There’s always something to howl about

Unlocking the scenius of BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Phoenix, a hands-on, step-by-step, learn-by-doing guerrilla marketing boot camp

This came in by email, but I’m answering it publicly because I expect the question is fairly common:

I am a member of the Cyberprofessionals group. I was unable to attend the session in Orlando and therefore missed your presentation. I have read the materials about the upcoming event in Phoenix and I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about. From what I can see it’s going to be about blogging, and that’s great, but I have perhaps a more broad interest in social networking as well. I know some of the people involved may be experts in that. Could you give me some idea as to the time that is going to be devoted to each of the subject matters.

For a start, let me say that everything I’m saying right now is subject to change. We have some of this ironed out in detail, but much is still to be determined. Moreover, we’re pretty flexible in the way we think. The world we live in upends itself entirely every 15 months or so, and we’re always prepared to turn on a dime. Even so, BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Phoenix is going to break out something like this:

First, as I’ve said, the event is going to be a hands-on, step-by-step, learn-by-doing guerrilla marketing boot camp. Our students will be with us for 72 hours total, and out of that time, we could end up working 54 or more hours. We are going to take on every aspect of your marketing praxis, and we’re going to rebuild as much of it as we can in our time together. If you do the prep work your instructors are going to recommend, and if you come to Phoenix prepared to work, you’ll fly home exhausted but with a completely overhauled marketing profile — online, in the social graph, in print and face-to-face.

That’s ambitious, but we can pull it off because we intend to work like no other marketing conference you’ve ever been to or heard about. You are literally going to do the actual work you are learning about — as you learn about it. It won’t be a matter of taking notes you’ll never act upon. You’re going to overhaul every aspect of your marketing in your classes. You may have details to deal with after class or when you get back home, but you’ll be doing the big jobs in Phoenix — in class, after class, all night if that’s what it takes.

We’re working right now from a tentative calendar, itself subject to change. But for now, we’re thinking in terms of eight — or possibly as many as ten — three-hour “labs” — hands-on, step-by-step, learn-by-doing classes. Depending on where students shake out on the learning curve, we may have one track for the labs, or we might have two — a journeyman and a master track. Either way, labs will be broken into sections of no more than 25 students each. We’re going to cover a lot of material, and we want to make sure no one gets left behind.

There will also be programs during the day for the whole group — keynote speakers, for example — plus adequate time to catch up on work that didn’t get finished in class. We’re building a “scenius” — a communal genius — and we anticipate that people will find the workgroups that are most effective in helping everyone learn together.

Here are some of the topics we’ll be taking up in our labs:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Web Programming for Marketing
  • Direct Mail/Direct Response Marketing
  • The Art of Salesmanship
  • Digital Art, Photography and Print Production

The goal is for you to arrive in Phoenix with an overarching idea of the form you want your marketing to take. Then we’re going to work together to learn how to express those ideas in every conceivable form of marketing. This is not about blogging, and it’s not about social media marketing. What we’re talking about — what we’re always talking about — is blending online, print and personal marketing to make the sale.

I can’t tell you who is going to be teaching what, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be teaching the Web Programming sections. So for the journeyman track, we might start with building a solid weblog, incorporating both good SEO practices and good contact-management tools. From there we might discuss automated and dynamic content generation, perhaps building tools with the Scenius technology we perfected last week. I’d like to cover engenu, too, since it’s the fastest, cleanest way ordinary people can produce custom web sites — and since you can easily teach it to your teammates when you get home. For the master class, we might go into customization of WordPress weblogs, as well as building custom forms for data collection or for semi-automated content generation. For a thrill, we might go into building custom “skins” for engenu sites.

Now the interesting things is, if we did just that much — for three hours or for thirty hours — you might learn a lot, but it wouldn’t fit in all that well with the rest of your marketing. But imagine learning SEO in-depth from Eric Blackwell, then having the chance to implement what he just taught you on the weblog you’re building in my lab. Or applying the hackable CSS principles I’ll teach you when Cheryl Johnson is teaching you the straight dope on Cascading Style Sheets. Does color theory matter to your direct mail? Can you use a common copywriting theme to help your clients remember you when you come knocking on their doors?

Here’s what will happen, if you come to Unchained with your whole mind: Everything that you learn will have an impact on everything else that you’re learning. The killer keywords you learn for SEM are killer keywords for your listing presentation, too. SMM matters, but all sales is social, even something as seemingly solitary as preparing a postcard campaign. We want to teach you the kinds of work we are doing in our own practices, but we also want to teach you how we work, how everything can become a scenius if you see how completely united are the seemingly different things you do to market your business.

At a minimum, we want for you to go home having completely overhauled your marketing profile. But, if we can, we would like to send you home having overhauled yourself as a marketer.

And here’s the unutterably coolest thing of all: We’re students, too. Each one of our instructors will be an expert in the topic for that lab. But none of us are experts on all of this. We’ll teach what we know, but we’ll be the hungriest dawgs of all when it comes to wolfing down what other people know. If we get the whole thing right — the whole overarching scenius of the thing — we’ll create an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.

And when I lay it all out that way, I start to think we’re not charging enough. 😉

Note this, though: After one day of ticket sales, we’re more than ten percent sold out. If you plan to join us, assert yourself. This is going to take a boatload of work on our part, and, for that reason alone, it’s an unrepeatable opportunity.

P.S.: If you read the posts that Brian Brady and I put about BloodhoundBlog Unchained, you are watching us as we study and perfect the art of the Long-Copy Ad. Everything we do is marketing, and so everything we do presents us with the opportunity to get better as marketers. If you come to Phoenix and study hard, you’ll pick up this strand of thought or that thread of theory. On top of everything else you’ll learn, Brian and I want to teach you how to lash those threads into a stout rope that you can use to pull in all the business you can handle. That’s what marketing is for, after all…

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5 Comments so far

  1. Kevin Sandridge December 5th, 2008 7:23 am

    Greg, this event sounds amazing. So much of what we read and digest about marketing in the 21st Century falls in the “most of us will fail at this” category. The fruit develops – to a point – but dies on the vine.

    This Phoenix Unchained event is going give new meaning to “hands on” learning. It’s going to change lives.

  2. Teri Lussier December 5th, 2008 6:16 pm

    > It’s going to change lives.

    Isn’t that the coolest!?!? Kevin I agree. I’m taking this in, just like you, and it’s blowing my mind. Every time I hear more about these plans, I’m just thrilled. It’s like the lunch we had at Denny’s, but instead of talking, we’ll be doing for 72 hours, because I know from the house in Orlando that your brain will keep working through stuff while you sleep, make your coffee, get dressed, walk down the hall- your brain will not stop.

    Then, when you meet with someone else, who is having the same experience, and who’s brain has also been turning these same ideas over and over- and you start to talk about it, share your thoughts, build on it- then there’s even more to think about, improve, learn… It’s gonna rock worlds.

  3. Eric Blackwell December 6th, 2008 10:35 am

    @Kevin – “So much of what we read and digest about marketing in the 21st Century falls in the “most of us will fail at this” category.”

    Thanks for writing that Kevin. It is profound.

    There is NO reason that ANYONE has to fail. There are marketing principles that work in today’s environment…whether it is in SEO, SEM, Face to Face, Social Media, whatever. There are people out there who are having their best year yet. There is no reason that this cannot be you. We not only going to teach them, but implement them on site and at an amazing pace.

    This is gonna be fun in that I rarely (outside of private one on one consulting that I do) get the thrill of helping people actually fire up and take action on a marketing plan….where I know that they will succeed and I get to in the cockpit for the ride.

    What gets me excited about this is that I get to teach, to learn, to share, and to support people and see them make $$$ from it…

    What’s not to like?! (grin) This is as close as it gets to nirvana for me, and I am happy (and humbled)to be able to participate.

    Gonna be fun…

  4. […] glad that Greg Swann addressed the whole blogging question.  Today, I’m going to share with you,  the members of the CyberProfessionals group, the […]

  5. Brian Kinkade December 19th, 2008 10:03 am

    The Unchained in Phoenix sounds like an incredible event!

    I read great reviews and summary of this years event and personally knowing some of the presenters excites me even more.

    I most certainly putting this on my calendar for 2009.