• Michael Tucker

Lessons learned from rebooting Virtual Marketo User Groups in 2017

Updated: Jun 2

Switching your in-person Marketo User Group to a virtual meeting format requires a different mindset. Back in late 2017, when I first started contributing to the Marketo Community, there was only one active Marketo User Group for Microsoft Dynamics users. As I was starting my Marketo consultancy, The Conversion Store, this seemed like a great way to continue to learn and grow from fellow Marketo Certified Experts, but today it’s even more important as we’re learning to learn, work, and engage through social distancing barriers.

On Friday, I launched an impromptu learning session with other Marketo User Group leaders on how to make this transition to virtual, online meetings, which builds on a previous session that I had run for the MUG Leader community back in 2018. Here’s a recording for you to see:

A different approach for different media

Virtual events really are a different kind of media than a live event. Rather than putting on an event, it’s better to think of these meetings like producing a television program. That’s important because going virtual reduces the amount of interactivity that you can have.

Let’s face it, you can only really have one - maybe two - people talking in a virtual meeting room before everyone is drowned out in a sea of voices. So think like a television producer or a broadcast journalist.

Below is some very helpful advice that I got from television interviewers like Larry King and Katie Couric on how to run a concise interview for television (or a Virtual User Group).

Tips for your Virtual Marketo User Groups

Here are some questions and tips to consider as you're moving to a virtual format:

“What’s the most effective frame to have in my shot at a given time?”

When talking with two people on video, turn off your screen share so that Zoom turns to a full screen video presentation of that person. It gives you a sense of body language in the discussion that makes it more meaningful and focuses attention to that person.

“How do I prepare your guests to speak in a virtual session?”

Preparing guests is important to have a good set of ground rules that make for a great session. It’s likely they don’t have experience in this format and in your desired output. I usually give people the following guidance before going on a Virtual MUG that I’m running:

  • Prepare to speak in brief points

  • Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking so that the video doesn’t accidentally pan to you because of an echo

  • Watch my screen for a visual cue if you’re going over time

  • Check your audio hardware in advance of the session so that your speakers and microphone work properly and don’t interfere with each other. Use a headset if necessary.

“How do I prepare myself for a Virtual MUG session?”

Other than the advice on interviewing speaking guests, it’s important to work on engagement with your audience. Here are some considerations that you can introduce to your meetings to make them more effective:

  • Ask a co-host to help moderate the chat room and ask questions

  • Set up Zoom breakout rooms to help split up your numbers to help facilitate discussion with smaller rooms of people

  • Run an unrecorded discussion time for your audience to candidly ask questions

About Michael Tucker

Michael Tucker runs The Conversion Store, a Marketing Technology Consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina that specializes in helping enterprises migrate and deploy marketing automation software. He is the Leader of the Marketo Virtual User Group for Manufacturing, and a Marketo Certified Expert.

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