Summit Spotlight: Panel Discussions Part 2

Selling and growth are the focus as three panels of makers and marketing experts sit down at The Maker City Summit on September 23. This year's panels have a new and exciting The interactive discussions will rely on questions from audience members, gathered via an app that allows you to ask anonymously. No worries about asking a dumb question! (Yes, we know there’s no such thing as a dumb question, but still. We worry.) 

Here’s what’s in the lineup and what a few of the panelists have to say about the topics!

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Target customer: Who are they and where do you find them? 

Marketing and small business experts Doug Minter of the Knoxville Chamber, Holly Rainey of Holly Rainey Marketing, and Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing Solutions will lead a discussion that will help you work smarter, not harder, when it comes to crafting your maker marketing strategy. 

“The interesting thing about finding customers today is how radically this challenge has changed over the last few years,” Mark says. “Many of the marketing ideas we counted on don't work anymore. We're in a world where really the customer is the marketer!”


Branding 101: Crafting the identity of your new business

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What does branding really mean? Eric Meyerson of AI tech startup Sensai and former CMO of Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Eventbrite, paper goods maker Kate Moore of Live Love Studio, Lauren Wagner of Nathanna design studio and Marcus Williamson of the University of TN will break down how your brand can grow your business and explain the key principles of a successful brand. They’ll discuss common issues and misconceptions about branding and help you decide how to establish a thriving brand image.

“A few points that I want people to take away is that branding is something that is essential to how you present what you make. And at the same time it's not soessential that you can't put yourself out there,” Marcus says. “Continue to make and think on a brand that you be proud of, but don't be crippled to the point where you feel like you can't sell stuff because your branding isn't as complete as you would want it.” 


Leveling up: Scaling the smart way

Whether it's funding, space, time, organization, or a workforce, scaling can be daunting. For this discussion three small-businesspeople – jeweler and artist Sarah Mandell of Once Again Sam in Greenville, SC; furniture maker Matt Alexander of Holler Design in Nashville; and Knoxville’s own ice cream diva Colleen Cruze Bhatti of Cruze Farm; along with Jonathan Mills Patrick of the Fairview Technology Center will share their thoughts on goalsetting and strategic growth. 

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“Scaling your business (up or down) does not have to happen all at once,” Sarah says. “Take a look at the key aspects of your business - online sales, craft fairs, wholesale, etc. - and choose one thing to focus on for a few months or even a year. You’ll keep the other things going in the background, of course, but spend any extra time and effort on that one thing or a set of related goals and really dive in. Next year, or whenever you feel ready, pick another focus, building on what you’ve learned so far. After just a few years, you’ll have an incredibly deep understanding of so many valuable things.” 


You can read about the other two panels on our last blog post. Make sure you save your spot at The Maker City Summit to get in to your favorite panel! Tickets are going FAST!