5 Key Marketing Lessons from 2016’s Paleo f(x)
A few years ago, I had a health crisis that shook me to my core. I’ve started a blog about it that’ll be shared in a couple weeks.
Suffice to say, while I’ve always been passionate about health, when my doctor told me “we don’t know what causes” the disease she’d diagnosed me with, “I could google it,” there is a whole ‘nother gear I found to reclaim the quality of my life.
As fate would have it, my voracious, tasmanian-devil path crossed with a neurosurgeon and paleo blogger in Nashville that changed the trajectory of my life. Dr. Jack Kruse was the opening keynoter for the very first Paleo f(x) conference in Austin , and I spent two years managing his community, helping him grow his business online, and learning some crucial fundamentals to reclaiming my health … stuff like the brain-gut axis, leaky gut, the hormone cascade, mitocondrial energy production, and biohacking.
While taking care of Jack, I was exposed to the Paleo movement and fantastic thought leaders like Dave Asprey , Ben Greenfield , and Sara Gottfried who helped me to reclaim my life.
No surprise then, that when I moved to Austin, my “wishlist” hope was to connect with the Paleo community here (Austin is like, the paleo capital of the world … I love this town!). And as luck would have it, I was invited to a birthday party for Paleo f(x) founder Michelle Norris.
I got to know her and her husband, Keith, and we were instant besties.
Michelle and Keith Norris are two of the original founders of Paleo f(x) , the annual conference dedicated to teaching people to apply the insights of the ancestral health movement. The industry’s top thought leaders and celebrated practitioners come each year to speak and teach. For many of these thought leaders, Paleo f(x) has been the launch pad for some pretty successful careers. You’ll find New York Times bestselling authors, popular bloggers, community and sustainability activists, biohackers, chefs, functional movement practitioners, and more at each event.
This year, Keith and Michelle invited me at the 11th hour to support them by managing their live broadcasting from the event. It was fun! I was honored to light myself on fire and support this movement.
Key learnings from the 2016 conference
My role at the event consisted of live broadcasting from the event floor, creating a great experience for event attendees at the Paleo f(x) TV booth, and supporting the sponsors, speakers, and vendors with lots of visibility. I didn’t work alone – I partnered with some amazing people at the conference to get those things done – and all of us walked away knowing we’d pretty much crushed it.
Not only did this year’s Paleo f(x) have the most speakers, the largest variety of vendors, and the highest number of attendees for any event to date, it also had an audience that was incredibly engaged and active – both at the conference and in online social channels.
While we are excited about our results and the bump our efforts created, we also identified some opportunities for growth, too.
1. Telling the right brand story across all marketing channels
Although the paleo movement is known as a diet and exercise philosophy, the soul of the movement is much more heart-centered. Sustainability, honoring the environment, exploring our soul’s journey on this planet, learning from science what our bodies need to function at their best (like sleep and a healthy circadian rhythm), these are all themes that permeate the hearts of those who are part of this very green movement.
These core ideas are front-and-center at Paleo f(x), yet they aren’t obvious outside of the event, in “paleo” conversations around the web, or Paleo f(x)’s digital channels. Ensuring that this beautiful, rich story is told across ALL channels, year round, is important to attracting new tribe members, creating excitement amongst those who are aligned with the movement and establishing paleo as more than a fad diet.
2. You can’t improve what you can’t measure
Paleo f(x) was a three-day event, and for those three days, we were trending on Twitter all over the country. It was awesome. We didn’t, unfortunately, have tracking and metrics set to identify the content that was getting the most traction.
Because we didn’t know what was resonating, we couldn’t pivot, reinforce, or broadcast on that content strategically. Total missed opportunity, but one that’s (thankfully) easily fixed moving forward.
3. Momentum needs great marketing
Paleo f(x) TV is like the netflix of paleo content, a new offering from Paleo f(x) that showcases tons of fantastic Paleo f(x) content from some of the most popular teachers, scientists and health experts in the world. A lot of work went into setting up this new channel, but the marketing to educate people about Paleo f(x) was almost non-existent leading up to the event.
Here’s a peek at what you can expect on their channel:
Because Paleo f(x) TV was a new offer, pre-conference emails or social posts that introduced the service and warmed-up the audience could have gone a long way toward driving sign-ups. Because of all the activity leading up to the event, marketing around Paleo f(x) TV was almost non-existent.
On day one, lots of people hadn’t heard of Paleo f(x) TV and signups were few and far between. So on day two, Keith and Michelle promoted it from the stage and people started registering in good numbers. Getting people to take action required some social proof and explanation from someone the attendees trusted!
4. Give all your social channels the right kinda love
I told you above that we owned Twitter during the event. And we did – big time. We fell short when it came to Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or most of the other major social outlets. We simply weren’t set up to drive those channels well with the right kind of content. Given the amazing amount of engagement we stir up with the event, we know that pivoting across all social channels is a massive area of opportunity for us next year.
5. Girls–and guys!–just wanna have fun!
One of the best ways to get a lot of mileage out of participating in events is to create memorable experiences for the attendees. For our Paleo f(x) TV booth, we created a selfie section that included a custom graffiti background and lots of fun props for attendees to wear for their selfies, which they shared on social with our hashtags.
It was a HUGE HIT!
Another one of our most successful efforts was, frankly, a bit of a gimmick. We bought a T-Rex costume and had various people dressing up as the Paleo f(x) T-Rex … and the crowd loved it! Everyone wanted pictures with the T-Rex. We did a pushup competition between the men over at the Bulletproof booth and the T-Rex (who held his own, in case you were wondering!), created fun live videos of the T-Rex doing strength training, riding in the Bulletproof butter car, and basking in the infrared sauna. Our T-Rex even made a few fun appearances on the Enviromedica stage. I seriously laughed my head off the entire weekend.
What we *weren’t* prepared for was the number of batteries that would be required to keep the costume inflated, or the huge hole that we wore into the costume’s tail from roaming the floor, which caused our T-Rex to deflate! We are definitely doing some contingency planning for next year!
Experiential marketing drives engagement tremendously. What are some ways you can drive traffic to your social channels?