Underground 4: A Mosh Pit of Marketing Experts

Yanik Silver is without a doubt one of the most innovative and creative copywriters and marketers working today, no one argues that. But his recent Underground 4 Conference had an unusual theme based around the TV Show “24”. I can honestly say I have never been to, or spoken at a conference like that before (or probably ever again). Mostly the Mini Kiss band tipped it in for me.

It wasn’t just the theme that made it fun, but the opportunity to hear some really intelligent marketers map out how they achieve greater and greater success every day blew me away at points.

Best Example. The keynote speaker was Tony Hsieh, CEO of online shoe reseller Zappos.com. From selling pizzas in college to getting Microsoft to buy LinkExchange for large coin in the 90’s, to building one of the most fanatically loyal customer databases online, Tony is someone who should be listened to when he speaks. His philosophy of creating the proper corporate culture from shipping clerk to CEO is going to bullet Zappos past $1B in sales this year. Tony was one of the most personable and approachable of the speakers, and even took part in the Spy Hunt that Yanik concocted on the streets and hotels lobbies of LA. You can easily see why people line up to work there. They create a Culture book, every year and it is their bible to how the company if focused and run. You can purchase it here. A Brilliant Guy building and even more brilliant empire in the online retail space. Definitely one to watch. I mean, when I was getting on the plane at LAX back to Chicago, there was an insert in the security trays you put your computer and shoes into with Zappos sponsoring it. Now that’s good.

Another Example: The panel that featured Declan Dunn, Jonathon Mizel, Ryan Deiss, Stephen Mahaney, Marlon Sanders and Joel Comm. This looked like a Boulder conference of 2000, except at that time, Joel, Ryan, Yanik and I were in the audience just learning from these legends (of course Cory Rudl was also onstage at the time as well) riff off of one another for hours straight on how to increase any offers ability to make money. I do not believe a more seasoned bunch of early adopter internet marketers have graced the stage at once since. Their insight into where today’s markets are headed was worth way more than the price of admission. And that was only the sideshow.

Another Example: John Carter and Hubert Senters, who have to be the funniest duo on the financial news scene. Raw and uncut they explained in detail how they are building an online army of subscribers to their www.tradethemarkets.com and www.tradeforexbusiness.com sites. Both are experienced traders who have spent their entire careers perfecting their skills, which it seems they have made millions doing it. Their step by step, show you the exact tools they use and how they put their video’s, podcasts, newsletters and site content together was extremely in-depth. Even for someone who consults clients regularly on subscription site revenue enhancement, I took away several excellent additions to my toolbelt. I believe they have a training course that they give to others who want to learn their ways. I suggest anyone who is serious about financially focused subscription sites (and those are hot offers in CPA networks now) take their course or enlist their guidance.

Another Example: Dr. Joe Mercola, owner or Mercola.com, the largest health site (except for WebMD) in the US. I have known Dr. Joe for a while now, but never really got to spend the kind of time that I do when I am at Yanik’s Underground’s. Dr. Joe and I are both from Chicago, but beyond that we had a really wonderful discussion on health marketing and expanding the consciousness of the US consumer to begin shunning many pharmaceuticals and start looking at more homeopathic and natural healing methods. His research has uncovered some amazing truths that are not going to be getting him Xmas cards from Merck or Wyeth anytime soon. As a marketer, Dr. Joe has very few rivals, considering his site is Alexa ranked at 8,964. He also let loose with some excellent gems like the always fun www.Blabberize.com, www.Mindmeister.com (a free collaborative Mind Mapping software), and www.sitespect.com (analytics for dynamic sites, the ones Goggle Analytics doesn’t handle).

There were other examples of speakers who gave insights into their success. Such as my old friend Jody Colvard whose gave the straight skinny on being a talk show host online. I walked away thinking even I could do a show (unfortunately I have the looks for radio). Make sure to check out FMGtv.com, excellent example of an online video channel.As Jody and I both agree, the aggregators of video content online into clear verticals (like cable TV does) will be the clear winners.

There was also Barry Dunlop and Dean Hunt from BuzzProfits.com.These guys know buzz better than Cheech and Chong.I have to admit, that many of the techniques they espoused were foreign to me as I do not have any recent experience with buzz marketing (we did have 500 radio stations airing free content which generated 100K uniques a day to Mr Skin.com, I mean lately).A bit of it was review and the rest just pointing out the obvious, which I sometimes actually find refreshing as I often forget the little things that can make all the difference to a campaign.They were both entertaining, and Barry has a great stage presence.I believe they are offering a course as well that pretty much guarantees you will get the word out on your product.


Then there was Mike Hill, whom I have known for nearly a decade.Mike is one of the most brilliant media buyers out there today and worked with Declan Dunne when he ran the web’s first ad agency, AdNet (now defunct).Mike’s Risk Free Trial model, that he walked everyone through is a formula for success every time.And in the arena Mike likes to travel in (mostly behavioral pops/contextual/banners) he is cashing in big time for his clients.Although I am not a fan of Zango’s methods with regards to the cookie hi-jacking allegations, other networks who have tighter standards and less name changes have pulled excellent results for me in the past.Mike is one of the best and it is always good to see him back speaking again.

Even Andrew Lock got into the game, by reviewing some of the resources he uses to get an incredible amount of work done every day.The guy is a machine and soon we will be launching his newest eBay Product.Watch for it, it will be big.

Eben Pagan, author of Altitude and Double Your Dating also spoke along with Headsets.com CEO Mike Faith. Both of which were well received by those in attendance, but really never seemed to create a buzz.

I also spoke at the Underground 4 this year, which makes me the only speaker to have been invited to speak 3 times in the history of the event. My particular topic was Winning The CPA Game and the strategies I have used to help my clients to be successful in that ultra competitive environment. The PowerPoint alone was 145 slides and I found myself rushing to fit in all of the points, but I still got a lot of positive feedback and have several new “students” starting soon in the Traffic Tactics One On One Coaching Program. This is very exciting because it is the most fun for me to take a new offer and craft it for publisher distribution through testing and publisher relationships. Then when it takes off and really starts paying off in the hundreds of thousands of dollars a month range, the response is priceless and always the same, “How did you do that?”

If you feel you or your company or agency for that matter, would benefit from the tactics I and the entire Traffic Tactics Team can guide you to, please fill out our online form and I will give you our exclusive Media Buying Secrets Revealed for free, just for visiting the page. If you send me an email to jim.lillig at traffictactics. com I will schedule you for a free 25 minute no obligation consultation with myself and the Traffic tactics team. There are only a limited number of spots we can do, so send me an email and let us review your business and what the Mass Traffic system can do for your profits.

The conference is always fun, but this year with the addition of several new faces and the return of many old friends, Underground 4 was my hands down winner for the best overall conference of 2008 for both content and circus’. If you didn’t attend, plan to next year, you will be more than glad you did. I will see you there.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I have a new job.

VP Business Development for Traffic Tactics. A full service online advertising agency specializing in Online Media buying, affiliate management, CPA Network offer management, offer shaping and a host of online advertising and educational services that can skyrocket an advertiser’s ROI.

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