Event marketing should not just be about ‘keeping the lights on’

DSCF2708

This week I have been thinking a lot about event marketing plans, not least because I am creating them for a couple of very different clients.  I’ve also been helping deliver a very complex report for a specialist IT consultancy, and this set me thinking about the processes we undertake when creating our promotional campaigns.

Within IT there is a clear differential between Keeping the Lights On processes, i.e. making sure that all of the technology works all the time, and those required to help a business change.  An IT team can be good at keeping things ticking along but not necessarily strong in terms of innovating or developing new systems.

A key reason for this is often that management isn’t communicating the vision for their business fully with the IT team, that the latter don’t have the requisite skills or seniority to suggest innovations, and/or the IT are not communicating their capabilities further up the food chain.  Within event businesses something similar often happens, where event directors set budgets or targets without consulting their marketing teams; marketing teams haven’t evolved to encompass new skills; or that innovations are only suggested after the available budgets have been announced.

These behaviours mean that the event promotional cycle gets locked into the short term view.  Instead of looking for new ways of attracting audiences, the marketing team continues to try and wring just a little bit more out of the same dry old sponge.  As discussed before in our post about ZBB, events do have a yearly opportunity to completely reassess their marketing activities so there is really no excuse for keeping on doing the same old things.

This doesn’t of course mean throwing the baby out with the bath water.  But clearer communication of the long-term business objectives rather than ‘make more money this year than last’ could result in a realignment of strategy, perhaps investing in different technologies or content specialists.  Where the goal is to inprove an event property’s investment/sales potential then this approach could prove both invaluable and financially rewarding.

Hellen @missioncontrol

Advertisements

Will technology fuel a trend for ‘unplugged’ events?

l2

unplugged:  ʌnˈplʌɡd/  adjective

1.trademark (of pop or rock music) performed or recorded with acoustic rather than electrically amplified instruments.

2. (of an electrical device) disconnected.

recent study by the research group Flurry found that people with smartphones now spend an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes each day on mobile devices, some of that potentially fuelled by the multitude of messages, emails, tweets and other content event organisers are pushing out to them on a minute by minute basis.

We don’t leave them alone while they are at the event either.  If it isn’t asking them to contribute to a live Twitter feed we’ll be sending them reminders and directionals to ensure they know about every little aspect of the event whatever they are doing at the time.

A recent study by a U.K. psychologist, Sandi Mann, shows that all of this technological intrusion could in fact be reducing the benefits we spend so long creating for the audience, not least because we are preventing them from absorbing and thinking laterally about what’s on offer.  In her study, Mann asked subjects to do something really boring and then try a creative task.  What she discovered was that the more boring a task, the more creative their ideas were. Only by allowing our minds to wander, daydream and start thinking a little bit beyond the conscious, is our ability to do autobiographical planning, or goal setting, working at its optimum level.

So should we be looking to ‘unplug’ our audiences from their devices once we have got them through the door?

The continuing popularity of consumer events like Eroica Britannia, Taste of London and a plethora of music festivals in all parts of the UK shows that those which thrive are those which give their audiences a real participatory experience.  The challenge for B2B events is much harder.  Having got into the rut of believing the only way to get people to the event is to justify their time out of the office with more and more content, and that you have to remind them of what’s on offer every single minute of the show’s opening hours, it’s going to be a hard habit to break.

But if we want our audiences to fully engage with speakers, exhibitors and other delegates, and develop great ideas while they are our guests then perhaps we need to stop our constant, and frankly rather needy, electronic chatter.

Tips on Running a successful conference: Measurement of ROI on a conference

ROI on events is notoriously difficult to measure. Here are some pointers on how you can set the KPIs which will determine whether your event has been successful or not.

B2B Event Management

In this blog we will follow on from the previous tip where we looked at setting Objectives for ROI to review the measurement of ROI objectives, incorporating different  levels of ROI Methodology used to measure ROI of an event.

As mentioned in the previous tip on setting objectives for ROI which is another way of expressing the contribution to profit made by an event.  The profit is the net value created by the event minus the event costs.  ROI is the profit expressed as a percentage of the cost of the event.

Measuring Level 0, Target Audience

  • The target audience should be the right people attending the event.  They are the ones with the greatest learning and behaviour gap in the potential participants.
    • The target audience is therefore defined by a method of deduction from desired behaviour (level3) and required learning (level2)
    • Measuring that have the right target audience, the…

View original post 686 more words

4 Ways to Increase Your Sales Pipeline with Events

Live events offer a unique opportunity for reaching out to large, relatively homogeneous audiences in a very short space of time. Some commercial partners are better at taking advantage of this than others. Sara Summers shares four great tips here on how they can ensure they have a great, and productive, show…

The Creatively Strategic World of Sara Summers

vegas

Every November Acesse hosts our annual corporate event in Las Vegas. We had close to 700 attendees from 16 countries attended this year, making it our largest US conference to date!

Event marketing can be a dynamic way to interact with your customers, especially if you are focused on selling to other small businesses. Regalix recently reported that in 2014, 91% of B2B marketers say they invested some budget in events and most saw somewhat significant (33%) to significant (57%) acceleration in lead generation and sales pipeline growth.

So how do you host a successful event? Here are 4 tips for hosting an event in 2015 to increase your sales pipeline growth.

View original post 307 more words

Evaluating your virtual event

If you are new to the concept of virtual events, this is a good introductory article.

The Business of Social Media

As more companies use virtual events as part of their growth and engagement mix, it is increasingly important to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the event. I have used virtual events multiple times and it is an element of our growth mix.

Slide1

Simply having the event is not a success; you need to measure and evaluate it. Has the event been worth the time and resources devoted to it and should you replicate the event? How can you optimize future events so they have a bigger impact on your business? I read a recent article on MarketingProfs that offers some great advice on what you should track on your next virtual event.

Behavior

Unlike physical events, with virtual events you can measure much of the attendees’ behavior. You can see which content they interact with and how they engage with other attendees and speakers.

Engagement

By tracking attendee…

View original post 277 more words

The future delegate

Perhaps not embedded microchips, but who knows, wearable technology is becoming more and more commonplace…

9718595843_5bb246913a_bInspired by a tech article on the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3307471.stm), it got me thinking about our event tech future.

Forget badges.

Forget iBeacons.

Forget anything you thought was a great way of tracking your visitors around the event.

Why?

Because you can now offer your delegates implants (in the form of a microchip) so you can see where they go and what they do at your event.

Microchips have been around for a long time already and you’d be surprised by how many people already use them. To give you an idea; I  know that my cat feels safe when she comes flying through her cat flap and the neighbour’s cat gets stuck at the door…

View original post 422 more words

What does 2015 hold for US event planners?

infograph_lgIt is the season for surveys (indeed we are currently conducting one of our own) and in December the US based publication Meetings Focus  published their 2015 Trends Survey.

Overall the study shows that the US market is expecting to see increases in the demand for meetings over the next twelve months in conjunction with restricted growth in supply. The simplistic conclusion from this is that planners could see an increase in the rates that they are likely to pay for meeting space. However, further investigation into the figures suggests that things aren’t looking so bad for professional planners, indeed they may not be affected much at all.  Those who leave booking hotel rooms/accommodation until the last minute are likely to be the ones left out of pocket.

Looking forward to 2015, the most optimistic sector is the independents, with 29.5% predicting that the number of meetings and events they will hold will increase in the next twelve months.  By contrast, 33.3% of Government planners were predicting that their output would decrease, potentially a reflection of the continual tightening of budgets in the public sector, although this is less than recorded in the same survey a year ago.  Across all sectors the majority view was that the status quo in terms of their event production quantities would be maintained in the coming year.

Although this survey is a good indication of sentiment in the US marketplace, it does not tell the whole story, particularly with respect to the assertions made in the report about supply and demand.  While measuring hotel room occupancy forecasts against planner activity plans seems to suggest that there will be tightening in margins, it does not take into account the fact that many more, and varied, venues are becoming available to meeting planners adding another layer of competition which will affect price negotiations.

To read the full report Download it here