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Mighty Mighty Weekend – A Marketer’s Perspective of the 2010 Mighty Summit

October 4, 2010

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of crashing Maggie Mason’s  Mighty Summit.  OK, I wasn’t really crashing, but it does help explain what my role was. 

The concept behind the event is to take a small group (25+) of socially connected women and whisk them away for a weekend to recharge, regenerate, and contemplate.  By contemplate, I mean review their “life lists” – 30, 40, 50 or even 100 goals that they hope to accomplish in the next year or so.  They were going to do it at a beautiful resort in Sonoma County, CA, complete with wine, pampering, great food, wine, amazing gifts, and did I mention the wine? 

When I was approached about becoming a sponsor of the summit, I signed up pretty much immediately.  It seemed like a really fun concept and I knew that we (meaning Wiley) had to be a part of it.  We’re always looking for ways to connect with social media influencers and get to know the audience that is and could be buying our books.  We didn’t really have a plan at that point, but we both figured that the fit between the attendees and our products were right and we’d figure it out.

What we were able to put together certainly exceeded my expectations.  We decided Dummies would play two parts in the weekend.  First, we became the presenting sponsor of the wine education class.  The summit organizers brought Erin Sullivan in to teach a class on wine to the Summiteers.  Just like Dummies, she was fun, low-key and packed a tremendous amount of valuable information into her presentation.  Each attendee walked away with a copy of California Wine For Dummies which provided the basis for Erin’s talk.   This is a photo of one of the tables before we all sat down and got some wine in us. 

How awesome is this?

The second half of our promotion was even more fun.  We played on the concept of the life lists – knowing that these women were trying to achieve certain goals, we thought, how can we help them do this.  Obviously, in my world, Dummies is a great way to learn something new and have fun doing it.   So, let’s throw Dummies at the challenge!

I spent a bit of time pouring through the life lists of each attendee.  For those that didn’t do a life list, I read their blogs.  And reread.  Rinse and repeat.  It became really clear how important it was to match the right books with the right person.  I used the talents of our whole team on some of the life lists.  We noticed some omissions (Cheese!  How do we not have “Cheese For Dummies”?) but overall we didn’t have too much trouble as the breadth and depth of the Dummies brand gave us more options than we could possibly need.  Who wants to be getting on a plane with 20 books?  Uh, not me.

The Summiteers

After the wine education, we took off for lunch at Arista, a local winery.  It was there that we gave the women their specially selected Dummies titles.  There were some great reactions when people realized that they now had NO EXCUSE not to learn to knit, take better pictures or create custom jewelry.  Dummies would show them the way!

So, as my boss would ask, what was the ROI on this?  Will they all read the books and blog extensively about them?  Don’t know.  And I didn’t ask them to do that.  That’s not what this was about.  It was about showing how they could achieve things on their life lists, helping them achieve something – in other words,  what I could do for them as opposed to what they could do for me.  I do know that I have a connection with many of the women who attended.  Hopefully, I put a face on Wiley and on Dummies that shows us in a good light. 

I do know if anyone does blog about a book, it might not happen right away.  Unlike a new purse or face cream, a book is much more of a committment for someone to get into, and it’s not something we could expect to see in the next week, much less next month.   That’s self-improvement for you.  It does take time!

There are a lot of posts from the bloggers involved with the summit, but two that talk about For Dummies and my involvement are here and here.   I’m not sure why I look so scared in Laura’s post, but it was no reflection on my time at the Summit. 

Overall this was a great thing for Dummies and for me to be a part of.  I’m grateful to Maggie, Laura and Helen Jane for the opportunity to participate.  The Summit was a remarkable achievement, and I feel like they should be put in charge of something bigger, like NATO, because there really isn’t any problem they can’t solve.  

Even though I wasn’t there as an attendee, I did pick up a bit of inspiration from these amazing women.   Once I have a minute or two of spare time, maybe on my trans-Atlantic flight next month, I’m going to put together my own life list.  I’m going to wear more color – the “words-will-fail-when-I-try-and-describe-how-adorable-she-truly-is” Erin Loechner made that point clear without saying a word.  Cutest outfit ever, and all from Target.  Who knew?    I also thought back to when we moved my in-laws out of their house and poured out bottle after bottle of really good but really old wine that had turned.  Don’t wait for joy – if you have a great bottle of wine, open it and share it with good friends.  And after reading Laura’s post, I’m going to stop worrying about what I look like in pictures and just smile for the camera. 

There’s so much more, but that’s what a blog is for, right?  Stay tuned..

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 5:54 pm

    Love this perspective! So fascinating.

    And if I ever get my sex life back… that book will get the credit. 😉

  2. October 4, 2010 5:57 pm

    ha! Remember, you were meant for RV Vacations, not Sex. If that doesn’t say it all, nothing does.

  3. October 5, 2010 11:24 am

    I love this! It was such a pleasure having you there, and the thought you put into Wiley’s involvement made a huge impression on everyone. My beau and I have already started our “Singing” and “Songwriting” Dummies books! 🙂

  4. October 7, 2010 11:22 pm

    i LOVED this post, sweet ellen! (and you’re pretty adorable yourself!).
    have already dug into my narnia books and am learning so MUCH. it was fantastic to meet you, and i’m so glad you were part of the event.

    let’s keep in touch, yes? 🙂

  5. October 27, 2010 4:31 pm

    This is a really great post. You were so generous and lovely and I really enjoyed getting to know you, even just a little.

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