Tag Archives: Digital

How’s my writing?

It’s appropriate that my first post in 2 years is inspired by a professional writing course led by Jeanmarie Alessi.  Writing is a discipline you need to work at constantly.  As Jeanmarie says, “It’s just like going to the gym: It’s not always easy to get started, but it sure feels great when you’re done”.

Good writing also requires a good process.  Our marketing team have been focusing a lot on value propositions and messaging maps over the past few months – I can’t even start writing without these tools now.  But it’s still daunting to stare at that blank page and know that a deadline is looming to ‘get something out’.  And more daunting still, you only have a few fleeting seconds of your customers attention to get your message across.  For that reason alone, clarity is key!

I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.  Mark Twain

I’m glad to know we’re not alone in our writing challenges, and relieved to have a clear framework for editing.

I’m also inspired to start blogging again as I head back to the classroom at General Assembly.  2018 will be a year of continued learning, and I look forward to writing more about my journey here.


4 things Grad School taught me that the best Event Managers should already know (VIDEO)

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Silvia Pellegrini at Events Uncovered, a great online space for event experts to meet, discuss, learn and share their knowledge of the industry.

In our video interview, I review some of the key marketing concepts discussed in my Masters Program at NYU, and how they relate to the world of event management.

〔Episode 46〕4 things Grad School teaches that Event Managers should know -Marianne Bunton
Video interview for Events Uncovered

In the second part of the interview (members only content) I talk in more detail about sponsorship activation – an area of specialization that I am particularly passionate about. The majority of corporate events are only possible with the support of sponsors, and as event organizers, we are in a position to maximize their involvement and help them achieve their return on investment.  Moreover, with meaningful integration, sponsors can really enhance the event experience for all guests. Silvia and I discuss how this can be done within a framework for managing all partners’ expectations, understanding your audiences needs, and being creative.

I welcome your comments and feedback, along with any insights that you’ve learnt along the way!

5 pointers, Before you even start your digital strategy

The alternate title for this post is essentially ‘the most important things I learnt in school this year’ so it’s fitting that my first, and overriding theme comes from my digital marketing professor, Joanne Tombrakos.  All these ideas have been strong currents running through the course, and I’m so glad I have this foundation now, before delving further into the techy stuff. And that is why my title stresses that these are things to note BEFORE putting pen to paper, or hand to mouse.


1. All the technology in the world means nothing without the intersection of humanity

SEO, Mobile, Attribution, UX, Algorithms, Big Data and Analytics may sound intimidating, but they are all just vehicles for connecting, and ultimately people will decide how effective they are.  It’s an old adage, but one that I don’t think has changed: ‘The customer is always right’.  Your metrics might tell you when a strategy is not working, and the best way to understand why is to look beyond the numbers and put yourself in your audiences shoes.

2. Inbound-Marketing-David-Meerman-Scott

What has changed with digital, is that push marketing is no longer as effective.  Having worked in media selling advertising space, this certainly requires a shift in perception, but the poor performance of online and mobile banner ads speak for themselves.

Living in the always-on digital space, it’s easy to see why customers object to interruption techniques, and prefer useful interactions with brands.  As Jay Baer says, the future of marketing could be in Youtility content.

As marketeers today, we are selling to the educated consumer, so understanding their real needs is the key to offering them an engaging and meaningful experience, thereby pulling them into a relationship with your organization.

3. TL DR

I’m sure you have a ton of things you want me to know about your product, but unless I’m specifically looking for details at the time, you’re probably wasting your digital breath.

And it’s not just the millennial in me that wants you to keep it to 140 characters.

The good news is that we’re consuming more media than ever before, but as a result we’re facing information overload, and dwindling attention spans.  We have multiple screens, streams and social platforms to keep up and as a result, we scan online rather than read. So again, know your audience, and keep “TL;DR” (Too Long, Didn’t Read) in mind when crafting messages and writing copy that fascinates.

4. Listen

We’ve all been told that we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more than we speak.  And we should be eternally grateful that digital platforms allow us more listening tools than ever before.  Companies who take advantage of these insights and instant feedback channels will benefit from far better relationships with their community – and you never know when you might need them to come to your rescue.

5. Be Agile

The need for agility has become more important than ever before in digital marketing.  As new technologies and platforms emerge, our communities evolve and consumer needs change.  And in the meantime, marketeers still have to be monitoring, adapting and optimizing campaigns as they happen.  Real-time marketing is now just smart marketing.


Technology cannot replace human and cultural insights…yet.  So until it does, marketeers still have the bulk of the work to do in authentic storytelling and sharing meaning with audiences.  The digital platforms and techniques you use will get you there, but not without these key concepts as your foundation.

Know Thyself

I have always been interested in behavioural psychology, particularly when it helps me to understand more about myself and how I can use these insights to improve.  Last summer, as I was preparing to move away from Hong Kong, for the second time in my life, I was so grateful for the book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds.  Every page spoke directly to me, described the particular situations I find myself in and offered tools to support my slightly nomadic existence.  This Christmas, I burrowed into Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  I have always believed these qualities are often undervalued, and have found great support in fellow proud introverts, particularly through Beth Buelow’s podcast, The Introvert Entrepreneur.

So, I was very excited to have the opportunity to take Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage Test this week.  Watching her TEDxAtlanta talk, I was intrigued that rather than measure how you see yourself, this test analyses how the world sees you.  Through this perspective, Hogshead aims to help you maximize these assets to fascinate those you meet. Why is this important?  We no longer have the luxury of time when we are competing in an information-overload world.  As the BBC puts it, we are digital goldfish with attention spans of just 9 seconds!

With that in mind, I quickly started the online test to find out which of the 7 Triggers of Fascination were my primary, secondary and dormant qualities.  Much like the Gallup Strengths Finder Test, Hogshead’s approach is to make the most of your natural triggers and inherent qualities, rather than trying to manifest new ones.  This was certainly on my mind as I answered each question, trying to remain honest rather than give answers for the person one might like to be seen as.

It certainly worked, because unless Hogshead had been talking to my therapist, her algorithms are spot on!   With mystique as my primary trigger and trust as my secondary, I have the personality archetype of The Wise Owl.  While I personally prefer the term ‘dark horse’ as more fitting for my age, I was pleased to see many of my ‘good-introvert’ traits within my personalised archetype report:

MB Wordle

(word cloud courtesy of Wordle)

While reading about my personality archetype, my instinct was to look for role-models who shared the same fascination triggers.   Thankfully I am in good company:  Stephen Hawking, Confucius, Malcolm Gladwell, Sergey Brin, Tina Fey, and Bobby Fisher (…. perhaps I am an undiagnosed genius too!).

What I particularly appreciate about the Fascination Advantage Test is that it provides advice on how your personality archetype adds value at work.  Being focused, assured and unruffled has absolutely been key to my success as an event manager. Moreover, by understanding ones dormant trigger (in my case, prestige) Hogshead provides an action plan to make sure these qualities do not undermine your success (in my case, a dislike of self-promotion and not taking due credit).

I am now dying to know what my friends found their triggers to be.  While I’m pleased with my own analysis, it’s undoubtably different personalities that make the world interesting, and make teams work best.  God forbid we were all reclusive, stoic, power-houses!

I urge everyone to take The Fascination Advantage test when you have the chance, and I thank you for indulging me.