro, and it’s kind of big when it comes to having it with me at all times 🙂

          • Dino Dogan says:

            Dude..I have the same big ass Macbook pro…its no big deal. You pack it up and strap it onto your back. It works your glutes lol

            • jens says:

              Ok Dino, I’m going to try it, just because you are doing it. I’ll let you know what it feels like 🙂

              I always believed that the people who are carrying their laptops with them at all times have the Macbook Air or some type of netbook. I have thought about buying an iPad just so I can be online and work at all times… but I’ll try the big ass Macbook pro first 🙂

  9. Suresh Khanal says:

    Great tips, they are really true to be successful in anything you do. You got a lot from the seminar and glad you shared it with us. I feel if I got some out of your experience.

    Trust, helping, sharing and networking – really the best tools.

    • jens says:

      Hi Suresh,

      That’s great. I love sharing, and I really enjoy feedback like this. To me, a conference is all about finding the small details in what the speakers are saying and looking at what people in the audience (and the speakers are doing). I learn a lot by just viewing and listening to what’s happening.

      I’m really bad at networking though, I wish I would start talking to people at conferences 🙂

      Thanks for your support Suresh, I really appreciate it.

  10. Ada says:

    Thanks for an excellent recap for what sounds like a great marketing conference. What a great list of tips. It’s a really good observation that most of the people at conferences these days are packing technology while you adopted the low-tech approach.

    I’d be curious on whether or not one of your takeaways learned is that you’d actually benefit from carrying around electronics? Or do you think that would get in the way of listening and learning while you’re checking your email at an event?

    • jens says:

      Hi Ada,

      I adopted the low-tech approach because I feel better focusing when I only have a notepad and a pen. When I have a laptop or an iPad (although I haven’t used an iPad yet) I always start doing something else, like checking e-mail, Twitter, Facebook or whatever.

      Since I only had my iPhone as a way to connect to the Internet, I didn’t do much with it, other than check e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, but not as much as I would have been doing with a laptop 🙂

      I will probably be doing the same at the next conference, but that’s because I tend to get unfocused when I use my computer. It looked like the speakers at the conference all had their laptops, but they are used to focusing on their work while doing other things. I suck at this.

      I discovered a guy in front of me, and he was not paying attention to anything at the stage. He was all over the Internet, checking prices on books and writing e-mails and he was in fact making me lose focus as well – but I got used to it.

      So, I believe that it all depends if you can focus with your computer and people on stage.

      Thanks a lot for your awesome comment Ada.

      – Jens

  11. Brian says:

    Hello Jens,
    Read your post after my friend Bob (earlier reply) shared it. You make great observations and I too come away from certain conferences very excited and pumped up and then, within a couple days I am pulled back into the working world by client demands and my focus shifts away from what I learned and wanted to implement. Thanks for letting me share this again through you and you have inspired me to open a notebook from a previous event.

    • jens says:

      Hi Brian,

      Taking action is one of the hardest part after coming home from a conference. We’re so full of ideas and impressions, and then, a few days after, we’ve forgotten all about them. Because there are usually so many things happening at work.

      I have decided to have one day of the week where I’ll spend many hours just looking into past projects, ideas and notes. That helps a lot.

      It’s awesome that Bob shared my post, and that it inspired you to open your notebook. Thanks a lot for letting me know, it makes me feel even better about the conference 🙂

      – Jens

  12. Natalie Sisson says:

    Fantastic post, really enjoyed reading about your experience at that conference and it’s fantastic you’re riding the wave of energy from it.

    I find really great conferences excellent for inspiring me to take even more action. You’ve hit on such a valid point though – you listen first, speak second. Quite possibly one of the most underrated yet most valued skills to have.

    Even Gary V talks about how he built his empire by visiting every forum, day and night to listen to what people were saying on these forums, then engaging with them and drawing them back to his site.

    Very smart, and as you say you do already know a lot of what they were talking about. I find the same thing – the difference between them is that they have taken massive action on this front, whereas many others will read and learn as much as they can and then never do anything with all that knowledge.

    I thought it was interesting you noted how they worked the whole time even when in the audience. I went to the Web 2.0 Conference sometime back and felt bad for actually trying to strike up conversation with people at tables! They were all so engrossed in their laptop and retweeting people – yet those very people were right there in front of them!


    • jens says:

      Hi Natalie,

      I can’t believe how much people like Gary V is working. I remember at the 3-hour seminar, he told us that he had been travelling for 18 hours to get to Norway and the hotel. He was a little tired, so he wasn’t full of energy like he usually is (that was his words, not mine).

      When he finished the 3-hour seminar he went to the hotel room and did a video for his wine library tv, before going to bed. The same with Chris Brogan, he wrote a blog post about the passion of Gary V while he was in the audience watching Gary V on stage. Amazing.

      Thanks a lot for your awesome comment Natalie.

      – Jens

  13. Carolyn says:

    Hi Jens, Have you considered that perhaps you were able to write such a fantastic blog post precisely because you were taking notes on a notepad with a pen and not with a laptop? You were not distracted by the sirens of the internet but were able to focus on what was being said and process the information while you were at the conference.

    If it works for you, don’t worry about what others are doing. You’re doing great with your methods.

    That being said, I would suggest that you check out the iPad to supplement your iPhone use. I think you will enjoy the larger screen of the iPad and its easy portability. I wouldn’t say the iPad is the ideal device for taking notes, but if you stick with pen and a notepad for note taking, the lack of a physical keyboard shouldn’t be a problem.

    I can completely relate to your reaction to networking at the conference. I am shy too and there is nothing more intimidating than a large room full of strangers I’m supposed to connect with.

    When I’m in that situation, I try to look for someone else who seems to be feeling the same way. There is always someone else who is feeling shy and they’re easy to spot. I approach them with a big smile and a friendly word and soon we’re talking.

    Of your ten tips, the one I related to the most was the one about helping others. As I read blog posts, it is usually apparent whether the author is trying to help others or self-promote. But I never thought about that perspective for tweets and Facebook posts.

    Thanks so much for a thought-provoking, educational and informative post!

    • jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Actually, I ended up not taking any notes at all. But, I watched everything and I was very focused. So, I ended up taking a lot of mental notes. And I probably wouldn’t have done that with my laptop. I would have checked email and Twitter all the time.

      I agree when it comes to the one tip that I find easiest to relate to. Helping out is what it’s all about, and it’s so much fun as well. Reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk makes me want to help even more 🙂

      Thanks a lot for your brilliant comment Carolyn.

      – Jens

  14. Jens, wow man, look at all this great conversation going on here in the comments section. Awesome man, really wonderful

    Personally, I just loved this post. You gave such wonderful insights, especially to a guy like me that very, very much wanted to be there but obviously couldn’t be.

    #1 was amazing insight as well. Work, work, work. Crazy but true man.

    This was one of your best Jens. Hope your fires continues to burn bright. 🙂


    • jens says:

      Hi Marcus,

      I am stunned, this post has received a lot of comments. It’s awesome. And I have hardly been online for a few weeks.

      At the moment I am at a easter holiday for a week, and I have driven across Norway with my family. So, I have just had a few minutes to get online to approve new comments and answer them.

      I am going to start working as soon as the holiday is over, and I am going to work hard to get things done. I’m going to get the novel published, and then I am doing to write a few marketing reports, and after that I am going to start on my second novel. So, I have a lot of things to do 🙂

      Thanks again for your awesome comments Marcus.

  15. jens says:


    I live in Norway, and I love it here, but I find it even more exciting to be in the US or at least someplace less cold 🙂

    … but I have been driving across the country for my easter holiday, and wow, I have to admit that Norway is beautiful 🙂

    I have learned a lot from the conference, and I feel that it’s only about taking action. That I don’t just continue to read and take notes. Now it’s the time to start doing something and executing my ideas.

    Thanks a lot for your comment. Much appreciated.

  16. Usman says:

    Glad you’re able to atleast attend conferences even with notepad, in our place there is no conference to attend. 🙁

    • jens says:

      Hi Usman,

      Yes, you are absolutely right. I’ve always thought that I had to travel to the US in order to attend any of the good marketing conferences, and I was thrilled when I saw that it was possible to attend one in Norway… just a few hours away from where I live.

      Where do you live?

      • Usman says:

        Jens its pleasure for you then, I live in Pak and its hard for me to attend conference or travel there for conference.

        • jens says:

          Yes, that’s true. Hopefully you’ll get the chance to go to one sometime soon. Isn’t there any conferences in Pakistan, or are you living too far away from them?

          I talked to Melvin from the Philippines. He just attended a fairly large conference there. So, it seems that there are conferences like this many places and not just in the US anymore.

          Have you attended various webinars? There are many good ones, not the same as a conference though.

  17. Lisa Lavis says:

    Wonderful summary, thank you. I’m shy too (but mask it well!)

    • jens says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words. I discovered that it’s easy to attend conferences even for shy people like us 🙂

      – Jens

  18. Danny says:

    Appreciate your summary of the marketing coference. I’ve always wanted to attend here in the states but always find excuses not to, but after reading your article, I will be attending one soon. Great advise on with the different steps to marketing!

    • jens says:

      Hi Danny,

      There are so many awesome conferences in the US. I’m not sure, but if I lived in the US, I would probably attend Blog World and content marketing world (and probably several others as well).

      Thanks a lot for your comment, and I hope that you’ll share which conferences you are going to attend and what you’ll learn from them.

      – Jens

  19. jens says:


    I haven’t been to many conferences, but the ones I’ve attended have been fairly good. To me, it’s not always about the speakers, but it’s also about understanding what’s happening in your business – because you can get this kind of knowledge by being at the conference and talking to people or like I do, just listen to what they talk about 🙂

    Thanks a lot for the comment.

    – Jens

  20. Mahi says:

    Thanks sharing this article I think this types of articles very helpful for IT person and campaign.
    Here they my software buys sell and IT service website

  21. Terje Sannarnes says:

    This post clearly confirms the fact that it is extremely helpful for marketers and entrepreneurs to visit marketing conferences. First of all, you get highly valuable experience meet interesting people and develop your skills. So, you should use any such an opportunity.

  22. John says:

    Thanks for sharing what you have learned. You share it immediately here in
    your blog.. more blessing to your blog.

  23. Mahesh Rathi says:

    Excellent. Every blogger should read this and get valuable information, even if s/he is not blogging a conference.
    Keep up the good work Jens.

  24. jens says:

    Thanks a lot for your feedback 🙂


  25. Anita says:

    Hi Jens,
    Sounds like you had a blast! I hope I’ll be able to attend a conference by Gary Vaynerchuck one day. I like him a lot and LOVED his book “crush it”. Thanks for sharing your 10 wonderful tips.

    have a good day,

    • jens says:

      Hi Anita,

      Gary Vaynerchuck is brilliant, you should definitively go see him if you have the chance. I learned a lot. Crush it was awesome, and so was the thank you economy.

      Thanks a lot for comment, and enjoy your summer 🙂


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