Tete-a-tete comes from the French, literally "head-to-head." This meaning seemed to me peculiarly appropriate for what I have in mind planning X Change’s newest feature – the one-on-one conversations with experts. Last year, the vast majority of the Huddles at X Change were led by industry experts from agencies, tool vendors and consultancies. This year, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere, we switched to having Huddle leaders managing or doing enterprise analytics. But I wanted to find a way to preserve/maximize the value of the agency/tool/consulting experts without introducing the elements of sponsorship/selling/advertising that can easily get annoying and destroy the collegial atmosphere essential to a Conference build around conversation.
What we’re trying is the Tete-a-Tete. It’s paired up with a general networking reception (something people felt like we need more of last year) – so people can either mingle freely in a big group, pair off with one or more experts, or do a little of each.
Here’s how it’s going to work. Participants can request a Tete-a-Tete with any of the experts (it’s pretty much first come, first serve in assignment). They’ll get a 20 minute slot where they can chat, one-on-one, “head-to-head.” These aren’t sales meetings. The experts at X Change do sell, of course, though for most of them it isn’t their primary function. And if you want to ask about their services, you’re obviously welcome - though given that many of our competitors will be there I’d just as soon you didn’t! But Tete-a-Tete’s are meant, like the rest of X Change, to be driven by the attendee and to be about conversation and information.
So what about sitting down with Eric Peterson and talking – oh I don’t know – mobile analytics, engagement metrics, web analytics process, etc., etc. After which, you could mosey over to Jim Sterne and talk some serious strategic online marketing and measurement.
If you want to get your two-cents in with Omniture about mobile tracking, find out more about key products directions, or just talk enterprise implementations, I know Matt Langie and Bret Gundersen are anxious to get your input. And John Squire and Aaron Gray aren’t just fantastic if you want to talk Coremetrics or WebTrends – they are also top practitioners in the field who can almost certainly help you think better about implementing, doing and evangelizing web analytics more effectively.
Perhaps you’d like to talk with any of our three keynoters (Megan Burns, Bill Gassman, or John Lovett) about the state of the industry, where we’re heading, and what they’re researching. Pretty cool.
On the other hand, if you’re at all into Search Engine Marketing, I can assure that a conversation with Craig Danuloff of Commerce360 will be one of the high-points of your day. Ditto Angel Morales on email and online targeted marketing. These guys know their stuff better than cold.
Need some advice about tool selection and tools? You might want to try our own Phil Kemelor who puts together the CMS Watch reports on web analytic tools. He’ll be happy to tell you what’s worth looking at and why. Or you can pump him on how to use web analytics strategically within your organization. I’m pretty sure you’ll have a great conversation.
And if you’re curious about the state-of-the-art in essential areas like VOC and multivariate testing, it’s pretty sweet to be able to talk one-on-one with Eric Head of ForeSee, Mark Treschl of OpinionLab or Eric Hansen of SiteSpect!
Want to know what some of us who are day-to-day in web analytics consulting think about key analytic projects, potential stumbling blocks, or interesting new techniques? You might want to sit-down with Aurelie Pols, Josh Manion or Jacques Warren. All, I believe, truly great practictioners. Or, of course, Gary Angel. I would love to talk visitor segmentation, SEM analytics, analytic reporting, functionalism, form analysis, implementations, data integration, your big problem of the day or even San Francisco restaurants. People who know me know I’m kind of a quiet guy but that I also love to talk. Oxymoron? Maybe, but it’s true.
Tete-a-tete’s are a chance to bounce ideas, products requests, weird questions and what-ifs by some of the most accomplished people in our field. They are great way to get some thoughts or guidance on particular issue, to get a conversation started, or to learn more about something you know will matter but that you’re not in the market for. Or maybe just to meet some people in our industry who – believe me – are well worth knowing. I’ve talked web analytics with almost everyone here, and I’ve learned a lot. I’m pretty sure anyone would. I think last year showed that the Huddle format – an open conversation among peers – drove its own unique value. I’m hoping that this year, we’ll find the same about Tete-a-tetes.
Meet you there!