Women’s Economic Ventures’ Think BIG Conference & Business Expo series presents the most in-demand topics for women entrepreneurs, and this quarter’s Think BIG is no exception.

From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday in Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, WEV is holding “Marketing that Matters,” the second in its 2008 Think BIG series. The keynote speakers will be Lorrie Thomas and Tracey LeBlanc, who will cover key concepts of marketing, advertising and Web marketing.

Thomas will share insider secrets and skills learned from her experience in pioneering Santa Barbara-based Web companies ValueClick Media and CallWave Inc., and her own consulting and training business. She says the Web can make small businesses “big” when entrepreneurs utilize the many tools now available to large and small businesses. She believes that women possess unique abilities to leverage Web-marketing tools and achieve connection, conversation and authenticity — all powerful allies — in online marketing.

Thomas is a Web marketing strategist, consultant and UCSB and UC Berkeley Extension instructor. She speaks and educates nationally on Web-marketing topics. She also will address common misconceptions about marketing.

While it’s important to be up on cutting-edge Web-marketing technologies, it’s just as important to have a firm grip on one of the most basic marketing principles: understanding your niche market and what engages its consumers.

LeBlanc, an award-winning saleswoman, business adviser, trainer and public speaker, will help conference participants focus on their niche, and address this classic marketing fundamental in her talk, “Advertising That Works Again and Again: Learn the Three Questions Every Advertisement Must Answer.”

LeBlanc is most recently a first-time small-business owner of Relax The Back, a store that provides products that aid and prevent back and neck pain, where in less than two years she turned around a bankrupt retail operation and achieved $1 million in sales. She is now part of the team of Dan Lutchansky International after selling her business for a healthy profit.

“Our keynote speakers and our entrepreneur panel are real-world experts with extensive knowledge in their fields,” said Judy Hawkins, executive director of WEV.

“WEV is thrilled to bring this level of wisdom, skill and talent in a format that local business owners can start to put to use immediately.”

The entrepreneur panel includes successful women doing business locally and nationally: Juliana Minsky, co-founder of SurfMedia Communications; Tea Silvestre, president and CEO of Social Good Marketing & Design; Deborah Gallant, founder of Lifework Catalyst and owner of Web Power Tools; and Maggie Dennison, longtime marketing strategist, writer and consultant. 

Think BIG was developed in response to the growing needs of WEV’s clients and local business owners to address the challenges they face once they have made it past the startup and launch phases of their businesses. WEV’s Think BIG conference series features expert keynote speakers, panel discussions with local entrepreneurs who have successfully built their businesses and hands-on exercises for conference participants. Breakfast and lunch are served at each of the daylong conferences.

The fee is $189. For information about other rates or to register, call 805.965.6073, x106.

Another Think BIG event, “Business Growth and Sustainability,” is planned for Oct. 3.

Click here for more information about Women’s Economic Ventures or call 805.965.6073.

Marjorie Wass of SurfMedia Communications represents Women’s Economic Ventures.