“I feel like I’ve just been to the best conference in the world” – Cara Mackay
Directly after CMA Live 16 we received a tonne of very positive feedback in the way of blogs and videos.
It’s truly amazing how much of an impact CMA Live 16 had on everyone that attended.
The buzz leading up to, during and after CMA Live 16 has been incredible.
We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.
Our mission is to create award winning events and customer experiences, and in order to do so, we must also actively seek constructive feedback.
Do you actively seek feedback from your customers?
6 reasons to actively request customer feedback:
- Allows your customers to channel their thoughts, ideas, and constructive feedback
- Provides your customers with an anonymous platform to send you negative feedback
- From a marketing perspective, asking for feedback allows people to remind themselves of the experience they’ve had
- Improve customer retention
- Helps you to make improvements to your product or service
- You can easily identify advocates of your brand
We used Google Forms to facilitate our feedback.
We received 45 responses, and only 1 respondent asked for their feedback to not be included in any marketing or publication.
As much for your interest as for ours, I’ve summarised the feedback and highlighted the main trends and areas for improvement.
1. Access to the speakers
This is something that I feel very strongly about. When I’m picking speakers a big part of the criteria is how involved they will be before, during and after the conference.
Here’s what our guests had to say about the access to the speakers:
The fact that the speakers were not ‘above’ mixing with the rest of us and gave their time generously. That level of access to the speakers was a definite highlight for me. – Alan Martin
How friendly everyone was, including the Keynote speakers. They hung out with us, which was awesome – Ali McGill
Mixing with the speakers was a real bonus. – Scott Donald
The fact the speakers were so accessible and it felt like a family getting together – Rachael Chiverton
Everyone including speakers mingled and joined in. The atmosphere was just mind blowing. – Pam Laird
The speakers were happy to be part of the whole experience and not just turn up, talk and leave. – Mandy Martin
Everyone including the speakers were there for the same reason. To learn from each other, to share knowledge by teaching (creating content) and an ethos of continuous improvement. – Jonathan Fox
Being able to have relaxed chats with all of the conference speakers was amazing. – Col Gray
Access to speakers! Very inspiring, almost makes me proud of our community and country in a way, that the keynotes are keen to do that. I sense that they recognise that the attendees and community are a forward thinking bunch of people. – Owen Philipson
It’s the best marketing conference I’ve been to in 25 years. And the reason for that is that in some ways it didn’t feel like a conference. I felt involved. I had access to the speakers. The other delegates were inspiring. No one preached at me. I felt as if I was just as important as the speakers – and that is very rare. – Roger Edwards
2. The feeling of community
As you probably already know, CMA Live is not just another business/marketing conference. It’s so much more than that, and the feedback we received highlights just how important the aspect of community is.
Here’s what our guests had to say about the community feeling of CMA Live:
The community, supportive feeling – lots of love in that room and I did not really know anyone! – Lucy Robertson
For me it was really the feeling in the room; the sense of community and genuine love for those in it. The conversations I had with people over the course of the two days have given me the confidence to really own my business and take action without fear. It’s a bit of a light and fluffy answer but the key thing I think is that the right people were there. – Ross Coverdale
The atmosphere. The room was buzzing throughout the event far more than any business conference I have ever attended. – Steve Cowan
The community vibe. We think this is what makes it special. We’ve been to Social Media Marketing World, which also has this community vibe too it, but we have never been to an event in the UK that can match it. – Andrew and Pete
The sense of community. Everyone was so friendly and supportive and happy to share ideas and advice. – Mandy Martin
Being in a community with people who are committed to being and becoming their best selves through their business and the effect that’s had in me to dig deeper and be better! – Laura Lucas
Attendees were ready to take action because of how tight-knit the community was before people even arrived at the event. It was like everyone was holding each other accountable. But because they care. – Anonymous
Refreshed at how the power of people caring about each other can not only help our businesses but make all of this contribute to a better life as well. The community was incredible. – Anonymous
3. Areas for improvement and development
I feel that we made significant improvements from CMA Live 15 to CMA Live 16, and I want to take it up to the next level for CMA Live 17.
Therefore, it’s crucial that we spot the gaps and listen to our guest’s ideas and constructive feedback.
Here are some of the areas for development:
There were a few comments about having an additional room to break out into – perhaps for refreshments and lunch.
Also, a few people mentioned having breakout sessions for practical workshops and table discussions.
We will be in the same venue for CMA Live 17, and we will have a think about how we can use the additional rooms they have, and see how we can incorporate more breakout sessions to break up the day.
b. Social events
Although everyone enjoyed the evening social events, there was general feedback that we could have done a lot more with the social aspect. Specifically, they could have been more organised and closer to the venue and hotels.
We agree that more can be done to improve the social experience, and we’re going to look at how we organise the social events for CMA Live 17 and incorporate them further into the whole CMA Live experience.
c. Comfortable chairs
After two days of sitting the chairs can get uncomfortable. We are going to speak to the venue and see if we can look at this for CMA Live 17.
I know how important this is. I was at a conference in 2014 and the twitter hashtag was overcrowded with complaints about the chairs – I will never forget that experience.
The food was mixed in the feedback. Many people said they enjoyed the food, but there were also many small complaints about the combinations and the provision for special dietary requirements.
Breakfast was also mentioned as an area for significant improvement.
Based on the feedback, and our own ideas, we will be making significant improvements on the food for CMA Live 17.
e. The Hub
There has been a lot of great feedback about the venue. How grand and impressive it is, and the internal decor. It’s a very special venue and perfect for CMA Live.
However, there was an issue with opening the doors on time on both days and the way the refreshments and food was served and organised.
We are going to use the same venue next year, which will provide us with the opportunity to improve upon many of the aspects we’ve covered so far.
For CMA Live 17 we will have a more varied selection of refreshments – cold drinks, decaf coffee, better quality of coffee and bigger cups!
During CMA Live 16 there was A LOT of networking going on! However, it’s clear that we could have added in more structure to the networking aspect.
We are currently discussing having a ‘networking ambassador’ at CMA Live 17, which will help ensure that everyone is looked after and make the most of connecting with people.
As the conference gets bigger, structure around networking will become even more important.
h. Goodie bags
The general feedback here is that we could have done more with the goodie bags.
Although CMA Live 16 was a success, we feel very confident that we can make significant improvements to make CMA Live 17 a stand out event.
4. The speakers
Based on feedback, we could have done a better job of asking for feedback on the speakers. We tried something different this year, and it didn’t really work out the way I wanted.
We asked people to rate in order of preference, but we probably should have asked for individual ratings.
A few people did not complete this section because they didn’t feel comfortable with it, but there are still some trends in the data, which I’d like to share with you.
Generally speaking, there was very little between all the speakers and a lot of general feedback on the high level of quality across all of the 14 speakers.
a. Keynote Speakers
The feedback on the Keynote Speakers is very close. Ann Handley stood out a little from the rest, but there is very little difference in the ratings.
Ann Handley is awesome! I could listen to her all day – Anonymous
b. Lightning Talks
There is one single outlier in the feedback. It will not surprise anyone who attended CMA Live 16 that Kevin Anderson stood out as one of the most popular speakers from CMA Live 16.
Kevin’s talk was so personal, so honest, and so incredibly real. Everyone did a fantastic job but Kevin had the room in the palm of his hands. I’m incredibly proud of him. – Ross Coverdale
c. Main Speakers
Kate Mcquillan stood out as the favourite main conference speaker.
Kate’s stood out from the rest through sharing her real-world experience – Pete Matthew
Additional speaker feedback from CMA Live 16
Mark Schaefer is just a genius, so human and just knows his stuff! – Colleen Goodsir
I was really impressed with the standard of presentation, really, far better than other conferences I’ve been at. – Norman Lamont
There was an emotional, entertaining or motivational aspect from my favourite speakers – Flo Couper
Practical advice, real-life relatable examples, funny and down to earth – Edith Adam
Good take-aways and reassurances. Reminders that we are individuals and to let our content reflect this and not be varnished to obliterate our own voice and humanity. – Evin O’Keeffe
Enjoyed their balance between emotional and substance – Dani Bergman
A genuine will to share their knowledge and a sense that they’re still learning too – Valerie Lindsay
They were all excellent and provided an incredible amount of value. The delivery of every presentation was very professional and engaging. – Jonathan Fox
5. How do people feel now that they have attended CMA Live 16?
When asking for feedback what I try to do is get a feeling for what people were expecting before they attended CMA Live, and then how they feel afterwards.
It’s amazing to see the difference between the two answers.CMA Live 16 was an amazing success, and the feedback certainly reflects this.
Here’s how some of our guests feel now that they’ve experienced CMA Live:
Much more confident in just getting content out there. Not just more confident in doing it, but more confident in knowing how to do it right. – Gavin Bell
Emotional, invigorated, head is buzzing with ideas. Excited about the future. Possibilities could be endless. – Beverly Sherratt
The conference was awesome and far exceeded my expectations! Better structure than in 2015. Although I enjoyed last years event, some of the talks were a bit random, but this year the conference was much more on-theme. – Alan Martin
As I said, I knew it was going to be special, but I was seriously blown away by CMA Live 16. All the speakers at the event were incredible. A lot of the ‘content marketing 101’ stuff I knew already, but everyone provided so much more. I’ve come away feeling more ready than ever to do what I need to do to succeed in business. – Ross Coverdale
My expectations were exceeded. I have a notebook with tons of scribbles in it. It’s more than I can use but not overwhelming. I just loved building on the existing relationships with CMA members. It makes me wish I could spend a bit more time in person with them. I was surprised that every ‘new’ person I spoke to was really interesting and engaging, no matter what industry they were in. I was expecting to get trapped in a few conversations that I wanted to wriggle out of, as you do at many business or networking events. – Owen Philipson
I am absolutely fired up and motivated beyond belief. I feel like I am part of something incredibly special and life-changing. I loved every minute of the event but the best thing about it is that it continues on past the two days through the online community and meet-ups. – Julie Christie
Awesome! So pleased I attended CMA Live 16, I feel like my business path is much clearer than it was before I went, I feel like I know exactly which direction I am taking to get us to where we need to be. – Colleen Goodsir
[I feel] like I have been through a thoughtful, emotional, educational car wash and have come out the other side ready to start afresh and rebuild with new inspiration and better ideas. – Nicola Donnelly
Expectations blown out of the water. Everything soooo much better than I’d hoped! – Pete Matthew
Awesome!! So many good ideas. Although it was a content marketing conference, I found myself thinking about other areas of my business. Having 2 days out to reflect on what you do and could do was really beneficial. It may be a cliche, but having this time to work ON my business has definitely helped. I now need to put this into action but feel 100% motivated to do so. – Alistair Booth
The main feeling I took away from the conference was reassurance – that I was in the right place, with the right people and on the right path for my business. It gave me confidence and the kick up the butt I needed to take action. – Yva Yorston
Completely exceeded all my expectations. I wasn’t expecting to meet so many like-minded people. Listening to the speakers and to Chris’s excellent summaries and thoughts was a complete validation of my business values. It also gave me great reassurance for the direction I am taking my business. – Jonathan Fox
Are you ready for CMA Live 2017?
Our commitment to you is that for every event that we do, we will change, develop and improve. I’m sure there will be times where we get things more wrong than right, but that’s to be expected as we try new things.
For those returning to CMA Live for a 2nd, 3rd and 4th time on 8th and 9th June 2017, you will witness first hand the growth and improvements year on year.
Thanks to everyone who completed the feedback, and to everyone for their support since we launched our business in 2013.