As one of my projects, Vocus asked me to program the Demand Success 2013 conference (6/20-21), their first marketing conference open to the general public. Last week we announced our second major keynote, Elisabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olsen on Mad Men. I was tickled that the buzz revolved around Mad Men, and not the presence of two strong ladies Moss and Arianna Huffington as the leading voices of Demand Success 2013.
To me, that’s remarkable because for once female speakers at an Internet marketing conference are a non-issue.
Our two primary keynotes are women, and no one cares. Why? Because they are qualified, relevant, and obvious.
Here’s another reason… This is what the market wants: Fair and balanced programming that highlights great minds on all sides of the aisle. When companies and events meet customer desires with their product or service, the offering is simply accepted at face value.
Frankly, both speakers kind of happened. The fact that they were both women provided extra value-add that factored into the consideration, though. All things being equal, we wanted to make a statement.
In the case of Arianna Huffington, her incredible leadership at Huffington Post and now at AOL is amazing. The Huffington Post is the sixth most trafficked news site in a America, and is leveraging algorithms, search, professional journalists and bloggers to dominate the Internet. Arianna will deliver insights into building top tier content in this fast moving age of social and mobile.
Elisabeth Moss plays a young women breaking glass ceilings as a writer in the 60s advertising agency world. Her insights into the industry’s favorite TV show, as well as perspectives on women, and marketing then and now will add fun fare to a line-up chock full of substance. We did look at her show-mates John Hamm (shooting a movie in Atlanta at the time of the conference) and show producer/writer Matthew Wiener, but Moss was the best fit.
Part of that fun includes letting attendees ask Moss questions, so we’re crowdsourcing the Qs (add yours if you’d like). The five best questions submitted as determined by votes, Moss and Vocus will win free registrations tot he conference. We’re also theming the evening networking party on June 20 Mad Women and Men.
So there it is, two leading ladies and not a word about their gender. That’s the way it should be.
Hopefully, there will come a day in the very near future where this just happens for every tech and Internet media event.
Also, I have a special #demand13 rate for my friends. Use the discount code GeoffDS13 for a $500 registration. That’s roughly 2/3 to 1/2 off the list price (depending on when you register).
What do you think? Are we making progress with the female speaker issue?