How NOT To Get Me To Attend Your Conference (A Cautionary Tale) – Part 2: How the Internet & Social Media makes bad customer experiences worse!

Quick recap: I was recently contacted (or, more accurately, badgered and harassed) by a telemarketer from GDS International ( trying to sell me on the “iStrategy2010” conference ( – essentially a conference on social media. The series of sales calls that followed were a terribly annoying experience of being harangued into spending time with the telemarketer – it felt as if they were trying to wear me down (like those time-share sales meetings) just so that, in frustration, I’d say yes and be done with it.

Yesterday, I blogged about my experiences with the GDS International telemarketer. Today, I’ll tell you what I did following that ridiculous sales call.

Needless to say, the first thing I did was to rant over Twitter – it was the fastest route to catharsis available to me at that time. I was so infuriated at the manipulative marketing practices that, as a marketer, I was thoroughly offended!

The next thing I did, of course, was to Google them up – both the “iStrategy2010” conference and to log on to the GDS International domain.

My search results for “iStrategy 2010” yielded the following:

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The most interesting thing here is you’ll note how my rants over Twitter have been captured in the search results – along with another Twitter follower’s response to my rants. Looks like my experiences are not exclusive! Is it really GDS International’s and/or iStrategy 2010’s modus operandi to harass prospects into submission?

I also checked out the GDS International website and looked at the “contact” information to find out more about the company. The site itself wasn’t impressive to begin with, but looking at the address made me wonder whether these offices were truly “offices” to begin with or mere sales outposts created to make an organisation seem bigger than it actually was. After all, with the information communications technology available today, it’s not too difficult to do!

At the same time, I also had a look at their conference information more closely. This is where I got annoyed again – the information was thoroughly useless! Yes, it stated what the programme and topics were, and also the speakers invited – but it did not mention which speaker was going to present which topic! Not only that, the cost “package” information certainly did not justify in any way the ridiculous price (It was ridiculous to me – I’ve learned more, from better speakers, for less)!

I mean, here was the information – what do you think about it?


9.00 – 10.00

Opening Keynote – Optimizing Your Marketing Mix: The Anatomy of a World-Class Integrated Marketing Campaign

10.00 – 11.30

Keynote Panel Discussion – Driving ROI and Growing Your Brand through Social Media Marketing

There is little left to debate about whether or not one should participate in social media — virtually all companies, big and small, have acknowledged social media’s presence, and firms who do not have a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account now find themselves in the scarce minority.

Studies have found that the most valuable brands in the world are experiencing a direct correlation between top financial performance and deep social media engagement. The relationship is apparent and significant: socially engaged companies are in fact more financially successful.

This keynote panel will give a unique insight into the online marketing strategies deployed by the world’s leading brands for the Asia Pacific marketplace and how the use of social media can help build your brand in the region and propel your business.

11.30 – 11.45

Coffee Break

11.45 – 1.00

Split Stream Interactive Workshops.

Workshop 1 – Measuring the Success with your Social Media Investment

There are thousands of social media channels each with a slightly different value proposition. It is therefore a daunting task to figure how to objectively evaluate various marketing efforts across all social mediums. However, multiple factors can be drawn upon to uncover the value of your social media efforts. This workshop will examine the many avenues for determining the ROI achieved for your social media campaigns. Learn how to:

  • How to identify measurable goals for your social media endeavours
  • How to track the impact of social media on your SEO and web referral efforts
  • How to assess the quality of your relationships and brand clarity on social channels

Workshop 2 – Video Content Convergence – Social Networks as a Platform for Content Distribution

Premium content and advertising is fast becoming a key strategy allowing social networks to monetize their sites. Viral content distribution has created a valuable new inventory for advertisers and a new business model for the entire media industry. Learn how to:

  • Deliver timely and engaging content to your customers.
  • How to create a memorable brand experience for viewers
  • Communicate to existing clients in a cost and time efficient manner
  • How to best integrate video into your existing marketing mix

Workshop 3 –Game Changer: How Social Games can deliver true brand engagement

1.00 – 2.00

Lunch & Networking

2.00 – 3.00

Keynote – Aligning Your Social Media Activities with Your Business Operations

3:00 – 3:30

Coffee Break

3.30 – 4.30

Keynote Panel Discussion – What are the Key Drivers for Marketing On Mobile

The Asia-Pacific region leads the world in mobile marketing and advertising adoption and is poised for rapid growth over the next two years. Mobile marketing and advertising has been widely adopted in Asian countries, particularly those with the most broadband-enabled services like Japan and Korea.

SMS text messaging, the downloading of ad-supported games and applications, and the mobile web being adopted widely and quickly by consumers. People understand the use of these services and have rapidly built them into their lifestyles. Add a cultural predisposition to becoming a fan of the latest popular trends, and you have a consumer receptive to mobile marketing.

This workshop will focus on the technologies and strategies available to reaching out to the mobile consumer and how a successful mobile marketing campaign demands a new way of thinking.

  • Develop new and engaging mobile applications for your current and prospective customers
  • Work with operators, publishers and handsets to develop web 2.0 mobile websites
  • Effectively monetize your mobile applications and content
  • Develop a fully integrated Marketing strategy that utilizes Mobile
4.30 – 5.30

LIVE – MeetTheBoss with Adam Burns

Interview with a top level business/analyst expert held in front of a live audience with questions to finish. This interview will be broadcast LIVE on

7.00 – 10.00

Gala Dinner with Welcome Toast

9:00 – 10:30

Keynote: What Makes Asia So Exciting! – How to Leverage Social Media to make an impact in the World’s Fastest Growing Online Market

10:30 – 11:30

Keynote: Advertising for a New Decade – A Leading Agencies Perspective

11:30 – 11:45

Coffee Break

11.45 – 13.00

Split Stream Interactive Workshops.

Workshop 1 – Trend Spotting – Consumer Behaviour and Audience Targeting for the Asian Market

Today’s current economic climate means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that organizations are delivering targeted and relevant information to their existing and prospective clients. Behavioral targeting offers organizations the opportunity to use the information collected from their website on an individual’s web-browsing behavior, such as the pages they have visited or the searches they have made, in order to then intelligently target them with relevant advertisements and product information. Without question, behavioral targeting has led to huge rewards for many of today’s market leading organizations. Learn how to:

  • Engage current and prospective clients with timely and relevant information.
  • Develop learning-based knowledge of consumer behaviors.
  • Learn how to target your clients based on factors like geography, demographics or the surrounding content.
  • Provide a better user experience for your website visitors.

Workshop 2 – Next Generation Email Marketing

Email marketing is paramount when you want to reach thousands of prospective as well as existing clients, and in this current economic climate it could be argued that email marketing is the most cost-effective marketing tool on hand. Whilst every organization will most probably already have extensive email marketing in place, it’s essential that for businesses to take advantage of the many effective features and functions that email marketing offers.

A vital part of making the most of your email marketing is not only reaching, but standing out in the inbox

  • Set your emails apart from everyone else’s
  • Generate a successful and consistent exchange with your readers whilst boosting brand awareness.
  • Think like your customer and target their specific needs
  • Generate fantastic open and click through rates that boost your sales
  • Build customer loyalty and profitability through the use of personalized email communications
  • Retain email subscribers through triggered messages, interactivity, and relevant content

Workshop 3 – Search and Social Media

Search traffic for the Asia Pacific region’s internet users increased a dramatic 33% in 2009. Search engines provide an inexpensive, easy and very effective method to learn more about your customers. The way prospects and customers search for information provides important clues about their needs, frustrations and desires.

This workshop will discuss how aligning your online marketing strategy more closely with customer’s social media and online behaviour is a cost effective way to improve your ROI and brand awareness.

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch and Networking

14:00 – 15:00

LIVE – MeetTheBoss with Adam Burns

Interview with a top level business/analyst expert held in front of a live audience with questions to finish. This interview will be broadcast LIVE on


Farewell Drinks and Networking


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(Click for larger image)

After going through all the necessary information, I – of course – started to write a blog about it, sharing my encounter with all its gory details.

You see where this is all going?

Next: Part 3 – What I learned from it all.

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