Monday, April 04, 2011

2011 International Space Development Conference in Social Media

One thing I picked up through 12 years of working at the Walt Disney World Resort is how powerful pervasive marketing can be. This means getting the attention of potential guests (customers) wherever they may be. Think about it: you have to go very far out of your way NOT to see a Disney commercial. In the 21st century, one place our most likely potential customers will be is on the internet.

Conference marketing has changed dramatically. The costs in paper mailings might be reduced by working with electrons, but the sheer breadth of the internet means that just having a web site is no longer enough. You have to have a presence in multiple areas, go where your most likely customers are, and be able to generate that most elusive of viral marketing phenomena: buzz.

From early on in our planning, we have made a conscious effort to embrace and leverage social media to market ISDC 2011. In addition to our primary website (, we have expanded to the following arenas as well:

Twitter (short messages and updates)
User ID: @ISDC
Hashtag: #ISDC

Facebook (longer messages and pictures)

LinkedIn (broadcasting to a professional audience) (for press releases and other information) (for merchandise sales)

These are merely our storefront sites. We can't overlook the valuable use of email bulletins to our NSS Chapters mailing list as well as NSS's Downlink. We also have been encouraging NSS members to "Like" or "friend" the various ISDC sites, as well as discuss the conference and link to it on their personal blogs, which builds greater visibility for our existing sites.

It doesn't hurt to have a little fun with this effort now and then. Through my connection with Darlene Cavalier, the Science Cheerleader, ISDC 2011 was able to get a welcome video from the Science Cheerleaders for our site home page. The trick, as always, is to keep people interested, and keep our content dynamic and interesting. Part of that derives from the conference's speakers and activities, part of it comes from the way we package things. If you have ideas that we haven't tried (and don't cost a whole lot), please let me know at ISDC2011.Chair at That's another advantage of internet-based marketing: quick collaboration and correction if things aren't working.

Print media are not going away. We have ads to post in Space News and other related publications, as well as traditional press releases, flyers, patches, stickers, and business cards for in-person contacts. But let there be no doubt: with a tech-savvy audience, we need to keep the tech-heavy internet front and center in our future efforts.

Bart Leahy is Chairman of the 2011 nternational Space Development Conference

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