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Keeping on Top of Your Database Post-CASL

With the passing of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) last July, the world of database management has changed for Canadian marketers. No longer can we simply email a list of prospects, weed out the bad addresses and follow up with the good ones to ensure our database is clean. If an email is sent to someone who doesn't want to be on your list, it can land you in trouble!

(Read more about the do's & don'ts of CASL by downloading this Greenfield CASL overview).

But what should you do if your database is a mess? Here are a few tips:
  1. It's the circle of life!  Accept the fact that the minute you've finished updating your database, something in it will be obsolete.
  2. Resist buying data.  Even if a list seller says they have email opt-in, don't believe it!  Legal professionals tell us email permission is not transferable; it rests only with the entity who obtained permission in the first place. A list seller would have to send the email for you in other words.  So be careful and buy only from reputable entities.
  3. Focus first on the data you do have.  Set up a phone campaign. Have the list cleaned the good old fashioned way. 
  4. Update in small chunks. Set aside a few hundred of your best records, get those updated and feel good about what you've done. And focus on keeping this chunk of data pristine. Make it your A-Team and work from there. 
  5. Be brutal! If a contact can't be updated in a predetermined number of phone calls, archive it, delete it, or remove it, but get it our of your regularly accessible records. 
  6. When you make a call, start at the top. An Executive Assistant to a President will know who plans the meetings within the company. To get past a tenacious receptionist, ask for Sales. The Sales department is a great place to start since they will be hosting a number of the meetings. 
  7. Keep your funnel full by topping it up with new records.  This means systematically adding to your database as you acquire new leads from a trade show, and inbound inquiry, or a networking event.  Ask your new prospects if you can keep in touch via email, and send them an email with a formal opt-in request they can accept right away.
  8. Email regularly. Don't be afraid of email just because of CASL. Moving prospects from implied to express consent can be simplified with an opt-in campaign via e-blasting, so why not do it? And for those who have opted in, they have given you permission to email them regarding specific topics. Why not woo them with great email content and keep them coming back for more?
Data cleansing isn't rocket science but it's time-consuming and required consistency. Remember that clean client and prospect data will make you a more efficient hospitality sales and marketing organization and ensure you are follow all of the new rules!

Meetings Industry: Back to a Seller's Market in 2015?

As 2014 draws to a close, many meetings industry suppliers have reported to us here at Greenfield that they believe it definitely will be back in a seller's market.

This prognosis seems to be supported by a number of surveys and forecasts from travel companies and industry associations:
So suppliers, what are you seeing in your city for 2015?  Planners, what are you doing to mitigate the rising costs for your meetings and events?

#Eventprofs: Are You Listening to Your Clients’ LEAN IN Statements?

Art Sobczak is a speaker and trainer providing how-to prospecting and sales tips that get results. This was reprinted from his Smart Calling Tip of the Week. See back issues and get a free ebook of 501 tips at

Listen for Their "Lean In" Statements to Learn EXACTLY What they Want

If someone in a conversation dropped this on you, how would you react?

"So, anyway, I'm only sharing this with a couple of people, but my aunt in Omaha is good friends with Warren Buffet and this is where he said she needs to put all of her money..."
  • You'd snap to attention.
  • You'd elevate your listening to a higher level.
  • You'd zone out everything else around you.
  • You'd lean in closer. 
Because you now want, and must hear what is about to be said. What caused that was the "Lean In" statement. You hear these with prospects and customers too. Do you pick up on them and react the same way? On a call with a prospect, my ears really perked up when he said,

“Here’s our real problem ...”

I leaned forward in my seat, turned up the volume on my headset and took even better notes. I questioned deeper with each response he gave. By asking money questions we were able to agree that the problem was costing him about $50,000 monthly.

My point here is they will often let us know when they are about to reveal their problems, pains, and desires. I wish it was always as easy as hearing the word "problem." Sometimes it is, other times we need to focus even more intently.

Listen for the "Lean In" words and phrases that describe pain, discomfort, or dissatisfaction such as:
  • “We need to do something about ...”
  • “We’ve noticed a downward trend in the ...”
  • “It’s concerning us that ...”
  • “A trouble area is ...”
  • “An area of difficulty is...”
  • “A dilemma ...”
  • “We worry about ...”
  • “It’s a hassle when ...”
  • “What’s frustrating is ...”
  • “We've been unsuccessful at ...”
  • “We're not satisfied with ...”
  • “What’s disappointing is ...”
  • “What takes time is ...”
  • “It costs us to ...”
  • “We try to avoid ...”
On a similar note, listen for them visualizing the result of a solution:
  • “What we could use is...”
  • “A solution would be to ...”
  • “What we'd like to achieve is ...”
  • “We could show a savings from ...”
  • “The ideal would be to ...”
  • “We’d show the most benefit from ...”
Of course, the best thing to do with all of these, once you hear them, is to keep them talking.
  • “Tell me more.”
  • “Explain that please.”
  • “Interesting. Go on.”
  • “In what way?”
  • “How else does that affect you?”
  • “How do you feel about that?”
Lean in, listen, keep them talking, and they'll write your recommendation for you.

#Eventprofs: Time to Get Some Backbone? When Getting a NO is Better than a MAYBE

In the meetings industry, "selling" means finding and connecting with prospects who need a solution to solve a problem.  Sometimes the prospect clearly knows what their problem is ("I need someone to book and manage my conference"), and even what the solution looks like.  At other times they may not know what the problem is, never mind how to make things better.

We research and diagnose, so that, hopefully, we have a solution that the prospect values enough to buy.  Our job then turns to moving prospects through the decision making tree as efficiently as possible.  This means getting "yeses" of course, but also getting "no's".  And this is where too many meeting professionals get bogged down; we put up with too many "maybes" or worse yet, we put up with silence.

I hear it all the time when hoteliers, DMO reps and even third-party planners complain that their prospects take too long to make decisions.

In an industry that too often just aims to schmooze and please, maybe it's time we get some backbone.  Whether we are selling hotel inventory, the rental of goods or our time to plan events, the longer we dwell in maybes, the less time we spend closing and getting things done.

So what's the answer?  Ask questions: What are your decision criteria?  How will you know when a solution is the right one?  And when you get a "maybe" or "not now, later" be bold and ask, "What will be different in (whatever time frame) that you don't know now?" That last question is a valuable one I learned from sales expert Colleen Francis.  

Of course no single questions will ever be the silver bullet, but a mindset of inquiry is what appears to work best, in my experience.

Now I'm not suggesting you do this right after you send the first proposal.  But after a reasonable number of attempts, it's time to put your foot down.

And if silence is all you hear, try this:  
  • First, when you ask, expect an answer.  It's a metaphysical mystery to me, but when I expect to get an answer, I do.  When I think I won't, I often don't.  
  • Next, nicely but firmly, force an answer.  My favourite is, "Mr. Prospect, we had agreed to discuss your proposal by the end of last week.  Since we have not connected I suspect that you have found another provider, or that you no longer need our solution.  Either way, unless I hear from you by X, I will assume our proposal is not what you wish to proceed with.  I hope we'll have the pleasure of working together at some other point in the future..."
For those who think this approach may be too harsh, consider this: getting a "no" means you can move on.  And moving on may just be the most productive action you can take.

Have Meeting Planners Lost Sight of Their True Purpose?

As meeting professionals we have traditionally seen our roles either focused on logistics -- finding the right space, the appropriate set-up for a presentation, the food to be served.  At times we've had our "seat at the table" when we've been able to advocate for meetings as one of several strategic means of communication.

Unfortunately the "seat at the table" often translates into a need to produce revenue, especially for associations who so desperately depend on their annual conferences and tradeshows to support endeavours in other areas.

But in my experience, rarely have meeting planners seen themselves as the facilitators of human connections.  In the end, isn't that what we are truly being: facilitators, connectors, mediators of human relationships?

Because does the colour of the tablecloths, the taste of the food or the quality the AV presentation even matter if the people at the meeting didn't really connect -- to the material, to the presenter, to the sponsor, to each other?

I suppose the meetings industry is no different than many others in that it's easy to lose sight of our overall purpose... In the housing industry architects, contractors and real estate agents either can think of themselves as designing, building and selling housing units, or they can choose to be in the business of creating, building and finding the right home for a family to be safe, healthy and happy.

In this crazy-busy, hyper-connected and fragmented world, it's just too easy to lose sight of our true purpose.   And if the meetings industry doesn't see itself as bringing people together for the betterment of mankind, what else are we doing?

Tradeshow Follow-Up Post CASL

Even though Canada's Anti-Spam Law came into effect July 1, it appears meeting planners, exhibitors and event attendees are still very much confused about what they can and cannot do with email marketing.  I had the pleasure of answering questions at IncentiveWorks a couple of weeks ago, and I'm still getting requests to present this fall.

At Greenfield we've written extensively about what the CASL means for Canadian and even foreign organizations who are sending an email to Canadian recipients.  We get asked all the time, and yes, even non-Canadian companies are affected by this law because they can be sued by Canadians, if they don't follow the rules.

But for now, let's look at what you should or should not do if you are following-up with attendees after a tradeshow where you exhibited:
  • Unless someone signed a form (online, using a tablet, or an actual paper form) where you specifically ask them to "opt-in" to receive further electronic communication from you, you do NOT have express consent.
  • If someone gave you their business card, or just dropped it in a bowl for a draw, you have implied consent only.  This means you have 6 months from the date of that show to "convert" the prospect to an opt-in, or else you must stop email them.  If you fail to do so, and the recipient feels you have been spamming them, they could report you to the Canadian Radio Telecommunications Commission.
  • Getting an attendee "scanned" does not give you express consent; it is exactly as if the person had dropped their card in a bowl, except that you don't have to enter their contact information manually. This is because you have no "proof" that it was the recipient whose badge you scanned and there is no clear agreement as to what the person consented to.  So you still only have 6 months to market to them electronically and get opt-in.
  • If you do business with someone after the tradeshow, you should still get them to opt-in expressly.  If you don't, you have two years from the date of the transaction, to continue sending commercial electronic messages.  Unless of course, they buy from you again (every time there is a purchase, the "timer" resets).
What can you do if you don't have someone's consent?  You may:
  • call them: engage in a conversation, see if you are a fit for their needs. If they are, send them whatever information you discussed, and ask them to opt-in!  Otherwise you'll be right back to square one in 6 months.
  • call them and ask for a verbal opt-in: it is a little known or understood fact that you can call someone and get a verbal opt-in.  For this to work you must ask them a "security question" that would prove you had a conversation with them about consent.  When we do this type of work for our clients, we ask for the person's first letter of their city of birth.  If you do this, but be SURE to keep this information in your database, along with the date and time the conversation took place.
  • mail them: depending on the number of delegates and what you are selling, a smart direct mail piece with a strong call to action may present a better option.  It's even more powerful if you call after they've received the piece and you engage them in a conversation!  This will boost your lead rate and your sales.
  • see them in person again: the problem with email or traditional mail is that they don't necessarily help us forge relationships.  Personal interaction does.  Maybe a side effect of this law will be to force us to go out on sales calls again!  Then, when someone has met you in person a few times, there is less danger they will think of your next email as spam.
We often hear that 80% of tradeshow leads are never followed up on.  The CASL sure doesn't make it easy for anyone to improve that percentage, but the successful sales people will find a way!

When "Overwhelment" is Your Biggest Competitor

Apparently "overwhelment" is not a noun -- but I wish it were!  What would you call that state were someone gets so crazy-busy they cannot even do the basic things to help themselves?

Let me explain.  Earlier this year I lost a sizeable piece of business because my DMO client was so busy, so overwhelmed with work and personal commitments, that she could not spare 5 minutes to read and sign our contract.  The project was time-sensitive and by the time her to-do list became manageable, the opportunity was lost.

My colleague Meagan experienced a similar situation; because of workload, her association client took five months to approve work that should have taken place last June.  Now we're in September, the event is next month, and we have to rush to get the project done.

Sound familiar?  Executives on the planning and supply side are so crazy-busy they cannot find the time to read a contract so they can get help!

It's easy to get frustrated, but perhaps it's an opportunity to improve?

For one thing, it made me realize that our proposals and contracts were too long; we needed to find a way to make our clients' lives easier.  Our 3-4 page contract is now a one-pager, with a standard set of terms and conditions.

And thanks to my good friend Jeremy Tyrrell of the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, I've also learned of the "5 sentences movement." I received an email from him this week and his signature:

Q: Why is this email five sentences or less?

When you click through to the site, it explains:

The Problem

E-mail takes too long to respond to, resulting in continuous inbox overflow for those who receive a lot of it.

The Solution

Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead. is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less. It’s that simple.

* See also:,, and

Isn't that brilliant?  Now if we could only do something about the volume of emails...

What are you doing to manage the avalanche of information coming your way?  And what are you doing to make your customers' lives easier?

Blurring Lines Between Work and Leisure: What Does it Mean for Meetings?

If you are a North American reading this article today (Monday, September 1), it is probably because you are trying to catch up on email, taking a peek at what your peeps are up to on LinkedIn, or maybe you caught the headline on Twitter. Anyway you have it, you are "doing work" instead of chilling out and enjoying the Labour Day holiday.

If it's after the long weekend, hopefully you got to enjoy it, work-free!

Regardless, many of us are finding ourselves working evenings, weekends and holidays... How many of us have truly been able to "go dark" while on vacation in the last five years, or at least since "The Great Recession"?

Casual inquiry and observation of my meetings industry colleagues indicates the lines between work and personal time are decidedly blurring. And for an interesting article on the subject, please read Doug Saunder's piece in The Globe and Mail: Work? Leisure? It's all a blur these days.

What does this mean for the meetings industry? Years ago associations avoided vacation months because delegates were to set on taking time off at specific times. Now we are seeing some groups betting on cheaper meeting space and rates in the summer – and their attendance isn't necessarily suffering. Greenfield's own inaugural Engaging Associations Summit was held this year in July; we had a hunch busy executives would be more available to come to a new conference in the summer, because they had fewer competing priorities than during the rest of the year. The numbers and event evaluations told us we were correct!

Since executives seem to be willing to mix pleasure and business, many DMOs are hoping that delegates will tag on extra days to enjoy a particularly interesting or "bucket list" activity. Is this a reasonable expectation? The meetings industry might help itself by delving into this issue a little deeper; how much business does a conference generate pre or post-event?

Because, as we are seemingly getting less downtime, one interesting industry headline caught my eye: the August cover of The Meeting Professional, MPI's monthly publication, shouts "Meetings Outlook Research: Virtual Meetings are Outpacing Live Gatherings."

Could it be that, as we continue to become the hyper-connected, we're also pushing back at attending more meetings in person? Not because we don't want to be there, but because getting there is such a pain?

And speaking of wanting to be there, what is it in a meetings agenda or program that makes us truly want to go?  This easily could be the next frontier in research for the meetings industry: proving when and how bringing people together face-to-face justifies the time, money and effort.

I don't what the the future holds in this regard, but I can tell you that I for one am happy to be at home on this Labour Day Monday. And if you'll excuse me my garden beckons...

Top 10 Ways to Market Your Event

Over the years, our Greenfield team has had to "rescue" numerous programs because they had not be promoted well to begin with.  Whether you are promoting for a FAM, a client appreciation event, or even a paid conference, here is our prescription for a successful event marketing campaign:

  1. Get permission first: with the implementation of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) July 1, 2014, make sure you get permission before you start marketing electronically.  Even if you're in the USA or anywhere else on the globe permission these days is key.  It's not easy, but you can build your list and get people to agree to receiving your information by reaching out by phone, in-person at another event, or through social media connections.  In Canada, with the new law's requirements, ensure you stay on top of your database; otherwise you may soon be running out of option for your marketing list!  
  2. Maintain your database meticulously: With the CASL, if there is a complaint, the burden will be on you to prove that permission was obtained.  Don't risk a fine by sending unwanted messages to recipients whose information you haven't updated in your database.  Keep it clean!
  3. Make it about ME: who cares if your event has a record-breaking number of exhibitors, sponsors or break-out sessions?  If your communication isn't articulating what's-in-it-for-ME, as your attendee, then you likely won't get me to register, regardless if your event is free or paid.
  4. Twitterize your message:  Don't send long emails telling me ALL there is to know about your event.  Since your message is mostly likely to be viewed on a mobile device, keep your message short and to the point.  If there's more to your story, give links where the recipient can go for more.
  5. Make it easy to share: An increasing number of business event attendees are active on social media.  Make it easy for attendees to share your event with peers by using ShareThis or other social media sharing platforms. That way they can tweet, post to Facebook or LinkedIn, or whatever social medium they prefer.
  6. Tell them who else likes you & who else will be there: When you tell your event's story, impart the experience through the voice and words of people like your prospective attendee. The testimonial of a REAL person, with a name, title, company and photo, will go a long way to convince them your event is worth their time.  And while you must respect attendees' privacy and not reveal their personal information, it's OK for you to tell the names of the organizations who will be represented at your event.  This will help your prospective attendee – and their boss, if they need approval – better decide if the event is for them.
  7. Show them too: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million.  Use this powerful tool to show clips of speakers, testimonials from attendees, exhibitors, sponsors.  Score double points by showcasing a video showcases of someone with similar attributes to your prospect.
  8. Vary your channels: Unless recipients have "white listed" your email address, there's a 30-40% chance that your mass-deployed email will be caught in spam filters.  So while your audience may be interested, they may never see your message; you must vary the ways you reach out!  Pay special attention to the groups where your prospects hang out on LinkedIn.  Get the influential people in your industry, those with lots of followers, to tweet about your event.  Or even send something by mail – something that'll pique recipients' curiosity, something that'll get them to check out your event online.
  9. Understand my communication preferences: While Boomers and GenXers may appreciate getting information by email, younger professionals may not be so interested.  Millennials are said to be less inclined to read email.  This, coupled with the CASL, may require you to shift resources to building a following on social media.  But make sure you know which ones first!
  10. Don't be so business-like: Learn from what gets shared online; I'm not talking about silly cat videos (unless your event is about cats), but we all enjoy funny or touching stories. Your promotion will rise about the clutter if you show emotion, humour, or an edge.  Business need not be so serious!

Do you have any other smart ways to promote your event?  Share them here!

What Two Potato Vodka Distillers Taught Me about Client Engagement

(L to R) Julie Shore, Doreen Ashton Wagner
and Arla Johnson
On a recent trip to PEI I had the pleasure of visiting the Prince Edward Distillery in the tiny hamlet of Hermanville, on the Northeastern tip of the Island.

There I met partners Julie Shore and Arla Johnson, and not only tasted their vodka (as well as their rye, whiskey, rum and gin!) but I also gleaned a few insights about what it takes to engage a client.

I had first driven to visit their tiny hotel, the Johnson Shore Inn, for a project I am working on for Meetings & Conventions PEI.  The Inn, it turns out, has now been leased to another couple to run so Julie and Arla can focus on the distillery.

It was on a whim that I decided to stop in at the distillery. After all, my site inspections focused on accommodation and meeting venues, and the distillery wasn't on my list since they don't have event space.

Before I knew it, I got a crash course in distilling, purchased a bottle of gin (which I never drink  I'm a scotch drinker!), and I was one hour behind schedule.

Lest you think I simply succumbed to their products, allow me to outline how they engaged me to the point I decided to write this post:

They have a story: I learned about Julie's North Carolina roots, where generations of Shores distilled moonshine.  Until Prohibition, that is.  Four generations later, Julie is reviving the family tradition, 2000 km North, on an island where her and Julie (who is from Florida) vacationed years ago.  They loved PEI so much they moved here..  

They are truly passionate about what they are doing:  While touring the production area, I listened intently as Arla described the six weeks during which she and Julie toured German schnapps distilleries, and met with manufacturers for the perfect still.  Julie ended up designing her own contraption, with an extra "column" because she had the hunch it would make a smoother-tasting product.

Their product is not unique but the way they are producing is:  Julie and Arla believe in partnering with local farmers.  The distillery began with potato vodka, but they soon added blueberry vodka because wild blueberries are an abundant crop on the Island.  And since farmers grow grains to let their land rest every few years, they got into the other spirits as well.  

They are having fun: Passion can turn some into fastidious, know-it-all bores.  Not the case with these ladies.  As I toured the facility, it was clear that these women know how to have fun.  I learned about how they feed the waste potato mash to the farmer's pigs next door ("There's often a bit of alcohol left in the mash... that makes for very happy pigs!").  How they joke around with male visitors who don't always think that two women should be in the distilling business (the still columns do have a phallic appearance...).  

They invited me to try their product the way host would invite a guest:  A big part of the experience of course is the tasting. The spirits are kept in the freezer, and only a tiny quantity is poured in a shot glass.  Just a little sip  really!  But I felt uniquely "pulled in," charmed, to give it a try (I had be careful, I was driving!).  Yet there absolutely was no pressure to buy.  Arla wisely asked for my drink preferences.  She correctly guessed that I would enjoy the rye (the taste resembled brandy). When she nudged me to try the gin, I thought she'd be wrong.  Not at all  I loved the light taste of juniper, and the hint of lemongrass.  I walked out with a bottle!

So there you have it!  The story of two American woman who braved the odds, moved North and are successfully running a business that attracts locals and tourists to their out-of-the-way part of PEI. Their success, in my humble opinion, is due to their outgoing, personable demeanor and they way they tell their story, one customer at a time.  

Julie and Arla's company does not have a great online presence. Their website doesn't even list their new products  rye, whiskey, rum and gin  and they do not seem to be on ANY social media. Yet their product is now available at the LCBO, available to Canada's largest provincial market.

Their philosophy is to engage, one person at a time.  Good luck Julie & Arla!

Is Your Inbound Marketing Mindset Dooming You to Fail?

There's no denying the shift the meetings industry has experienced in the last few years about the way meeting planners want to hear from, and interact with, suppliers.  Like me, you've probably seen and even participated in debate over whether "cold calling" is dead.

While the days of "dialing for dollars" are long gone, I respectfully submit that anyone who thinks the phone is an archaic means of communication is sadly mistaken.  Very rare are those for whom ONLY blogging and posting on social media will bring all the business that they need.

A successful inbound marketing strategy with some elements of outbound activity will even out the ups and downs of the sales cycle.  And yes, this may mean using the telephone.  

Except that now, using the phone looks like this:

  • With abundant information available online, you can build a list of prospects and approach them intelligently -- not "cold calling" but "warm calling";
  • With a regular lead nurturing program, where you have your prospects' permission to maintain contact via email, you can place smart follow-up calls whenever a prospect clicks on a link to download or access an educational resource you have produced;
  • Calling someone to reconfirm they will be attending your event or meeting you at an industry tradeshow (something that mitigates no-shows!).

Smart outbound activities may also sending them the odd mailing or handwritten note. If you think I'm kidding on the snail mail bit, check out this blog from my friend and meeting planner extraordinaire, Sandy Biback.

Inbound marketing without outbound activity is like expecting to meet Mr. Right with online dating, without going out on any dates!  It's possible, but likely a recipe for failure.  But your odds will be better if you are willing to maintain the relationship proactively too!  

Taking Pause - Wise Words for Busy Meetings Industry Professionals

This article was written by Betty Healey of, a firm specializing in Conscious Communication and creating healthy, human work environments.  Betty and her partner Jim have worked with our team here at Greenfield Services for nearly 10 years, helping us have a more engaged and engaging  workplace.  We bring you this article because with the Canadian and US long weekends coming up, we believe we ALL could use a little pause in this meetings industry of ours. Enjoy...
We had been on I-81 for less than 30 minutes when I saw the SIGN -

I had the following reaction: Really! 

Sure enough, 5 miles later another SIGN: TEXT/REST STOP.

This is what it takes apparently to encourage drivers not to text and drive at the same time. As I assimilated this information, I looked to my left and sure enough there was a driver passing us and YES, he was texting. I was aghast as I find paying attention to the road and the other drivers enough of a challenge. 

At our first rest stop, I found myself sitting on the toilet listening in on the women on the toilet next to me having a conversation on her cell phone. Honestly, it felt like an invasion of privacy.

As I settled back in the car I remembered the vacations I took, pre 1995, when there was no internet, no cell phones, no access to the world other than what was right in front of you. I also remembered how these vacations rejuvenated me, how I would arrive home to see everything with fresh eyes and a new perspective, and I realized that today's escapes do not offer this same opportunity.

We arrived at our condo to discover that there was no WiFi - OMG. Near panic. No internet and we had chosen not to purchase an international plan for our cell phones. Of course you see the humour and the irony in this. I have attracted what I was wishing for. That said, there is a Starbucks, with WiFi, within walking distance. Whew!

BUT: When did life become so urgent, so immediate, so NOW?

Taking Pause
Vacation is of course simply a reflection of the life you have created, one dependent on being 'linked-in' to your devices, to e-mail,  Face book and Twitter or whatever social media you use. It has become part of a growing addiction, one to which I am not immune. I like my daily dose of connection through Facebook surfing. I have become reliant on it in many ways. AND I also resent the intrusion, the texting while driving, the cell phones everywhere, the need to be attached. I have forgotten how to unwind completely, disconnect, BE quiet, to take pause. I doubt that I am alone.

All of this has left me thinking, not only about vacation, but also how I build in the important 'take pause' time in my life, what I refer to as ME FIRST time.  I am left asking these questions, "Am I so addicted to doing, to being connected, that I have forgotten how to BE? When the NOW pre-occupies me, am I fully present to me?" 

Back to Basics
While I will not be texting while driving, I am not immune to the demands and expectations of today's reality. I am also aware that you and I can make choices to establish boundaries for ourselves and the degree to which we stay connected. A few suggestions:

1.   The 1% Rule
In ME FIRST, we recommend dedicating 1% of your day to YOU. Mathematically this represents 14.4 minutes, 15 minutes to make it easy. 
It is amazing to me the number of people who find this a challenge. Fifteen minutes just for me - what will I do? And therein lies the challenge as this is designed to be "BEING" time, not to be filled with reading, shopping, knitting or any hobby. It is a time designed for reflection, for taking pause. It is a time to simply check in with yourself, to breathe, to meditate, to daydream, to become clear regarding your intentions, to be grateful for your life. It is a time for you to be fully present to YOU.

2.    Big Rocks
This conversation has come up so many times recently, one that begins with, "there is never enough time", or "I am dancing as fast as I can and I still don't get everything done".
Here's the thing, you are not meant to get everything done. You are meant to get the important things done, what I refer to as the big rocks. The rest is filler, stuff that may not even belong to you or stuff that you are simply addicted to doing but when examined has little importance in the greater scheme of things. Use the 1% rule first thing in the morning and become clear on what is important for your day, name your big rocks, and plan your days accordingly.

3.    Time Expands
One thing I know for sure, is that my work, my busyness will expand to fill the time I give it. How many times do I look up to see that the hands of the clock on my desk are reading 6 p.m. and I am still in the middle of whatever. I have also reached the point of ineffectiveness as fatigue influences the quality of my work.
I also know that when I put time limits on projects, I achieve them. Lesson: be clear on your time boundaries and know that you can achieve what you need to within the time you assign the project.

4.    Know what is yours to Own
Be very clear on your YESes, what you agree to take on for others. This has been a fatal flaw for so many of us - we agree to take on issues or projects that do not belong to us. Somehow we believe we can do more efficiently or better. Yes and, they do not belong to us.
Remember, your taking on responsibilities that do not belong to you has results: you become overburdened while the other person does not have to own their responsibilities. It is a disservice to everyone. Not only that, our apparent goodwill holds others back - when they don't learn responsibility you also cheat them of growing confidence and self-esteem.

5.    Understand your Addiction
I am very clear that my 'doing addiction' is highly connected to my sense of self-worth. I suspect I am not alone with this. It may be time for you to understand your addiction as well, whether this is doing, being connected, being responsible, and so on. The unfortunate truth is, none of these doings, which are external to you, will give you the gift of self-esteem or self-worth. Their effect is temporary.

The only person who can give this to YOU is YOU - you are the voice in your head and your heart, self-esteem comes from within. Staying busy is driven by your ego and your fear of simply stopping and listening. It is when you take pause that you have the opportunity to see the greatness of who you are and to begin acknowledging the difference you make to the world around you. It is in the quiet that the truth appears.

Final Word
At the Awakening Festival in April I spoke about 'Cultivating Your Diamond'. The busyness that we have come to expect of ourselves allows no time for this. I encourage you to take pause, to identify time in your life for you and step away from the many distractions that so easily take up your time. You are worth the investment!

And by the way, when you are on vacation, make sure to disconnect! 

What the Meetings Industry Needs to Know about Canada's Anti-Spam Law

This article does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making decisions based on this material alone. Please consult a legal professional for more information pertaining to YOUR situation.

In exactly two months, on July 1, 2014, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will take effect.  This law was actually passed by Parliament in December 2010, and took over 3 1/2 years of industry consultation to bring it to fruition.

It's been so long that very little so far has appeared in the news about it. Thankfully for our industry, CSAE has done a solid job of informing association executives.  But the private sector appears to be completely in the dark about the CASL – meetings industry suppliers especially!

So here is a quick primer:

The CASL applies to any commercial electronic message (CEM, aka email, text, direct messages on social networking accounts) that promotes your organization, facility or service. Examples include soliciting a prospect to book your hotel or inviting recipients to sponsor, attend or exhibit at a conference or event.

Note that the "commercial" aspect applies regardless whether there is an expectation of financial reward.  A DMO or site selection company promoting its free service to source appropriate venues still would subject to this law, even though no money is exchanged.

The cornerstone of the law says that in order to send a CEM, the sender must have consent from the recipient.  

There are two types of consent:

Express consent is the communication agreement you have with an individual client, member, or exhibitor. These contacts have explicitly agreed to receive electronic communication from you. Express consent means they have completed a form, in hard copy or online, or told you verbally, “yes, I want to receive more information from you.” 

Verbal consent only applies if you can prove the conversation took place, with the date and time, supported with information that was shared for the specific purpose of validating the exchange, such as "what is the first letter of your city of birth?" 

With express consent you can continue communicating until you are told to stop.

Implied consent on the other hand is a tentative agreement between you and a prospective client, member or other stakeholder. This would include an online inquiry, an exchange of cards at an industry function, or an individual dropping their business card at a trade show. Such a person could be interested in becoming a client of your organization, but you are not sure. Since he/she has not specifically said “yes, communicate with me”, consent is only implied, and CASL says you can only communicate with them only for six months following their inquiry. 

Implied consent would also apply to anyone you have done business in the last two years, but where the recipient has not filled out a form or given you express verbal consent. 
Implied consent resets every time a new business transaction or inquiry is made.

There are a few "exceptions" where you can communicate electronically, without prior consent.  These are treated as implied-consent records and therefore should be OK to communicate with for a period of up to 6 months:  
  • When someone has published their email on a website or printed directory and not specifically said "I do not wish to receive unsolicited email":  These are considered "fair game".  But be careful to send only communication that could be seen as relevant to the recipient (e.g. if they are a trade show manager, it would be OK to send information about trade show displays, but highly questionable to email them about laser eye surgery, for instance).  
  • If you are referred by someone from within the targeted organization: if you contact an association where the planner has moved on, and you ask for their replacement's contact information, you have legitimate grounds to contact the new planner.  Make sure you mention the referring contact ("further to my conversation with your receptionist...");
  • If two companies have a relationship: An example could be a "master agreement" for special rates between a hotel company and a corporate account.  If you are the hotel sales manager you could send an email to their corporate meeting planner, pointing out the relationship, and asking about potential groups or meetings. 
The "must-have" elements of your message:

All email messages from your organization must contain the name of the sender and their contact information, including physical address and phone number, along with either an email address or website.  If your communication goes through a third party, such as a marketing agency, the sender must also identify who they are sending the message for.

Subject lines must be representative of the content of the email. Resist high-handed subject lines such as “Important News about your membership” or “Important News about the Upcoming Meeting” just for the sake of promoting open rates. Sensational or misleading subject lines are unacceptable.

All email messages must contain an easy, one-click unsubscribe option, which automatically ensures that the recipient no longer receives communication from you.

Other considerations:
  • Process all unsubscribes as quickly as possible. Immediately is best. Organizations that still send emails 10 days after consent has been revoked are more likely to be at risk with both the recipient and the law.
  • It is highly recommended that your email software be connected to your CRM. You may need to have an alternative way to send membership renewal notices, or upcoming meeting details, and other information as required.
  • In the event of a complaint, you will be required to prove that consent was obtained. This includes knowing the method or source of consent (as an example, if they filled out their preferences online), the date it was received, and what permission statement they consented to.
What it could cost you:

Penalties for non-compliance include $200 for each message (one unsolicited communication can count as a violation), and can reach up to $1,000,000 per day for individuals and $10,000,000 for businesses. This will be enforced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). As of July 1, 2017 consumers and businesses will have the right to take civil action against any violator.

For more information on CASL, contact me at 613-288-4512 (yes, I prefer a call... and if I'm not available my voice mail will give you my email address!).  Also consult

Connecting on LinkedIn – the Right Way and the Wrong Way

Regular blog readers will know that I am very particular about requests to connect on LinkedIn.  I’ve had a strict policy of accepting requests only from people I know personally – e.g. People I had worked with, or collaborated with on a committee.

I wrote about this in Stop Polluting LinkedIn a couple of years ago, and commented against the practice of connecting with online acquaintances in various meetings industry chats on business development strategies.

Especially annoying were requests from salespeople who clearly wanted to push their products or services (do they even realize I’m not a meeting planner?). One thought I was “ripe for the picking” because we interacted on Twitter (one request read: You mentioned my company on twitter (PartyPix_CA). I thought it would be good to connect on Linkedin as well. I hope you'll accept my invitation.” Eww…). 

Yet another tried to make me believe we’d met before: “Was it not you that I met at the Tete A Tete conference last week here in Ottawa? Maybe someone else from your organisation?” – as if THAT was going to make me accept his invitation!

But lately a few people have made compelling arguments that made me realize that I was limiting myself, perhaps even acting selfishly.  The first was my friend Mitchell Beer, who commented on my rant about LinkedIn requests from strangers (see What To Do When Mike Lipkin Asks You To Connect).  Mitchell explained that he responds to out-of-the-blue requests by inquiring about the person’s interest in reaching out.  While most people don’t reply, he says he’s had a few good conversations about business opportunities.

Then I read the story of Kelly Blazek, a Cincinnati businesswoman who clearly over-reacted when she was approached by an inexperienced job seeker.  I believe in helping people out and this quickly made me realize my curt responses were not helpful.  Maybe I could offer those unwitting connectors a bit of coaching on how to develop long-term relationships in the hospitality business.

In addition to using Mitchell’s advice, I now look at the person’s profile more carefully… Because in one instance, when I asked for clarification on we knew each other, the person pointed out we’d worked together at a hotel!  Ouch, that was awkward…

Then a few weeks ago I received this LinkedIn request from Ann Ng, a young woman I had met at the CanSPEP breakfast:

Hi Doreen. Thanks again for sharing some important information on Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation and Privacy Act this morning. It also looks like we have a few connections in common. It'd be an honour to connect with you professionally. Hope you had an amazing Wednesday. Thanks, Anna.

Anna is Manager, Graphics & Content at Hilton Suites Toronto/Markham Conference Centre & Spa.  I think she deserves a prize for being so genuine and engaging with her LinkedIn request!  Anna, seasoned professionals could take lessons from you about how to connect in social media.  Thank you for restoring raising the bar!

What do you think is the best way to connect on LinkedIn?  Any horror stories?

The True Value of Meetings – What Is Next?

Earlier this month the Meeting Professionals International Foundation Canada released the results of its latest Canadian Economic Impact study of the meetings industry.  It found that:
  • In 2012, there were 585,000 business events held in Canada, involving 35.3 million participants;
  • These events represented $27.5 billion (1.5%) of Canada's Gross Domestic Product; 
  • The economic activity of these business events supported more than 200,000 full-year jobs, nearly double the number in telecommunications and utilities.
Notable results, though if one refers to the last economic impact study, conducted in 2006, we have yet to return to pre-recession levels. We had fewer meetings and created fewer jobs in 2012, compared to 2006.  Back then,  Canada’s meetings sector was said to have organized 671,000 meetings, creating the equivalent of 235,500 full-year jobs.

Our firm was very involved with this study, as the data gathering partner, working with Maritz Research Canada, The Conference Board of Canada, and the Canadian Human Resource Tourism Council.  I know how rigorous an exercise it was to measure this industry.

And it's prompted a lot of questions in my mind: Are we having fewer meetings or are we meeting in other ways – meeting online, informally in smaller groups, using our own in-house venues (where the impact is not being reported in economic studies of this kind)?  

If we are meeting less, is that a good thing?  Some would say "yes"; fewer meetings have meant a smaller environmental footprint.  But others would argue that meeting face-to-face is a fundamental human need. One that allows us to get to know and trust one another.  To collaborate, innovate and create. If we're not meeting, what does this mean for the human condition?

I'm not sure we'll ever fully know the answer to that question, but we must try.  As an industry we should be focusing on the real impact of meetings, beyond the pure economics.  It's not that economic impact is unimportant; it is.  It was.  We needed to quantify our activities because that's how our world works.

But we now need to move beyond that.  Meetings have a hard cost, an impact on our environment. They use increasingly limited resources, at all levels.  If we are truly going to measure and prove our worth, how do we quantify engagement, learning, innovation?  It's back to the old question: how does the meetings industry report Return on Investment?

The answer lies not in the quantity of meetings, but in their quality: we need to have better, more meaningful meetings. 

Are are we up to the challenge?

When Even Your Friends Go Silent

As a salesperson, have you ever had a stretch where every client and every prospect you try to contact is unavailable?  A time when no one responds to your voice mails, your emails, your texts, not even your friends**?

I certainly have and I hate the feeling.  Many hotel, DMO and meetings industry colleagues have shared their story... Ms. Big-Wig has a tentative contract for a large meeting and she stops communicating.  Your boss is breathing down your neck to get the deal signed.  You've left countless messages.  You really don't want to tick her off (this could mean quota) so what can you do?

1.    Make it about them:  Your prospect could be going through a nightmarish period in their life (think catastrophic situation with their child or parent), could be out of the country on vacation, or could be having mobile connectivity issues.  All three situations happened to some of my clients recently, and their silence wasn't about me.  Don't take offence.  Make it about them in all your inquiries.  "Are you OK?" is a simple subject line that often works!

2.    Expect that it's temporary: There's no room for melodrama here.  If your prospects aren't getting back to you, it's no time to wallow in your sorrow.  Look at your approach, shake it off, but most importantly stay positive and know in your heart that it's only a matter of time.  Research by psychologist Dr. MartinSeligman shows that optimistic people, those who expect negative situations to be only temporary, do better in sales.

3.    Vary your touch points:  According to, leaving a voice mail and immediately following up with an email  boosts response rates.  If phone and email don't do the trick, and the response is urgently required, try getting a cell number and sending a text too.  A drastic measure perhaps (so make sure you don't "cry wolf" and overuse).  The point is, the more diversified your contact points, the more your prospect has a chance to understand and react to the urgency.

4.    Get creative:  A few months ago Jeremy Tyrrell of the Scotiabank Convention Centre shared with me how he got Ms. Big-Wig to finally sign his contract by sending her a video.  His phone messages and emails hadn't done the trick, so he posted a plea on YouTube and got other people to tell her about it!  Gutsy? You bet.  But what did he have to lose?  And now this meeting planner will never forget the extent to which he was willing to go to land her business!  (Click here to view a modified version of the video).

5.    Use humour: One our most challenging projects was the MPI Foundation Canada's Economic Impact Study of the meetings industry.  As the data gathering partner, we had to convince at least 650 meeting planners to take this long online survey and reveal detailed financial information about their events.  The email with the highest open and click through rates had the picture of a cute little girl in pig tails, with a quivering bottom lip; the subject line said, "OK, now we're begging." 

6.    Have lots of leads in your funnel:  Most sales experts will tell you the best way to remove the stress around closing business is to have lots of opportunities in the works.  This way you CAN walk away from that prospect who doesn't respect your time and effort by not responding.  (Read more about Greenfield's Lead Generation Resources here ).

**Yes, just recently, an old friend "went silent" on me.  I was really torn up about it.  
I had contacted her on a business matter.  When I followed up, I got nothing. I followed up again.  Repeatedly.  With a friendly approach, a business approach, a humorous "you-can-tell-me-NO-I'm-a-big-girl" approach, and even a pitiful "what-have-I-done-to-upset-you?" approach.  As it turns out, I should have applied rule #1; she was going through stuff, and she didn’t think I could be so insecure… J

Happy Sweet 16 Greenfield: lessons from 16 years in business

Sixteen years ago today we signed incorporation papers for Greenfield Hospitality Services Inc. (now known as Greenfield Services Inc.). What a ride it's been helping hotels, DMOs and other meetings industry suppliers grow their business!

Now that we've blown out the candles on the cake, let's have a look at some of the changes in the meetings industry since our inception in 1997:

The loss of control to new channels of distribution: OnlineTravel Agencies (OTAs) have gained an impressive share of hotels and resorts' business since the late 90s. It has become increasingly difficult for hotels and meeting planners themselves to prevent convention delegates from checking Hotwire for cheaper rates and booking outside the group block.

And then there's the whole evolution of revenue/yield management, which could be a series of blog posts all on their own... The lesson? It's increasingly difficult for a hotel Director of Sales & Marketing to control his/her turf and truly make a difference with marketing tactics and leadership.

Competition from unexpected sources: in a recent MarketWatch article entitled "Will Aunt Mary's apartment lower Marriott's prices?" AirBNB was described as a real force to contend with in the global lodging industry, arguably the largest brand in the world with 660,000 listings, in 34,000 cities, and 192 countries (March 2014 statistics according to the AirBnB website itself). While many hoteliers are dismissing the "sharing economy" as a fringe trend, one pundit at the recent Hotel Association of Canada Conference referred to AirBnB, and other sharing sites as a "real threat to traditional lodging and meeting facilities."

The lesson? The competition is no longer the hotel across the street or the city in that other province or state.  Technology is bringing pitting your hotel against competitors you never knew existed.

Salespeople who don't know how to sell: okay, I admit, this one is making me sound 100-years old, but I see too many hotel sales people nowadays just don't know how to sell. They send mass emails after a tradeshow, without even bothering to qualify the list to see if attendees have any potential for their facility or destination. They are afraid to pick up the phone.  They send inappropriate LinkedIn connection requests without attempting to forge a proper relationship with a meeting planner.

The lesson? The hotel industry probably only has itself to blame for this development. For years, hotel salespeople have been grossly underpaid and under trained.  And don't think this has anything to do with age; I've seen "veteran" salespeople be guilty of all the above behaviours.  We need to get back to basics, focus on relationship building and elevating the conversation.

Higher planner expectations and a diminishing regard for ethics: and then there are ever-demanding meeting planners looking for perks, points, and purses. We've always had planners looking for comps and upgrades for their group bookings but now there are increasing expectations for loyalty points and personal gifts. Recently I heard of "client appreciation" events that involved purse and shoe shopping! There seems to be an ever increasing competition in the planner-wooing business and I worry how such inducements simply are crossing the ethical line... Is it any wonder why, at the same time, planners are showing disrespect by no-showing at our events?

The lesson? It's getting harder for hotel and venue suppliers to garner respect.  But those who take the high road do win, in the end.  Keep planners accountable (by calling them on no-shows, for instance) and provide education, not just entertainment

That's four major developments that have affected hotels and meeting venues from our vantage point. We have more to share over the next few posts. We'd love to hear your thoughts about changes in the meetings industry in the last 16 years!

An Event Planner's View on Bad Salesmanship

During my time with Greenfield Services, I had been involved in the meetings industry in a supporting role.  I have helped with research and business development projects for hotels and other meetings industry suppliers, but never actually worked at a hotel.   When it came to understanding the state of sales and marketing practices in the hospitality industry, I relied mostly on my colleague Doreen’s thoughts on lazy sales reps and the commoditization of the meetings industry.

That is, until recently.

Now, planning a new event for Greenfield (The Engaging Association Summit), I've had to source and secure a meeting venue that was unique, attractive and truly wanted our business.  Here is what I encountered after I isolated three potential venues that I thought would be suitable:

Venue A:  I reached to this venue by email, with a message to the sales manager listed on their website, asking for a site inspection for the event being planned in July.  I received an out of office reply with another contact name, so I sent an email to the new contact as well.  A few days later (after never hearing from the new contact), the sales manager got back to me by email to advise that their facility was undergoing extensive renovations, and would not be available to view on the day I was asking for.  She then proceeded to ask me if there was something we could chat about, so I forwarded her the RFP I had prepared, asking for a call or a response with pricing, etc.  I never heard from them again.

Venue B:  A little better, but not by much. This venue was also reached by email, asking for a site inspection.  Their General Manager got back to me immediately, advising that he personally would be busy on the day that I was hoping for a site inspection, but his Sales Manager would be happy to walk me through the facility.  I booked an appointment, and on the day of the inspection, she walked me through the facility, talked about different set ups, and took me back to her office to go through some sample pricing.  She wrote on scrap paper to start adding up costs, and offered to send me away with that.  I left her with the RFP and asked her to email me a formal proposal instead by the deadline I requested.  She did respond by the deadline, but had simply typed what she had written on the scrap paper in the body of the email.  I never heard from her again.  I have even seen her at industry events since, and she has not even approached me!

Venue C:  This venue, thankfully, went above and beyond.  The representative responded to me right away.  She walked me through the options available to me for the event space I required.  We did not talk pricing during the site inspection; I left her with my RFP, and she promised to prepare a proper document.  She sent me on my merry way, validating my ticket for parking.  Throughout our interactions, this rep made sure I knew that they truly wanted my business.  We have had numerous phone conversations for clarification, and they have worked hard to get the business. They sent me a REAL proposal to review, and have come back to me with additional options to help me make my event as successful as possible.

I can only hope that my experience with the first two venues is not indicative of what is happening in the meetings industry in Ottawa or elsewhere.  The lack of follow-through and professionalism was truly appalling.  I would encourage venue managers to "mystery shop" their sales teams.  They might find they need to make drastic changes.

Thanks to Nathalie Boulet and the Canadian Museum of Nature for going the extra mile.  I am very much looking forward to our ongoing partnership for Our Engaging Association Summit!

4 Reasons WHY We've Become Time-Starved & Crazy-Busy

Hot off the completion of the data gathering phase of the MPI Foundation's Canadian Economic Impact Study, one thing I can unequivocally say about Canadian meeting and event professionals, both planners and suppliers, is that they seem to be suffering from time starvation and overwork.

Based on my own experience I had a hunch time was becoming a scarcer resource, but talking to hundreds of meeting planners and meeting venue managers confirmed it.  This has been in the making for some time, and it is seriously affecting how we market and sell everything, from events to hotels.

Let's first examine why this may be:

We're Creating More Information

Google CEO Eric Schmidt was reported as saying that, "Between the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created. We [now] create five exabytes every two days. See why it's so painful to operate in information markets?" I'm not sure how much information even one exabyte represents, but from the company whose mission it is to catalogue ALL of the world's information, I take it it's a LOT.

To give but a small indication: the World Wide Web circa 1993 had 130 websites; in 2012, reported there were 634 million websites. And according to Bowker, a leading American bibliographic firm, the number of books published also is growing, thanks to the explosive growth of self-publishing. 

Whether it's online or in print, humankind is producing more information than ever, and there is no sign this will slow down any time soon.

We're Accessing That Information Through More Channels

In a presentation at BizBash Elevate New York in July 2013, social media expert and professional speaker Gary Vaynerchuk asked event professionals attending his session how many of them watched TV with their smartphone nearby so they could answer emails or texts.  About 3/4 of the room's hands went up.  Then he asked how many watched TV with their phone AND a tablet or laptop; almost 1/2 the hands were raised!

At first I thought these people were "over the top", but then my own daughter pointed out that this is exactly what I did when we were catching our favourite reality show together:  I was watching, tweeting about the show, all while trying to finish work...

And I'm not the only one becoming more like my teenager.  According to, "the number of mobile-connected devices [exceeded] the number of people on earth by the end of 2012. By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita." Not only is there more information, but now we're accessing it from multiple sources and multiple devices.  

We Have More Consumption Choices

With the internet smaller companies and retailers can compete with the giants.  And the giants have expanded their buying options to the online world too.  All this translates into more choice. 

Most consumers welcome having more options on what and how they buy.  But there is a dark side to this added flexibility.  Adrian C. Ott, author of The 24-Hour Customer, explains, "[In the U.S.] time use studies have shown that the amount of time spent purchasing goods and services has remained relatively constant since the 1960s. Viewed together the increase in the number available products, coupled with a relatively static time spent buying, presents a considerable challenge for executives. Ultimately, more and more goods and services are attempting to push through a small window of time."

...And So We Have the Paradox of Choice

In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, American psychologist Barry Schwartz actually argued that too much choice actually creates anxiety for most people.  And what happens when we're anxious and we lack time?  We shut things out. 

Adrian Ott asserts, "Businesses are stuck trying to get through to consumers that are actively avoiding them, or to consumers who are so over-saturated with marketing messages in media that they can't hear or see even the content that would interest."

So what are marketers to do when confronted with the mounting hurdles to getting buyers’ attention? How should meetings industry suppliers – hotels, DMOs, AV companies, DMCs, etc. – strive to engage meeting professionals in new business relationships?

We'll be exploring this very question over the next month in this blog.  Join the conversation by posting a question or comment!