Tag Archives: Marketing events

Corporate reasons for having a conference

Conferences-And-Meetings

There can be many business reasons why a company should consider having a conference, and events are an important part of the marketing mix.  Listed below are some marketing reasons for holding a conference or seminar that a company or organisation may use to promote.

Reasons for a conference could be:

  • A medium for passing on information, specifically for new products and services
  • Internal communication to employees regarding internal information, such as training, boosting morale, making announcements, launch a new culture
  • Used by associations to network and educate their members
  • Yearly or quarterly way to communicate with their sales force, partners or distributors
  • A forum for discussing world issues or topical subjects

An example of benefits for the business client to attend a software companies conference or seminar

  • Excellent communication forum for the end user, ability to meet senior managers from the corporation,  to get advise, discuss business propositions, get answers straight from the software engineers, product developers
  • Ability to fast track communications to the highest level
  • Good for the client to feel that they are having an impact on the future direction of the company and its products in relation to their requirements
  • Excellent for networking and meeting other users and hearing their business experiences, share ideas, solutions to problems
  • Good for education and increasing knowledge of the products and business environment
  • The event enables the attendee to build up a picture of the quality of the company products or services

Benefits from the Companies perspective

  • One of the marketing vehicles for increasing regular communications with both current, new and potential customer
  • A platform enabling the company to know the client better and understand their business needs for the portfolio of products and services that they are developing
  • Make the customer feel that they are being listened to and giving the company first hand research into the future product direction
  • Excellent PR opportunity to made customer feel important and build on loyalty and customer relationship by sponsoring a drinks reception and dinner
  • Good opportunity to get the TPV/Resellers involved promoting the companies products and making them more involved with the clients, as well as strengthening the business alliance
  • Opportunity to increase sales of products with users through workshops demonstrations
  • Event feedback should be measured against the objectives to understand the bench mark for the next event.  All events should be reviewed and measured to see if it has been a good marketing vehicle for ROI, and how to improve on future events.
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Exhibition and Tradeshow Review of ROI

Following on from the last blog on Exhibition and and Tradeshow review and follow-up where we reviewed the logistics, sales lead follow-up plus feedback and analysis.  We will now look at reviewing the original objectives to see if the ROI was achieved.

ROI (Return on Investment)

  • Review your ROI by looking at your original objectives for attending the trade show and see if they were met. If this included a sales target it may take some time before you can determine how successful the show was at generating revenue.
  • The two primary reasons for exhibition performance measurement are
  • To justify the investment.
  • To gather information to make your investment more profitable.
  • A good measurement system can help you determine whether you should continue exhibiting at a specific show, and if so to what extent. It can help you identify your exhibit program’s strengths and weaknesses. It can also provide benchmarks for comparing different shows you that have exhibited at, and measure what your exhibition return was for the current year when compared to last year’s show. You can even look at how your marketing budget spent on trade-shows compare to other sales and marketing media. If you’re going to win the game of exhibiting you must have a score keeping process.

There is a very good article by Jefferson Davis of Competitive Edge which is available on the Internet in a number of places including:

http://www.ewea.org/offshore2011/fileadmin/eow2011_documents/exhibition/9_Exhibit_Measurement_Made_Easy_How_to_Measure_Exhibiting_Results_and_Return_on_Investment.pdf

The article outlines six basic measurements that almost every company should be measuring:

  1. Return on Objectives: What specific goals were you pursuing and what progress did you make toward those goals?
  2. Exhibit Budget versus Actual: What was your total exhibiting budget and what did you actually spend?
  3. Post-show Sales Written: How many orders and what was the total value of orders written after the event? Ideally, you should measure post-show sales at the 90 and 180 day points, unless you have a very long sales cycle. Also take into consideration the frequency of the show.
  4. Quantity and Quality of Leads: How many leads did you capture? How many were A – B – C leads? What is the estimated total sales potential of the leads?
  5. Cost per Lead: What was your cost per lead? Divide total number of leads captured by total show investment to determine this number.
  6. Cost per Interaction: What did it cost you to generate a face-to face contact? To determine this number simply multiply your total lead count by 2.4. This will give you a pretty accurate method way of determining your total booth traffic. Then divide total show investment by estimated total booth traffic.

These six basic metrics are by no means all that could and should be measured, but they are a very solid starting point. They will give you a very good picture of whether you are winning the game of exhibiting.

There is one final metric that all exhibitors should attempt to measure – the elusive exhibiting Return on Investment. To determine ROI accurately you must first be able to track at-show and post-sale revenue. Once you have that, simply follow the formula below.

Here is a Return on Investment example:

Total post-show sales from exhibit leads:                250,000€

Less cost of sales or gross margin:                             -190,000€

Equals Gross Exhibit Profit                                         60,000€

Less Exhibiting Costs:                                                    20,000€

Equals Net Exhibit Profit:                                           40,000€

Net Exhibit Profit 40,000€/Exhibit Costs 20,000€ = 200% ROI

Track the trade show organisers analysis of the show number and type of attendees to check whether this might be a show you would like to continue to attend.

You now have the basis for having the analysis and justification for exhibiting and also for participating in future exhibitions.

 

Tips on Marketing and Publicity for Exhibitors – Marketing your Trade Show Attendance

For every exhibition there will be a variety of marketing strategies that you can use to
promote your stand, brand, business, services, products and expertise. The key to successful promotion is to use the right combination of strategies.

First you will need to know what your objectives are for exhibiting at the trade show in order to determine which forms of marketing suit your promotion. To get any attendee to your stand they need to perceive value, have an experience, or learn in some way. You will need to make sure you have a targeted and up‐to‐date database of contacts.

Traditional Marketing Media

Traditional marketing can include:

Press releases and invitations of journalists to a press conference or briefing at the
show.

Personal invitations to hospitality events or face‐to‐face meetings offered in
advance. You will need to offer them something of value like access to decision
makers and your top management.Invitations including hardcopies of the trade show registration giving an indication
of why they should visit your stand.

Database mailshots with phone follow‐up.

Promotion of a contest or prize draw they can enter or giveaways they can collect
on the stand.

Newsletter to current clients and prospects telling them what you will be doing at
the show and what you will be demonstrating. This can promote any speaking
opportunities you have as well as use competitions and giveaways, and it can
describe the hospitality you’ll offer on the stand.

Business introducers, using face‐to‐face communication to promote your attendance
at a trade show. Make sure all employees are promoting the exhibition at every
opportunity when talking to clients, prospects and third parties.

General correspondence – make sure your exhibition at the trade show is mentioned
in some shape or form on all correspondence that leaves the office, such as fax
headers, note pads, and compliment slips. Create leaflets to include in any
correspondence you send out. You can also use giveaways to promote the event.

SMS messaging. Short texts are great way of reminding attendees of the event, and
sending updates to them about what is happening.
On‐line and Social Media
Many of the above‐mentioned traditional forms of marketing can be done using email
marketing.

Email campaign. This is an excellent way to market your event if you already have
permission to contact the customer or prospect. Often the collection of contact
details through the website for newsletters can be excellent for sending electronic
invitations. The exhibition can be promoted on every email sent from the office with
an additional line on the signature, specifying the stand location and number.

The company website. This can be used to promote all your events on your
corporate website under a specific tab heading of events.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and YouTube. All of the social media platforms your
company use should promote your exhibition details in advance, especially if you can
engage with potential prospects before the event.


Twitter used in combination with links to your website can be powerful in making
information about your show available to real and potential attendees in an easy‐to read
steady stream. This method is a great vehicle for generating buzz about your
conference.You will need to choose a great hashtag. A hashtag can be included in the
body of each tweet and is a short phrase preceded by a hash (#) symbol. By making a hashtag that is short and easy, other tweets can reference your conference using the tag.

  • Mention your hashtag far in advance of the conference and include in all
    your related publicity – don’t wait until the day the event starts!
  • Tweet white papers, videos, and presentations, as attachments. These can
    be teasers for your trade show appearance or even a reminder of your
    offerings.
  • A great time to send tweets promoting your appearance is a few weeks
    before the trade show. You can offer teaser photos of a new product
    appearing at the trade show or announce the details of an executive who
    will be a keynote speaker.
  • Include hashtag in all print and digital material.
  • Make sure your Twitter profile has the full name, date, location of your
    conference and a pitch about the conference.
  • Encourage your sponsors, exhibitors and speakers to include your hashtag in
    all their conference‐related postings.

Mobile Apps ‐The need for mobile trade show apps is greater than ever. Trade shows
are all about showcasing products or services in a short amount of time. You need to
let attendees know about a special discount, or send out a push notification within
seconds. There are a variety of developers of mobile apps such as CrowdCompass.

  • A mobile trade show app means faster and more efficient marketing. It
    means measurable results for your exhibitors and sponsors.
  • Mobile trade show apps also give exhibitors and sponsors more
    opportunities to make stronger connections with existing customers and
    reach out to new ones. It is one way to drive interaction and engagement
    between the company and attendees.
  • A mobile trade show app helps you think outside the booth to improve the
    overall event experience and stay ahead of the competition. These apps can
    be created for most smart devices such as Android, iPhone, and iPad.

As mentioned before you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show
attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your
attendance known so that those coming to the show know of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.

Tips on Marketing and Publicity for Exhibitors – Promoting your Exhibition

Your marketing and publicity should be part of your whole marketing plan for exhibiting. Trade shows are a powerful element of the marketing mix in that they enable you to have face to face conversations with your customers and prospects, and to gather sales leads.

Your business and brand needs to be known to potential customers who are attending the trade show. The attendees will gravitate towards the brands that are familiar, visible and readily available to them. You want as many of the right kind of attendees to come to your stand.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

You need to ensure that you meet the right people, set up productive meetings and drive traffic to your stand. To do this you need to make sure that your marketing is targeted to the right attendees: those who will be interested in your products and who could potentially lead to a sale.

Image result for photos marketing exhibitions

Depending on your budget there are different types of marketing and ways of promoting your exhibit at a trade show. Some are free and others are chargeable. There are also different ways of marketing and promoting your presence at a trade show.

We will look at the various ways of promoting your event in this tip blog  and then in the next blog tip we will look at the different types of traditional and on-line marketing that you should consider using.

When you start the planning process you need to finalise the theme of the exhibition. All the marketing and communications of the company exhibition and promotion should have the same branding and look-and-feel. All communication about the exhibition should make consistent use of the appearance and branding. If you are highlighting new products then the communications and graphics should reflect the same graphical design.

The Promotion of the Event

  • The marketing of your exhibition is not just about the promotion of the stand and brand but it is also integral to promoting your business, services, and expertise.
  • Whatever marketing methods you adopt make sure you measure the results. This is so that you can determine the most effective method of getting people to your stand and so that you can analyse your Return on Investment (ROI).
  • Make sure that all your promotion is highly focused and correctly targeted.
  • Consider all possible methods of communication because different people like to receive communication in different ways. Use the full range of traditional offline promotion as well as online promotion and social media.

We will outline the marketing and promotion of exhibitions in three sections:

  • Promotion through the Trade Show organisation. (This blog)
  • Traditional Marketing Media promotion. (next blog tip)
  • On-line, Social Media. (next blog tip)

Promotion through a Trade Show Organisation

If you are exhibiting at a trade show then you should not just rely on the organising company to promote the event because you want to stand out from the other competitors and companies who will be promoted at the same time. Do, however, take advantage of their promotional publication to advertise your company stand and products because they will use their large database of previous and new attendees who are already targeted into your market. Promotional opportunities provided by the organisers will vary from trade show to trade show but usually consist of:

  • Promotion of your company in their catalogue of exhibitors. This usually requires a short abstract about your company, what it is that you are promoting, a list of products, photos of the products, and stand location and contact details.
  • An entry onto their website again listing your company products and contact information. Remember products can be searched and products cross-linked.
  • PR article for their newsletter promotion.
  • Advertising on website or pre-event magazine.
  • Sponsorship opportunities. These will be chargeable, but your brand or company name will be promoted on banners, on part of the website, on promotion media and at the exhibition.
  • Taking advantage of speaker opportunities that may arise if the trade show is running an educational seminar or is associated with a specific conference connected to the market segment into which you are marketing.
  • Use the trade show logo on your in-house marketing material and emails to advertise that your company will be exhibiting.

In summary you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your attendance at the show known so that those coming are aware of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.

Tips how to run a Successful Conference: Event Management and Planning Logistics, The invitation Process

The Invitation Process

 The marketing and creativity side of the invitation process was covered in part 4 of tips; here we will concentrate on the process.

the invitation is not only a way of inviting delegates but also a way to confirm name and contact address of potential delegate and open a dialogue for further communications before and after the event.

for this you need a database, depending on the event this can be a database of your own employees, a prospect list from your CSR system, sales records, website inquiries about your products or services, commercial lists although these are not always so successful and you cannot always know how clean and up to date these are.  Third party lists from your partner or distributors, can also be invited.  Remember you need to invite far more people than you actually want to attend and there is often a 25% drop out rate.

Software products are available on the market for the actual process of administrating the attendees, and if you do several events a year it is worthwhile investing in a package.

The invitation mailing should be creative and follow the theme of the event, it should encourage acceptance, and give the essential information an attendee requires before deciding to attend:

  • Name, title, address of delegate
  • Date and location of event, map and rail/road/air connections
  • Start and finish times
  • Theme of the conference and why they should attend
  • Guest speakers if famous or a renowned authority on the subject
  • Personalisation from the conference sponsors
  • Reply device, with space for delegate contact details and any special needs

the timing of sending out the invitation is important and this should be built into your invitation plan and further reminders of the event should also be planned before the event and added to your time line.  Certain audiences may require at least three months notice of the event, with reminders sent out to the undecided as you near the event.

confirmation of attendance, this should be done immediately as you need to build up a communication channel to the delegate leading up to the event both to promote your company and also to reduce the inevitable drop-out rate.  Communication should be regular and involve email messages, news letters telephone and further details on the programme, joining instructions, travel and accommodation details, hospitality arrangements and other relevant information you would like the delegate to receive before the event.  If you are using web based registration you can add their own personal login and ability to communicate with other attendees and find out information on the event.

the registration system will be used to create badges for the delegates that can be created by the software package you are using and colour coordinated if required to show the different categories of delegates, sponsors, speakers, staff, exhibitors etc.

The delegate attendee list will also be created from the registration list and can be analysed and produced as required.  The contact list is most important if there is a crisis during the event and should be up to date and available to all those concerned in dealing with a situation if the needs arises.

Tips on How to Run a Successful Conference or Seminar – Part 4A How to Market a conference

The last blogs have reviewed the reasons for having a conference, how to plan for a conference and how to budget for a conference. There can be many business reasons why a company should consider having a conference, not least are that events are an important part of the marketing mix. We will now outline the main check points to consider when planning a conference:

Having decided on your objectives and established a relevant theme, you need to consider the conference or seminar logo and the overall event branding and the invitation process for delegates.

The Promotion of the event

  • This is the most important aspect of all the planning, as you need to make sure that you have the relevant number of attendees.
  • The marketing of your event is not just the promotion of the event but integral to promoting your business, services, and expertise.
  • What ever marketing methods you adopt make sure you measure the results, so that you know what is the most effective method of getting people to attend.
  • Make sure that all your promotion is highly targeted.
  • Consider all possible methods of communication as different people like to receive different methods of communication.  Use the full range of traditional offline promotion as well as online  promotion as well as registration method for the delegates:-

Offline promotion

  • Advertising in newspapers, trade press, effectiveness of the advertisement  will depend on the clarity of the advertisement,, perceived value and targeting the degree of benefits for a person to attend.  You need to have a properly organized advertising plan and campaign.
  • Direct mail – addressed to specific recipient, which allows one to be more targeted.  You need to think who your target market is and adapt your message and language accordingly.  Unaddressed mail can also be effective but again needs to be carefully targeted.  Leaflets are a good medium for unaddressed mail.
  • Leaflet drops
  • Posters
  • Postcards, can be used as teasers to announce the date
  • Telephone, good for marketing to existing clients
  • TV & radio advertising
  • Audio and video, produce a CD that may show some of the speakers and their expertise.
  • Business introducers, using  face to face communication
  • PR, promoting the event with a press release that needs to be newsworthy i.e. different, entertaining or significant to grab the editors attention.
  • General correspondence, make sure your event is mentioned in some shape or form on all correspondence that leaves the office, such as fax header, note pads, compliment slips, leaflets to include in any correspondence sent out.  You can also use giveaways to promote the event.
  • SMS messaging, short texts are great way of reminding attendees of the event, and sending updates of what is happening.

Online promotion

  • Email, is an excellent way to market your event if you already have permission to contact the customer or prospect, often the collection of contact details through the website for newsletters can be excellent in sending electronic invitations.  The event can be promoted on every email sent from the office with an additional line on the signature.
  • Website this can be used to promote all your events on your corporate website under a specific tab heading of events.  You can also now use external website specifically designed to promote your event, provide additional information on the event and register the attendees, automate confirmation and joining instructions and send reminders if people have not responded, as well as statistics of registration and the  attendees profile.
  • Pop-Ups, on your website to convince people that your seminar is worth attending.
  • Social Media, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
  • Phone Apps programmed for your event where delegates can link with other registered delegates and get the latest information and promotion

Further blogs on how to run a successful business event that has ROI will follow.  To receive these valuable ideas and make sure that you do not miss any of the articles we will deliver them to your in-box free, when you sign up.   The blogs will be full of tips and ideas, to help you and your business in event management.

Reference reading:

John G Fisher – How to run a Successful Conference
Philip Calvert – Successful Seminar Selling

Tips on How to Run a Successful Conference or Seminar – Part 2 How to Plan for a Conference

The last post reviewed the corporate reasons for having a conference. There can be many business reasons why a company should consider having a conference, not least are that events are an important part of the marketing mix. We will now outline the main check points to consider when planning a conference:

  • Clarify the business rational for a conference, to make sure that this is the correct event for your marketing promotion as outlined in part 1
  • Make sure that you start the planning of a conference in plenty of time to be able to plan and market your event. This can depend on the conference size and how easy it is to book a venue. You need to consider how much time your target audience will need in advance to put the date in their diary and to get them so sign up as delegate. The more time you have the better you can plan your marketing and promotion. Suggestion is at least 5 months in advance.
  • Setting objectives – this is vital not only to understand why you are holding the event but also they will provide direction for everything in the planning and promotional phases and you will be able to test the ROI at the end of the event. The success of an event will be judged on its achievement of the main objectives. Do not have too many objective, you need one overriding objective and maybe two or three others that support the main objective This may be something you cannot do on your own you may have to involve the initiators to clarify their objective and this may be done in conjunction with the marketing or sales department.
  • In the planning stage it is also good to be able to understand how you are going to measure or quantify your objectives. Specific questions on the feedback form can be used not only for measuring one specific conference but can also be used as a rolling measure of effectiveness which is updated after each event. This gathering of statistical information may be useful in planning the current conference and future events. Further information will be detailed in part 8.
  • Clarify type of conference – for internal employees or external delegates. If for external delegates you need to understand who your audience is? Are they dealers, partners, customers, potential customers, or the media? The target audience will be guided by the objective of your conference and having a clear target audience will make your promotion easier.
  • How many people should attend? Your numbers will be influenced by the budget as well as venue.
  • Will you be charging an attendance fee? This can make a huge difference to the level of your costs or profits from the conferences. Sometimes charging a fee can increase the delegate’s perception of the value of the conference. If you are not paying an attendance fee you may consider using a partners to sponsor certain parts of the conference e.g. speaker slots, reception, coffee breaks, maybe advertise their name on documentation such as invitation/programme or delegates pack.
  • The subject matter/content – theme, this will be guided by your main objectives and should focus on what it is that you want people to take away, to remember and act upon.
  • Duration of the conference – one day or over several days? How many sessions, which day of the week to hold the conference? Your business objectives and target audience will dictate this. Check that your conference does not clash with another event in your industry or nationally.
  • Location of the conference – will your audience be from the UK, Europe or worldwide? Whatever country you decide upon you should also consider easy access for the delegates to attend, near an airport or train station, city centre of a venue in a secluded location?
  • Type of venue suitable for the conference. Is it to be held in a conference centre, unusual venue, historical, academic venue or hotel the latter is important if accommodation is required? Details of finding the right venue, location and duration will be discussed in part 4.
  • Setting the budget and having funds that is sufficient to fulfil the objects and make sure that the event is to the right level of standard. Details of setting a budget will be discussed in part 3.
  • Marketing for the conference – how are you going to manage the creativity of the event? Will you, use an agency, or doing this internal? Creating the brand, theme, signage and graphics for all conference material including the programme and invitation. What is the invitation process, how is the conference going to be promoted? Will you use a production company for the presentation? All this will be out lined in part 5.
  • Event Management and logistics – decide on whether you are going to do all this yourself, or just certain parts of the project or outsource to an event management company. Event management logistics that needs to be considered include:
    • Putting together a Gantt chart showing time lines with action points, responsibility and critical dates
    • Invitation process to include delegate invitation and registration
    • Registration management – client lists
    • Travel arrangement
    • Accommodation
    • Liaison with venue to include:
      Room set up
      Audio Visual requirements
      Food and beverage
      Running order for breaks, luncheon, reception
      Booking accommodation if on site or hotel
    • Logistics of getting materials to the conference venue
    • Speaker management including co-ordination of speakers, presentation, hand outs
    • Production of delegate documentation including delegate packs and badges

All the above will be covered in part 6

  • On site management to include a conference desk, registration, delegate packs, on site liaison with venue, speaker and guest management, security, health and safety all this will be outlined in part 7.
Reference reading:

John G Fisher – How to run a Successful Conference
Philip Calvert – Successful Seminar Selling