I recently attended the MDMC 17 event in St. Louis. It was two days of networking and learning from professionals in the world of marketing, social media and technology. Despite being a TV news reporter and anchor and literally have to talk to total strangers on a daily basis, I am a huge introvert. But with a goal of getting my freelance blogging career a jumpstart, I needed to attend MDMC and step outside my comfort zone.
Planning for the conference started more than six months ago when I asked my buddy Tom Harness and his team at Harness Digital Marketing about the event. Tom is known as the Suit Guy here in southern Illinois for his now 14 different Shinesty/Opposuits. At the time of registration in December, my first suit, a Star Wars Storm Trooper design, was on order. Tom and I talked about wearing something crazy on at least one of the two days for MDMC.
After wearing the Storm Trooper suit a few times around southern Illinois and southeast Missouri I grew very comfortable in it. The reaction was 99.9% positive. I heard one negative comment, but I’m not going to dwell on it. But because I only had the one suit and the conference extended two days I knew I needed to step up my game. That’s where Kohl’s comes in. The retailer now sells some OppoSuits in its stores. I picked up the flamingo design to let potential clients know “I have the leg up on all other bloggers.” Tom wore his Pac-Man suit (one of my favorites) because “it’s game on when it comes to marketing your business.” We came up with these slogans as we walked into the conference. Clever, right?
Wearing the suits to MDMC worked. Tom worked hard on social media before we arrived letting attendees know we’d be there and suited up, ready to network. We spent a good portion of the conference together and answering questions about the suits but then the conversation turned to our careers. Even on my own, I fielded questions, posed for photos and handed out business cards. Within minutes of walking into Union Station, one of the presenters from GoDaddy (pictured above) spotted me and asked to take a photo together. I was amazed. The suits are an immediate icebreaker. You can’t wear one without being noticed. I’m not good at making the first contact, but with the suit on, people came to me and I was able to engage in a meaningful conversation while having a good time. It was a win-win as far as I’m concerned.
The attention the suit attracts is well worth the investment. Time will tell just what the ROI will be in terms of actual blogging gigs. Buying these suits is kind of like getting a tattoo, once you start it’s hard to stop. I’m looking forward to my next purchase and still holding out hope for a wrestling themed design.