If you weren't at BlogHer '09, all I can say is - you missed it.
I'll be blogging about the conference all week. I want to give you a flavor of what it's like to hang out for 48 hours with almost 1500 women bloggers.
Let'a start with the most important things first.
OK - let's talk about what women really care about - the swag. A lot of smart advertisers want to get in front of this influential crowd. Considering just one of these bloggers might have hundreds of thousands of readers, I think a conservative estimate of the combined readership of the bloggers at the conference reaches into the tens of millions - probably much higher.
These companies came loaded down with goodies. Women were walking around with huge shopping bags full of stuff - everything from video cameras to designer scarves to toys for their kids.
I got welcome bags, party bags, stuff just showed up in my room like beautiful flowers and samples. I was handed swag in the exhibition area, the hallways, and my personal favorite - the elevator. (One enterprising young woman simply rode the elevators passing out perfume to attendees)
How do I get all this swag home??
Women had so much swag there was a recycling area for swag, and a Fed Ex booth so you could mail your swag home if you didn't have room for it all in the car or on the plane.
I went through my personal booty trying to figure what I could bring home. The perfume, laundry detergent, Koozies and fun USB sticks all came home. Everything chocolate - packed. I recycled the Hanna Montana key chain and the Monster Jams trucks simply since I don't have kids. I wish I could have taken the flowers. The Gerber stuffed dog came home for Boris (My Boston Terrier) I really agonized over the Mr. Potato Head. It was awfully big, but I'd grown strangely attached to it.
Why the swag was a win/win for advertisers and attendees
Yes, there was a lot of swag. But these women were appreciative. Whether it was a video camera or a snack bar. When I asked what the biggest hits were, invariably it was the items the women could bring home and share with their families. They got to be heroes heading home laden with gifts.
Here's why it was a win for the advertisers/brands.
Women appreciated that they showed up. These bloggers noticed who was there and who was not. They saw who valued them enough to support their conference and interact with them one-on-one.
There's also the Halo effect. These women were in a highly emotional state. Trust me. The experience they had with the conference, with the attendees and with the brands/sponsors are all intertwined and burned into their memory. (We embed stronger and longer lasting memories when we are in an emotional state).
Sponsorship helps keep the price low for attendees. BlogHer made a big point of letting attendees know that the reason they can keep prices so affordable is because of the sponsors. This really hit home. This conference is the highlight of the year for many of these women. If your brand helps make that possible, she is going to love you for that.
Want to see a list of companies who get marketing to women?
Tune in all this week for more on BlogHer '09.