Hiring A Marketing Speaker? Watch For These 7 Things

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When looking for a marketing speaker for your event, company, or conference, it’s important to know what to look for. We’re in the digital age of marketing gurus, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When it seems like everyone with a LinkedIn account is promoting themselves as a marketing guru, how do you hire a marketing speaker with confidence?

A marketing speaker can transform your audience, providing more than just actionable advice. Through inspirational, energizing language, marketing speakers inspire their audience to reach new heights. This takes an equal amount of education, energy, and experience. Beyond understanding your audience, they also need to have real-world education and experience. The ideal marketing speaker is likable, trustworthy, and has a proven track record. With so many things to consider, where do you begin?

The world of marketing is expanding rapidly. With the employment of advertising and marketing managers predicted to grow upwards of 10% by 2030, now is the time to invest in top leaders. Whether you’re planning an event, conference, or retreat, don’t waste time looking at the right things. It’s one thing to be a great marketer. It’s another thing entirely to be a great marketing speaker. 

If you’re ready to start the search for a marketing speaker, you’re in the right place. With over a decade of speaking experience, I understand the 7 things you should look for in any marketing speaker. While it’s tempting to go with the speaker who has the biggest social media following, it’s important to look at the big-picture. 

Knowledge Of Marketing Trends

First, the right marketing speaker has a strong knowledge of marketing trends. It’s not enough nowadays to understand fundamentals. This is a fast-moving industry. What was true a year ago is no longer true today. That means the best marketing speakers are well-versed in up-and-coming trends like multi-channel marketing, personalization, and omnichannel marketing. 

Depending on your specific audience or event focus, you might want them to have experience with additional trends as well. Many marketers bring external education, research, and skills to the table along with their marketing know-how. For example, a software engineer turned marketer brings a unique perspective on tech trends to their marketing know-how. 

With that in mind, what marketing trends are likely to be the most relevant in the upcoming months and years? Though nothing is ever guaranteed, we can count on the following to be a big part of the marketing landscape:

  • Experience: The customer experience is more essential than ever before, and it’s expanding its reach. Today, it’s about keeping new and existing customers engaged, as well as your employees. 
  • Conversational marketing: Gone are the days of formal ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ language. Instead, customer service and marketing personnel are creating conversational messages to bring themselves to the customer’s level. 
  • Social commerce: As brands become more social than ever before, new forms of social marketing and commerce are becoming the norm. This includes the rise of influencer marketing. 
  • AI automation: Artificial intelligence is here to stay, but this doesn’t mean we’re entering the age of the robots. Instead, AI-powered technology is taking charge in marketing efforts. 
  • Video: Lastly, video and visual marketing are becoming more prevalent than traditional written content. In fact, by 2022, video is expected to account for 82% of all online traffic.

Content Creation/Contribution

Next, make sure your marketing speaker practices what they preach. It’s easy to present about marketing, but real-world experience speaks for itself. In other words, they should be following their own advice about marketing. This usually means checking that this person knows what it means to create a strong marketing campaign, and they use this knowledge to build their own audience. 

This can take many forms. Today, it’s common for marketing speakers to have an active social media presence. In fact, 32% of consumers are more likely to check out a brand’s social media presence before checking out their website. In addition, many marketing speakers create their own websites, creating resources and high-value content for their followers. Through this, they prove they don’t just talk the talk. 

Similarly, marketing speakers also know the power of building upon their own audiences. Though they’re active on their own platforms, they also contribute to other sources. This includes podcasts, videos, popular blogs, and even news outlets. It’s important for marketers to demonstrate their expertise through content and contribution. 

To see this in action, look at marketing expert Amy Porterfield. Though she primarily sells online courses about marketing, she also practices what she preaches. By giving away free content, courses, and podcast episodes, she builds real trust with her audience. This is the type of marketing that converts long-term. Amy Porterfield isn’t just an online course teacher, she’s also a pro at building her audience of dedicated superfans

Action-Oriented Presentations

Additionally, steer clear of those who fill their advice with cliches or fluff. The internet is full of so-called “gurus” who claim they have the next big marketing insight. While this might be true in rare cases, you need a marketing speaker who understands real results. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, and there are no shortcuts. The right marketing presentations are action-oriented and concrete. 

If you can’t understand real, actionable steps from the marketer’s advice, this isn’t a real expert. It’s easy to use inspirational language and trendy words, but these fall away if there’s nothing concrete behind it. How can you spot fluff and filler in marketers? Though there are some exceptions, avoid these common culprit words and phrases below:

  • Really: The word ‘really’ isn’t inherently bad, but it can be overstated. It’s not specific. For instance, if you say something is ‘really’ big, what size is it actually?
  • Always and never: Using ‘always’ and ‘never’ is rarely ever appropriate. Is anything ever this all-inclusive? Most likely not. 
  • You should: Similarly, ‘you should’ easily comes across as criticism. It implies that you’re not capable of figuring things out on your own. 
  • Agile: A common marketing cliche is to throw around the term ‘agile.’ Though this is a way to call your practice versatile, it’s very overused. 
  • Hacking: Another marketing cliche is the idea of ‘hacking’ or ‘growth hacking’ the system. Though this might sound trendy on social media, the real-world has no ‘hacks.’ 
  • Stand out: Lastly, many marketers encourage their audience to ‘stand out’ without providing real ways to do this. 

Referrals/Reviews From Past Clients

Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of referrals. No matter what someone claims online, you shouldn’t always take their word for it. Referrals and reviews from past clients are worth their weight in gold. In fact, word of mouth is the most influential psychological driver for purchases. It affects 54% of purchase decisions.

When making a big decision, like hiring a marketing speaker, you want to trust they’ll do a good job. By looking for referrals and reviews from past clients, it’s easier to build trust in working with them. This doesn’t have to be from big-name past clients, though that certainly doesn’t hurt. While you might have heard the phrase ‘talk is cheap,’ this isn’t the case when it comes to referral marketing. 

Before hiring any type of speaker, it’s a good idea to check referrals and reviews. Better yet, ask around at similar events in your industry to see who’s recommended. Consider any speakers you’ve had the pleasure of hearing in the past, whether in-person or online. Does anyone stand out with their experience or energy? This acts as a referral in its own right, and it’s how many event managers find their speakers.  

Social Proof

Similar to referrals is social proof. This is a type of marketing that plays into human psychology, and it’s a very powerful indicator of trust. Social proof is when people conform with others who have more expertise or experience. There are many different types of social proof, and they each have their own value:

  • Expert: This type of social proof is when an expert in your industry recommends a specific individual. This can be a social media shoutout, website link, or other expert endorsement. 
  • Celebrity: Another type is celebrity social proof. As the name implies, this is when a celebrity endorses a specific person or product (ie. an influencer sharing their experience on Instagram). 
  • User: Though not as flashy, user social proof can be just as powerful. This is when a current user, customer, or client recommends something based on their experience. The most common form of this is in reviews. 
  • Wisdom of the crowd: When a large group of people (like a group or organization) endorses a brand or professional, this is the wisdom of the crowd. 
  • Wisdom of your friends: If those in your own circle (friends, colleagues, etc.) approve of a specific individual, this is wisdom of friends’ social proof. 
  • Certification: Lastly, if an authority figure or industry program certifies an individual, this is also a type of social proof. 

With 91% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations, you can’t ignore social proof. When you see marketing speakers with these types of social proof above, they’ve earned this trust through their expertise. It’s a good sign they have a proven track record of success. 

Willingness To Customize

Moreover, the right marketing speaker is willing to customize the experience. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to speaking engagements. While it’s not always fair to ask speakers to customize some things, they should be accommodating to your event (assuming you’re paying the full speaking fee). 

Many keynote speakers, for example, include other products and services within their event package. This could be free downloads or tools for your audience or special discount links. In what ways do these fit your goals and serve your audience? When a speaker is unwilling to compromise or make adjustments, this could be a sign that they’re not a good fit. 

Every skilled speaker knows that they need to adapt to the situation. Whether this means adjusting the topic to meet your company’s goals, including new research, or so on, this is a completely reasonable ask. In fact, when a marketing speaker is able to evolve their speaking and packages to suit your needs, they’re demonstrating their adaptability within the industry. 

One important way to think of your speakers is as advocates. This means they’re advocates for your event, and they’re partners in its success. When speakers are a part of pre-event and post-event marketing, everyone experiences better results. 

Willingness To Stick Around

Last but not least, you don’t want a marketing speaker who is always looking for the next thing. You want someone who is accessible before the event and after the program. As explained above, it’s important for your speakers to be event advocates. They don’t fly in just to speak and then dash out the door immediately after. 

When your marketing speakers are willing to stick around and engage, they offer even greater value. They have the opportunity to get involved in more ways beyond the speech itself, such as:

  • Content sharing: Your speaker shares content related to the event in advance, helping spread the word to his or her own audience. 
  • Interviews: When a speaker is available for pre-conference and post-conference interviews, it creates an interactive space for questions and engagement. 
  • Videos: Speakers can also take part in videos before and during the event. Not only does this give you more visual content to promote, but it shows that your speakers are excited about the event itself. 
  • Email campaigns: Speakers can include the event in their upcoming emails, and they can also become guest contributors to your existing email campaigns. 
  • Conversations: Most importantly, event speakers should keep the conversation going offstage on social media, email, and beyond. 

Your speakers can be your biggest advocates, leveraging your new and existing audience. The perfect marketing speaker is the full package. They’re engaged not only during the event, but also at the pre-planning and post-planning stages. 

Find Your Ideal Marketing Speaker

With that in mind, you’re now ready to find the marketing speaker who’s right for your event. This isn’t always one-size-fits-all. What works for one event might not be the right fit for another. However, some things are non-negotiable like this list above. 
As an award-winning keynote speaker, I understand the importance of creating superfans both on and off stage. Each presentation is a chance to inspire, entertain, and engage, and this is what it’s all about. Want to learn more? Let’s schedule a time to chat!

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