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  • The September/October 2018 (20th Anniversary) Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News Now Available +


    The September/October 2018 issue of Corbin's TechTalk Newsletter  is out providing the latest in technology to nearly 9,000 events, tradeshows and hospitality professionals in over 70 countries. This issue is packed with articles, links, videos and ideas on how you can use technology to improve the business process for events and tradeshows. 

    In this issue:

    • NEW ARTICLE: Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality
Read More
  • Corbin to Chair IBTM's Technology and Innovation Watch Award for the 15th Year. +

    This award is the longest running and one of the event industry's most significant award recognizing technology innovation - the "Academy Awards" of events technology. I am very pleased to I have been asked again to chair the judging committee. This award is a great opportunity for technology companies to show their new stuff and get a free booth at IBTM
    Read More
  • Corbin to be Inducted into the EIC Hall of Leaders +

    Corbin Ball, together with Henry Givray, Edward Liu, and Deborah Sexton will be inducted into the Event Industry Council's Hall of Leaders for 2018, the most prestigious honor in the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry.  The awards celebration will occur on October 16, 2018 in Las Vegas during IMEX America. 
         Personal note: I feel tremendously honored and
    Read More
  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 21st Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say there are many Read More

  • Corbin Named as One of the Top 30 CMP Influencers by the CIC +

    I am very happy and honored to be included with 29 other colleagues in this first peer-nominated influencers campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Certified Meeting Professionals (CMP) program. 
    As the 30th anniversary year of the Certified Meeting Professional Program began, the Convention Industry Council (CIC), which administers the program, wanted to recognize this milestone by honoring the CMPs
    Read More
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    Latest Articles

    • 1 Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption
    • 2 Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events
    • 3 Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events
    • 4 As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same
    • 5 Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019
    • 6 Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
    • 7 Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change
    • 8 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events
    • 9 Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance
    • 10 Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered
    • 11 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
    • 12 Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?
    • 13 Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges
    • 14 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch
    • 15 The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows
    • Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption

      © 2018 Corbin Ball The twisting of reality is becoming common practices in the meeting, tradeshow, event and exhibition world. By using an ever-evolving array of technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, users can enter worlds created from scratch to entertain, provide demonstrations and eventually sell a
      Read More
    • Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events

      Editors note: As part of the 20th anniversary issue of TechTalk, I thought I would include an article I wrote in 1999 -- at the turn of the new millennium (back in the time of 1G phones where even flip phones had not yet been invented). In this article, I predict
      Read More
    • Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events

      ©2018 Arthur Retman, Movavi As a medium there are many ways to utilize videos for events – but one of the most popular is definitely promo videos. A promo video is basically any video that is used to promote or market the event, and boost its visibility, entice prospects, or directly
      Read More
    • As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same

      We are living in a time of unprecedented technology change. How will these changes affect meetings and tradeshows? Will they remain a central form of education, networking and marketing? Will virtual meetings and other communication technologies replace the need for face-to-face events and exhibitions? Although there will likely be very
      Read More
    • Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019

      ©2018 - Guest Post by  Ryan Gould, Elevation Marketing If you’re a business owner or marketer who’s serious about maximizing ROI, then you need to have a presence at industry trade shows. It’s all in the statistics—when it comes to efficiency, 85% of B2B marketers and salespeople say that trade shows
      Read More
    • Face Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events

      Face recognition (FR) is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. iPhone X users open their phone using FR as their passwords. Airlines and TSA are starting to use FR as a faster and more secure way of check-in and boarding flights. Apple, Facebook, Google and Snapchat have made recent
      Read More
    • Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change

      When laptops computers first appeared in the early 1990s, manufactures called them “freedom machines” with ads showing smiling users inputting at the poolside and the beach. We don’t see these ads anymore. People are aware that technology isn’t increasing our leisure time -- we seem to be working harder than ever!
      Read More
    • 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events

      ©2018 By Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES Video marketing is king! The State of Video Marketing in 2018 report from Wyzowl details numerous survey statistics about the growth and increasing power of using video for marketing products and services. This applies to events. The creative use of video can help
      Read More
    • Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance

      ©2018, Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES Celebrity endorsements have been around since the start of advertising. The athletes on the Wheaties box, the movie star promoting to the TV cameras, the Nike Swoosh on sports star’s clothing all are part of advertising. Psychologists have long realized that buyers are more likely
      Read More
    • Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered

      ©2018 Guest post by Mark Kao, COS Rental Chatbots aren’t new. Joseph Weizenbaum created a prototype in 1966 and named it ELIZA. But the idea didn’t catch on until 50 years later. Today, chatbots are the talk of the event planning and marketing town. If you’ve wanted to know more
      Read More
    • 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas

      Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES As someone who sees a wide array of event designs in the 30-40 events I attend annually, it is refreshing to see a number of innovative event designs in a single conference. This was the case with the recent EventTech conference in Las Vegas produced
      Read More
    • Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?

      ©2018 Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS What is blockchain? According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016),“blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Blockchain is a means of managing electronic
      Read More
    • Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges

      ©2018 Robert Walters, Meeting Evolution Recent articles have indicated that many organizations attempting to deploy a Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) technology solution have not experienced the savings and improvement they expected.  In many instances, the reason has nothing to do with the technology selected – but the internal procedures and processes
      Read More
    • Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch

      ©2017 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology & Innovation Watch Judging Committee Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and regarded by many as the most significant technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to
      Read More
    • The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows

      ©2017 Guest Post by Brendan Scully, Scully Creative Labs LLC Trade shows offer a great opportunity to promote your business and its products, but you have to do what you can to make the most of this opportunity. You are competing with other companies for attention, so it is important
      Read More

    Coming Engagements

    Boost Your Search Engine Marketing

     This article is available in Spanish.  Este artículo está disponible en español.

    An Interview with John Rasco, CEO and Founder of RefreshWeb
    Studies show that in the B2B market over 75 percent of purchasers searching for a new solution begin their search on the web. That makes search engine results some of the best sources of targeted traffic, whether that traffic originates from "organic" unpaid search listings or paid advertising. To leverage the power of this targeted traffic source, marketers must understand how to use both paid and organic SEM effectively. We spoke to John Rasco, CEO and Founder of RefreshWeb, a top-ranked B2B Internet marketing agency, about what makes search engine marketing unique.

    The complete recording of this month's interview is available for download as a podcast. Click here for the complete interview.

    Marketing2IT: What are three things a tech marketer starting search engine marketing needs to know?
    John: A lot of people wonder what to do first. There are two different categories that fit into search engine marketing. There's paid search or pay-per-click, which is easy to get started with and gets results quickly. The other category is organic search. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about the language on the site, meta tags and the information architecture of your site. Those are some of the factors that search engines use to rank your site. People really need to focus on the difference between those two. First, paid search is like advertising. You've got a classified ad in terms of content but you're paying for every click that comes to your site. Organic search is like owning real estate instead of renting it. SEO takes some work and really understanding your customer. It's a long-term strategy. PPC is a little more tactical but each has its place.

    Second, I'd say SEO isn't black magic. It's indexing your site using the information architecture as a one-to-one marketing tool for quality traffic, the kind of traffic that you'd like to see on your site. What's a little complex is that you're using the language of suspects rather than of prospects. With prospects you're talking messaging, positioning -- they kind of already know what they're looking for. Suspects don't know what they're looking for yet. We're always looking at suspect behavior rather than prospect behavior.

    Third, don't guess about what terms are important. You've got to do your research and find terms that suspects are using that are likely to turn into transactional queries rather than informational queries. When you're inside a company, and you've seen all your press releases and you know what the competition is doing, and you've been talking about this every day for three or four years, it's really easy to default to your buzzwords and tagline. People looking for a solution have to form their search using a description of the problem. You can't expect them to know the answer. That's not going to be what their query is.

    M2IT: Does search engine marketing offer unique challenges or benefits for B2B tech marketers?
    John: Very much so. There are huge benefits that drive the market for B2B marketers and some interesting challenges. For example, 89% of B2B shoppers prefer to use Google for search. They're a lot less likely to click on a PPC ad because they're looking for information. And because they're scanning the results looking for relevant information they're much more likely to go deeper in the results to find answers than consumers. The consumer market space is really brutal. You really need to be in the top three results. But we find in the B2B space you get consideration anywhere on the first page and about half of the traffic on the second page. There's a lot of room to play there in the top 10 or 20. Our clients have 70% to 80% of traffic from Google and that search traffic is looking for very specific answers. It's very important to research your prospect behavior and understand what they're looking for.

    What search does is give your site intuitive access to the information that they're seeking. It makes you look really smart if you come up high in the results and have relevant information. We focus attention on the copy on the page to make it good marketing copy and well as search-optimized copy. What Google does is it prefers to look at the text on the page. Other search engines may use just the description, but since Google is looking at the text not only does the search term have to be there but this may be the only chance you have to have compelling motivating copy associated with a search term on the search result.

    M2IT: What are some classic search engine marketing mistakes that can really hurt success?
    John: Lots of people make the simple mistake of not researching their market. They think they know what the prospect is looking for because they know their industry. This will really frustrate people.

    The simplest mistake is pointing PPC traffic to your home page. That's part of why people think pay-per-click is easy, because you just point people to your site. But people have searched on something specific. Your strategy with PPC is you want to bid on hundreds of terms and point people to specific landing pages. What we do is organize it topically. We may have a couple hundred search terms organized into 20 or 30 topics. That way we can create ad copy and landing page copy that's specific to that topic. We see that conversion rates on an ecommerce site can improve 30% to 40% with a specific landing page.

    You can't optimize on everything. You can't take your 300 search phrases and seed them across your site and win. On the organic side, take 15 to 20 terms that have good quality traffic and optimize your content on that. You have to remember that any page can be an entry page and that's why search is so powerful, how it can so quickly double, triple, even quadruple your traffic.

    The other mistake that people going into search make is thinking that SEO is going to be a quick fix. This is hard work. You really have to think about it, monitor your results, and watch the competition. There's a lot of missed opportunity as well if you don't do the research. We have a client in the Sarbanes Oxley space and when we did the competitive analysis we found that the highest volume search term was "SOX compliance." Our client was in the 4 or 5 position and wanted to move up. We found that "SOX compliance" was undefended. It's an easy win when you see an opening to go in and optimize for that term and then build on other terms.

    M2IT: What are the key success factors of Search Engine Optimization?
    John: Because Google is so important to tech marketers I'll talk about the four factors for Google. Google's algorithm is designed to use mathematical models to determine the importance of a page for a particular search term.

    Page content is obviously extremely important. There are eight or nine places on the page where you can put search terms: meta tags, title tag, description tag, keywords tag, comment tag, heading tags, text itself, formatting tag, alt image tag.

    The second factor is your site's internal link architecture. It's very important that your navigation not be simply graphics but actually uses words, ideally search terms that point to other content that's related to that search term.

    The third thing that's important to Google is external links that point to your site. It's wonderful for a company when a publisher like CMP makes reference to them and it promulgates all across their site and suddenly you have 300 links from a respected publication. Links are more important than ink. It's nice to get a story but the link will live on longer than the article. It's really important when you're sending out a press release to use search terms in your headline.

    The fourth factor that Google weighs is recency, the refreshing of the site -- is it continually updated, is it being maintained actively? Something that's come up in the last revision [of Google's algorithm] is longevity -- the length of time you've had your site and the how long ago you purchased your domain.

    M2IT: Is it a myth that there are "search engine secrets" that will guarantee a top listing? 
    John: It's a myth that you can guarantee top ranking because every search term has it's own competitive environment. The key is to do the competitive analysis to understand where your opportunities are and go after them. We have found that many agencies feel that SEO is too technical. There are some technical aspects to it, but I tell my agency friends this is "The Revenge of the Copywriters." Copy is what's important and not graphics. The days of having a flash intro and nothing else are over. People have built invisible sites. Many companies have this problem, where their site was built by a design firm and is maintained by the technical people and has never been used as a marketing tool.

    M2IT: What is a marketing trend that our readers should be aware of?
    John: Something I'm very excited about as a marketer, someone who's not as concerned about privacy issues, is personalized search. It benefits me if search engines have an idea what I'm looking for. Personalization has huge benefits. For example, if I type in "usher" I'm probably going to get the hip hop star. But I may be interested in Usher scotch or a Presbyterian who's interested in learning how to usher. The extent that a search engine knows what I've searched on in the past is helpful. If I've bought a lot of CDs, then I'm probably an Usher fan. I think the realm of personalized search will really improve search performance but I think it will create major changes in our industry.

    John Rasco, Founder and CEO, RefreshWeb (
    Active in Internet marketing since 1992, John is the founder of Brand X Austin and RefreshWeb. He has been a client-side marketing director, a principal in a graphic design firm, president of an advertising agency, and senior vice president of the Southwest's largest business-to-business agency, responsible for Science and Technology. Since 1978, he has been active in the Austin advertising and marketing communities, and he has specialized in technology-based companies since 1987. He is a member of the American Marketing Association. John can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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