March 14, 2012

LeadsCon West 2012: Viva Las Vegas!

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WOW!  What a conference.  What a city.  What an exhilarating (and exhausting!) experience.

As a LeadsCon newbie, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I mean, I’ve been to what feels like one million tradeshows, and managed half as many as a marketing director…so I was curious to find out for myself what all the buzz was about.

As my previous posts indicated, LeadsCon West 2012 was held in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 28 and 29 (with a special buyers only event held on the 27th).  Vegas is one of the best places to hold tradeshows, so that, by design, is a positive.  The leads ecosystem is forever evolving with new businesses and professionals entering the market all the time, so that’s a positive.  And, since I planned our exhibit (complete with photo booth) and party (with our partner Leads360) I knew those were going to be, if nothing else, fun!  So, positives there, too.

Thus, I came into the show with the following:

  • Vegas?  Positive.Evolving industry? Positive.
  • Fun booth? Positive.
  • Cool parties? Positive.

Seemingly, the basics were covered.  But, what else would make THIS particular LeadsCon stand out?

Well, first, companies in attendance topped 1200 and total attendance topped 2600—a myriad of exhibitors welcomed booth visitors with hospitality and enthusiasm, speakers inspired and challenged audiences, the Mirage excited and delighted (just ask me about my final night’s stay in the penthouse suite),  and the networking was unstoppable.  So unstoppable, in fact, that it stymied my original plan of being a devout LeadsCon student—attending each and every seminar available, soaking up new industry knowledge, every minute completely rapt—graduating with my PhD in “the biz.”  Yeah…not so much.

My team was on FIRE this year!  Booth regulars like Joey Liner, Syed Zaidi, andBrian Ocheltree spent so much time meeting with clients, prospects, and partners that our “while you were out” notebook was nearly full.  At times us DP booth folks were outnumbered by a margin of at least 3:1 by those wanting to chat with us.

DoublePositive/LeadsCon360 party bracelets were so in demand they became near black market items.  And, I was about ready to hang a sandwich board sign on my back that said “To speak with JT Benton, please take a number.”

So, what WAS all the excitement about?  What made this year different?

Well, it started right before the show when we were honored with two LeadsCouncil LEADER™ awards— Best Hot Transfer:Lending and Best Hot Transfer:Technology.


Needless to say, we were thrilled and took that enthusiasm straight to Vegas.

On Monday at 2:30 (the day before the actual show began), the aforementioned Mr. Benton spoke at the first-ever LeadsCon Buyers Summit about performance mobile marketing.  JT, a long standing expert in the field, spoke about why (finally) the time is right for mobile click-to-call, how it impacts marketing and media plans, and strategies for implementing it successfully.  All of this good stuff was promoted well in advance via news releases and blog entries, and a terrific webinar produced by our partners at Ring Revenue.  At the close of the seminar, JT also unveiled DP’s first white paper on the subject.  (SPOILER ALERT: Look out for a webinar in the very near future where you can learn from the master himself and get your own copy of the whitepaper.)

Although I wasn’t able to see it live myself, I would have thought JT was one of the Beatles at the height of their popularity (thus the sandwich board dream).  A big shout out to @LeadsCouncil for their tweet “@DoublePositive JT Benton Doing an amazing job presenting on Mobile Marketing #LeadsCon.”  Thanks guys!

On Tuesday morning, as the team’s official “crazy marketing lady” it was my job to make sure that DoublePositive was ready for the crazy schedules that were ahead of them, that our booth was inviting and fun, and that our head “misfits,” company CEO and EVP, Sean Fenlon and Joey Liner, respectively, were prepped and ready to go for their welcoming address.  Sean and Joey had the priveledge of welcoming the entire conference immediately following the keynote.  The moment was certainly not lost on them as Joey (@joeyliner), so fittingly  tweeted: “This is 1 of those defining moments in life, about to speak to 2500+ in a welcome address for LeadsCon with my partner Sean #DoublePositive.”

Following the welcoming address, it was over to the tradeshow floor where our 10×20 booth was transformed into a comfortable lounge space complete with a photo booth (to capture folks in their tradeshow best)!  We brought our favorite DP website characters with us, we had Viking helmets, sunglasses, and signs promoting Joey for Mayor!

While people shed their inhibitions in the most PG ways possible in photo booth…


…others shed their shoes and kicked up their feet on our couches (including our very own John Nuclo, Stein Kretsinger, and Syed Zaidi—can you feel the love?).


The DoublePositive team was visible on the floor and off Tuesday—most notably with Joey “LeadsCon Mayor” Liner invited to speak during the “Is Lead Gen a Dirty Word?” panel.  He was joined by Jeremy Johnson, Co-Founder and CMO, 2tor, Inc., John Kobs, CEO & Co-Founder,, and moderated by Jeff Lawson, CEO & Co-Founder of Twilio. (That’s our guy, second from the left.)


All the while, attendees zoomed from booth to booth making friends and influencing people—and searching for the sacred bracelets for the DoublePositive/LeadsCon360 party later that night at Rhumbar.

So…later that night at Rhumbar…the atmosphere was sumptuous, the drinks were spirited and flowed freely , the staff at the club couldn’t have been more hospitable, the weather was beautiful (albeit a little on the windy side), and everyone relaxed…played some cards,  snapped some shots in the photo booth and all around had a great time.


Thank you to our friends at Leads360 for (once again!) making it a special night, and thank you to Steve Hall for the great photographs (below).


Up early again Wednesday morning…

Day two proved even more exciting as attendees and exhibitors alike knew they had just one final day to meet, greet, and eat.  Our booth was a flurry of folks looking to engage with our team members, learn about our products and services, and snap some shots in our photo booth.


Midway through the afternoon, our very own Rich Dent donned his favorite sombrero and participated in a video interview about the show with VigLink CEO, Oliver Roup.  Go Rich!


After a brief rest and bite to eat, it was off to the LeadsCon VIP after show party at newly opened 1Oak Night Club in the Mirage Hotel and Casino.  Attendees got decked in their show-stopping finest and partied in celebration of another spectacular LeadsCon.  Our team really got into the spirit of the event (thanks again to Steve Hall for the great pic on the left)!


So, let’s review.  Obviously, my expectations were pretty basic and I kept that that way as to not be disappointed:

  • Vegas?  Positive.
  • Evolving industry? Positive.
  • Fun booth? Positive.

What I wasn’t expecting was EVERYTHING ELSE LeadsCon West had to offer.  Although I did not get to attend many seminars (because apparently I was preparing for some kind of cross-country marathon running from one end of the Mirage to the other all day long!) I heard from many teammates, associates, and those through the social networks (just look up #leadscon) how much they learned and enjoyed the material. Personally, I learned a heck of a lot about the industry, how deep my colleagues knowledge is (they fielded questions from every direction!), and how enthusiastic everyone remains about contributing to and shaping the leads ecosystem.    And the networking?  Let’s just say I am happy to have e-copies of all photographs from the booth so I can continue to match names with faces.

Obviously, my expectations were BLOWN AWAY.  We put a lot of work into preparing for LeadsCon, and LeadsCon clearly delivered back so much more.

  • Amazing speakers? Positive.
  • Super smart people?  Positive.
  • Great networking? Positive.

Doing it all again at LeadsCon East? DOUBLE positive.

See y’all in New York City!