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Event Management Tips: Keeping your Exhibitors Happy

If there's one aspect of event management you need to perfect, it's keeping your exhibitors happy. A satisfied exhibitor is guaranteed to book a stall at your next event. Furthermore, that exhibitor is definitely going to consider increasing his in investment. Essentially, what you need to realise is this: it's a lot easier to get returning exhibitors than it is to recruit new ones.

ROI Equals Traffic

What exhibitors are looking for, more than anything else, is a return on their investment. Basically, they want to know that they are going to get a decent amount of traffic to their stalls. After all, they signed up to your event to get as much exposure as possible. To them, a slow day is a huge waste of their investment.

Provide Both Online and Offline Information

Your exhibitors are going to be on the lookout for ways to increase their investment. Remember that their marketing decisions are almost always made by a team of people, so you need to have tons of information available. Sponsorship packets are always a win. Similarly, your online information needs to be completely up-to-date and on-point.

Content is King

One of the keys to successful event management is a proper content marketing strategy. Get your content creation efforts up to speed, and mention your exhibitors on your website, blog, and social media. Get the word flowing, get people talking. Make sure that your exhibitors feel valued and supported.

Get out of that Stuffy Box (Hall)

There's a lot to be said for networking that happens outside of the traditional conference hall. Yes, driving traffic to vendor booths is important but that isn't necessarily where the "real" networking happens. Consider setting up a less formal event where exhibitors and customers can meet and chat at their leisure - people are generally more comfortable in a setting that is less loud and jostling than your traditional bustling conference.

Assemble Follow-Up Lists

Anyone in the event management business will tell you that tons of sales often happen directly after event, rather than at the event itself. In essence, vendors are facing two types of consumers: impulsive consumers and those that need some time to mull it over. Your exhibitors are definitely going to want to follow up with attendees. Offer them an easy way to connect with their audience by providing follow-up lists in a popular format.

Your goal is to become the preferred event organiser for exhibitors in your industry. Remember that your planning and management endeavours are the heart and soul of the event - you determine how the day will run for your vendors. Make sure that it's a roaring success.

Understanding the Emotions Behind Decision-Making

Overall, humans are driven by their emotions. Event attendees are no different. Realizing this could mean the difference between a highly successful rate of event sales, or none at all. Basic Emotions Worth Noting

According to Geoffrey James, there are six basic emotions that influence the way we make decisions:

  • Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
  • Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
  • Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
  • Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
  • Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
  • Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”

Logic dictates that if these emotions dictate our behaviour in general, they will have some bearing over our purchasing decisions as well.

Discover What Drives Your Attendees

As an event marketer, one of your main aims should be to create content that tugs at the heartstrings of your attendees. One of the easiest ways to do this is to discover, first and foremost, why certain people attend your events in the first place.

Essentially, you need to dig deep to discover their motivations and aspirations.  The simplest and most obvious way to do this is to ask them why they are attending at the point of registration. You may very well find that you garner some particularly insightful information.

Growing networks and boosting follower counts are often a major driving force for event attendees. Should you discover that this is the case at your own events, throwing in a special networking session is probably a good idea. On the other hand, you may find out that your event attendees seek exclusivity and trends. Should this be the case, you may wish to advertise that your event only has a limited number of tickets for "lucky" event-goers. Basically, give them what they desire and you'll find your sales increasing by a decent amount.

In a world where people have become jaded by the "what's", and event marketer must become someone who focuses on the "why's". Connect with your potential attendees by giving them a good enough reason to invest in your event.

Harnessing the Power of Storytelling at your Next Event

Part of the human condition is, and possibly always will be, a penchant for listening to stories. Storytelling is the foundation of our communication system - the earliest memories most of us have are the stories we’ve absorbed from childhood. An engaging storytelling session is guaranteed to grab peoples’ attention and stick in their minds for long after the tale is over, so why not harness this powerful tool at events? Quite obviously, brand-related storytelling is a little different from your average childhood narrative. However, the principles remain the same. When used cleverly, storytelling enables speakers to set a completely different tone for an event, potentially even creating a deep-seated need for attendees to immediately pencil in any follow-up events – it’s all about connecting with people on a level beyond your average marketer-consumer relationship.

Stories are Easier to Absorb Biologically and Psychologically

According to Diana DiMeo, a Roosevelt University Masters graduate, our “brains do not easily recall data”, particularly when we are in the midst of a constant information-onslaught (as is often the case at planned marketing events). If, however, we are asked to recall the details of a headlining newspaper article we read recently or if we are required to provide a synopsis of an action-packed movie we enjoyed, the details are much easier to access.

The reason for the storytelling phenomenon is summarized in the image below:

Image Source: Eric Garland

Be Personable and Make it Relatable

In order for you to effectively apply the principle of storytelling at your next big event, you need to find a way to make your story relatable. Not only this, but your audience needs to be able to easily connect the entertainment to your marketing plight.

Start by honing in on your core objective. Once you've established this foundation, start thinking like an advertiser would when creating a new campaign. Link your key objective to a single clever thread of a story you think will make an impact and roll with it. Get creative.

Remember that long-winded tales are not the way to go. Keep it punchy and avoid being over-emotional. Your focus should be to tug at the RIGHT heartstrings, not all of them.

Learn to Leverage

Crafting an entire event around a story is guaranteed to extend the “shelf life” of your brand’s message. What you are trying to achieve goes well beyond using a story to sell a product once off. Your aim is to create a memorable experience that event goers are going to talk about for quite some time.

You should be aiming to create FOMO (a fear of missing out) for your next event. Your guests should be scrabbling at their phones and PC keyboards to find details and book in advance. It is truly amazing what one clever little story can achieve.

 

FOMO: Marketing's New Best Friend, For Sure

If we’re going to pull a definition for FOMO, this one sums it up better than most:Fear of missing out or FoMO is "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent".[2] This social angst[3] is characterized by "a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing".[2] FoMO is also defined as a fear of regret,[4] which may lead to a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event.[5] In other words, FoMO perpetuates the fear of having made the wrong decision on how to spend time, as "you can imagine how things could be different".

It should come as no surprise that FOMO is a tool that should be in every event manager's arsenal. People are constantly on the lookout for experiences to be a part of - something they can share on social media in a way that makes them feel trendy, knowledgeable, and (above all) relevant.

Here are the three top ways to use FOMO to your advantage when planning your next big event:

1. Integrate Social Media Right from the Start

Make sure that your website, email lists, and any related apps are prepped for the onslaught of social-media-obsessed guests. Let your guests know who on their friends list is signed up for the event. Get your well-known speakers and celebrities in on the action as well. Start conversations, get the online activity flowing, hint at a few upcoming surprises... your event is guaranteed to start trending online in the best way possible.

2. Exclusivity is Key

Make your event exclusive, but do it cleverly so as not to block out any potentially valuable guests. People want to be a part of something special. Creating a feeling of "desire" only works if your offering something that not everyone has and not everyone is going to have.

Limited ticket offerings, secret venues, price, and surprise guests are four of the easiest methods used to create a sense of exclusivity guaranteed to attract the right kind of attention.

3. Add a Dash of Mystery

Teasers are a great way to generate interest. Instead of rolling out all of your information in one go, create a few teasers to tantalize guests in the months or weeks leading up to the event. Keep them wanting more. Use images as clues and add in the occasional cryptic text - you'll be amazed at the sort of buzz this creates.

 

How to be a Successful Event Marketer

Becoming an amazing event marketer is more than possible with the veritable smorgasbord of techniques and tools available. Following a few simple tips can assist you in creating highly effective campaigns that draw in attendees in droves. Remain Focused on your Goals

With so many details involved in planning an event, and so many facets to remember, it comes as no surprise that sometimes event planners lose sight of their initial goal. Before settling down into the planning process, it may be worth your while to carefully note your goals (in detail) to ensure that you remain on track throughout.

Design your Campaign Specifically for your Target Audience

One of the biggest mistakes an event professional can make, is to cast a wide net in hopes of catching as many fish as possible. In order for an event to succeed, try grouping your target audience into groups by focusing on their common interests, pain points, or motivations. Once you have created these target groups, you can create campaigns that are more specific and therefore more likely to succeed.

Don't Forget About Metrics

One of the best things about modern online marketing is the simple fact that almost everything is measurable. Each and every campaign you embark on should have metrics set up at the onset as this will allow you to track progress right from the get-go. This is an automated, time-saving, and often free tool that will greatly improve your marketing tactics.

Learn to Conduct a "Pre-Mortem"

The term may sound alarming at first, but a pre-mortem can prove to be incredibly enlightening. Before launching a campaign, you and your team should take the time to envision what would happen if your entire event was nothing short of disastrous. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, you will be generating a set of ideas that will prevent this nightmare from befalling your event. It's a powerful form of brainstorming you'll soon learn to be thankful for.

The Uprising of Virtual Reality and 360 Video

Event trends are rapidly beginning to lean towards virtual reality, as the required technology becomes consumer-ready and the consumers themselves hanker after more memorable experiences. With the recent release of the Samsung Gear VR headset, VR experiences are realistically accessible to the masses. There's no doubt about it; viewers want to be a part of the narrative instead of merely observing it. Interactive Vendor Demos and Virtual Venues

Static demonstrations may be a thing of the past. According to Events.com, a marketing agency could deliver a fully-interactive, three-dimensional pitch to potential clients. The options for vendor demos are almost endless. We're looking at a world where event-goers will gaze in awe rather than stifle a yawn while sacrificing their precious time in exchange for nothing more than a goodie bag.

Virtual venues are another potential plus for event organisers. Consider the enormous potential of a completely interactive virtual space with no design limitations whatsoever. Furthermore, consider the financial implications of paying for server space instead of shelling out a hefty sum for physical event space and all the extras that go along with it.

An Alternative to Live Keynote Speakers

For event organisers who are keen to test the VR waters but prefer to have some traditional elements in place, Event Manager Blog suggests the possibility of holograms and Telepresence in the place of live keynote speakers. This would provide the all-important "wow-factor" without taking too much of a risk on something that event-goers might be unfamiliar with.

Spatial Audio for an Immersive Experience

In a post written by College Web Editor, spatial audio is described as, "spherical sound that can be experienced in 360 degrees." Recently introduced to YouTube's 360 videos, spatial audio will allow event organisers to direct attendees' attention in a completely new and exciting way.

As an event-goer, you would hear a sound and instinctively find yourself looking to exactly where it came from. Being able to direct a viewer's gaze in this way is an extremely powerful tool, one that until now has not yet been explored to its full potential.

 

Using Big Data to Launch Successful Events

As a rule, customer insights have always been based on data - sheets of digits, all representing a facet of the prospective and existing client base’s personality. The downfall of this approach has always been the impersonal nature of the system itself. Numbers don’t allow room for shades of grey, subtle differences in opinion, or unique insights - a limitation which requires assistance. Increasingly however, event organizers are utilizing opinion surveys, social media, mobile apps, and many other tools to learn out the personalities of attendees. This enables events to be more appropriately angled to the preferences of attendees and a far more memorable experience all round, as a result. The upside of this is that memorable experiences lead to word-of-mouth popularity, building exposure and future successes for your event. It’s not enough to use just one or the other either - they work best as two independent sections of a combined approach to understanding as much about attendees as possible and using that knowledge to give them what they need. Dataops.co has managed to reduce the differences between data and intelligence into a simple and relatable statement: “Business Intelligence helps find answers to questions you know. Big Data helps you find the questions you don’t know you want to ask.” Clearly, the ideal scenario is a combination of the two, weighted appropriately to best serve the individual event organizer’s demographic.

 

Market Entry Strategy: The Basics

There are a few phrases in the business world that can strike sudden fear into the hearts of newcomers. One such term is Market Entry Strategy. As is often the case, however, such panic is largely unnecessary. It is important to remember that the word "market" is used very loosely in the business world. It can refer to anything from a certain group of people, to an entire region of the globe. In short, your market is the people or businesses who are in need of your product or service. This makes the idea of a market entry strategy easier to understand. Your documented strategy will include various different types of information, including how you plan on introducing your goods or services to your specified market. It is a blueprint to your success - a game plan, of sorts.

To simplify the entire process, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional marketing team. The maximum efforts of a dedicated team can make all the difference in getting the name of your product or service out into the real world in a tangible way. A solid plan will always include information about your company's budget and a detailed analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - known as a SWOT analysis.

White Papers for B2B Customers

Business to business selling, commonly referred to as B2B, can be a huge help in linking supplier businesses and wholesale outlets to their retail business customers. A common adage mentions that, over and above acquiring their desired products for the best price, what B2B customers really want at the end of the day is flawless customer service. One of the biggest obstacles in the sales process is miscommunication between buyers and sellers on a fundamental level. This usually occurs when products and their descriptions become overly complicated and wordy. A great tool to overcome this obstacle is the humble white paper.

In layman's terms a white paper is a summary of a complex issue into wording the average Joe can understand. By carefully constructing and supplying your customer with a white paper describing the benefits of your product, they will immediately become clearer on how exactly this product will benefit them. A white paper should always be as clear and to-the-point as possible.

There is no sense in struggling to communicate a point when it could be made simply and succinctly, eliminating jargon and other confusing terms that may be a barrier to a successful sale.

Knowing About Market Penetration

In the marketing sphere, it is often necessary to keep your fingers in many pies, so to speak, in order to maintain a competitive edge. When marketing a new product, it is of utmost importance to keep a close eye on your market penetration statistics. Market penetration, in a nutshell, refers to the extent to which a product or service is being purchased by customers in the current market. As one would imagine, the market penetration figures for a new product can give a real-world representation of the efficacy of a company's marketing strategy as a whole. The more convincing you've been, the higher the number tends to be. There are a number of strategies that exist to increase your market penetration, such as dropping the price of your product, bumping up the number of promotional schemes and encouraging non-users to take the plunge and try something new.

All in all, the market penetration figures for a product or service will give you a very clear impression of its popularity, and by extension can validate an entire marketing strategy. It gives a solid impression of the initial and ongoing impact your strategies are having on customers and as such, should be regularly monitored.

Price Comparison Websites are Not the Enemy

All things considered, businesses can learn a great deal from price comparison websites. Rather than viewing them as the enemy aiming to pull customers out from under your nose, you may wish to consider the value in using these sites for market research. The Internet is quickly becoming the number one place to source the next big bargain. Consumers tend to visit price comparison websites before making any major (sometimes even minor) decisions that require money-spending. It isn't all about finding the lowest price tag. Price comparison sites can be used to find out precisely who is selling what, how much products cost, and what buyers really think of the products they have spent their hard-earned money on. User ratings and customer reviews may very well be the most useful tool available to business owners today. Realistically, when launching a product, you need to know exactly what consumers are looking for, how other companies have let them down, and how you can take advantage of these companies' shortcomings.

Price comparison websites offer the fantastic opportunity to do some trend-spotting. Find out which items are trending in which markets, and why. Hopping on the trend-bandwagon is generally a good start when you need to find a good angle in the market.

Market Analysis: Understanding your Customers

In order for any business to succeed, an understanding of customers' wants and needs is vital. It is of the utmost importance to gain an understanding of your market long before you take a serious financial plunge. A properly structured market analysis will provide you with all the information needed to make smart choices further down the line. Without this solid foundation, any business may struggle to stay afloat, let alone play in the "big leagues". Consumer research is generally the best starting point for market analysis. In order to provide customers with a product or service that they truly need, you need to understand their behaviour a little better. Find out what makes your potential customers tick, and then find out how your product will be able to fulfill these needs. Open up the channels of communication, do a survey or two, and spend some time figuring out how you can gain the edge on your competitors. Do some trend-spotting, and zone in on any gaps in the market that your company may be able to fill.

Decide on your target market and then build the rest of your business plan around this focus. Play to your strengths.

Defining Your Product Launch Objectives

Planning a product launch is more involved than some may think. It isn't simply a case of whipping up a quick idea and flinging it at potential customers - it truly is a serious undertaking, one that business owners might not give adequate attention to. In order to make a success of the launch, you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and throw everything you can into the planning process, starting with the all-important step of defining your launch objectives. Perhaps the most important aspect of defining your product launch objectives is taking the time to consider whether this will be an internal or external launch. Essentially, this means figuring out whether you will be launching a new product to your current customers first, or whether you plan to go the whole hog and do a full launch to a new audience. If your main goal is simply to sell the new product, an internal launch is probably the best way to test the waters. If, however, you intend the product launch to be a means of expanding your client base, then an external launch may be the way to go.

In many ways, deciding on your product launch objectives will depend largely on your available budget. An internal launch offers you a chance to scrimp and save while you test your new product on your current customers. An external launch, however, tends to require a much larger budget as it needs to have a wider reach.

Why White Papers Matter

Contrary to popular belief, white papers are not losing their punch. In fact, they are still one of the most valuable tools available to anyone wishing to market their business. White papers give your business proposal the extra “clout” needed to push it over the edge. Filled to the brim with facts, figures, case studies, reports, and analyses, a white paper is an invaluable marketing instrument. White papers are thought of as some of the oldest marketing workhorses out there. “Old”, in this case, most certainly does not mean “outdated”. Perhaps the best aspect of a white paper is the fact that its major purpose is to educate rather than sell. In an age where sceptical millennials are in charge of many (if not most) important business decisions, hard selling is no longer the best option. Consumers are looking for more than a mere sales pitch; they want to learn, absorb information, or understand a particular message.

White papers should always have a firm foothold in ground-breaking ideas and thought-provoking innovations. The issues addressed should be clear, concise, and relevant to their time. All research should be substantive, in-depth, and lead to a conclusion that makes sense to the target market. In every section of content, the white paper should drive your point home, using as many relevant resources as possible.

Market Analysis: Step One in Compiling your Business Plan

Conducting a market analysis should be the first step in compiling a business plan. Whether you are starting up a new business or whether you are attempting to spice up your existing company, your market analysis should be refreshed once a year. Quite obviously, markets change. That is the nature of human existence. Wants and needs are ever-growing, constantly changing, and (with the evolution of technology) becoming more and more complex. In doing your market analysis, what you should be looking at is your potential market rather than your existing client base. You already have your current clients in your back pocket. You know what keeps them happy. What you need is access to a wider client base. You need to find a way to not only dip your toes into this pool of untapped customers, but to swim with the big fish and rise to the top of the food chain.

Consider your favourite restaurant. Its client base includes not only regular patrons, but pretty much anyone within easy travelling distance. If the establishment is a specialty restaurant, their targeted customers will include anyone with an interest in that specific cuisine. Essentially, that is how market analysis works. You need to find a way to cast a wider net to bring in the customers you do not yet have instead of being complacent about the ones who do make use of your services on a regular basis. Success depends on your ability to adapt and survive in a world that is getting bigger by the day.

What is Social Market Research

It seems fairly obvious that there should be many variations of market research, each one as important as the other. Social market research, in particular, is becoming increasingly more significant as millennials make their way up the economic food chain. Social media platforms (particularly Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) are becoming the smartest way to obtain valuable information for businesses wanting to launch new products or services. Social market research focuses on the behaviour of a particular target market. In order to accurately complete this type of analysis, one would need to gather information relating to the opinions, needs, attitudes and motivations of a group of people. This data can then be used to pinpoint which target market would benefit the most from a particular company’s products or services. Due to the inherent “openness” in the behaviour of most millennials, it is relatively easy to collect the information needed to complete the social market research process.

For a business to succeed in the Information Age, it is necessary to fully understand the target market. Customers are always looking to support businesses that are conveying a message or aiming for a socially conscious goal. Connecting with potential customers on social media platforms is probably the smartest move any business can make; inspiring communication whilst collecting valuable behavioural data.

The Power of SEO Article Writing

With roughly 75% of the Internet's "window shoppers" using search engine keywords to source products, it would be a dire mistake to pass up the opportunity to take a slice of the “profit pie”. SEO article writing is the best way to drive traffic to websites, and convert that traffic into purchases. A survey by Forrester Research shows that that 60% of marketers around the globe are increasing their online marketing budgets rather than investing in more traditional forms of advertising. Regular print advertising is vastly more expensive and unsurprisingly ineffective in the fact of targeted SEO-optimized content.

SEO article writing demonstrates a certain trustworthiness that consumers are looking for. Creating informative content allows companies to show that they are knowledgeable; they have a certain amount of authority in their industry. Clever use of SEO optimized content allows companies to expand their collection of high ranking keywords, pulling even more users to their websites. This careful balance of high ranking keywords simultaneously improves the quality of the site and makes it easier for search engines to find.

Perhaps the cleverest aspect of SEO marketing is the fact that the client finds the product in question by actively looking for it. Psychologically, there is an element of the “hunt” to the process. Consumers need to believe that they have led themselves to the product, rather than being accosted by random print ads that are completely uninteresting to them.

Innovative Thinking: Why is it so Challenging?

Innovation may very well be the most challenging aspect of creating a new product. Innovative thought has a highly unpredictable nature, often making it difficult to separate a fantastic new idea from something a little staler. Brainstorming is always the first port of call for entrepreneurs, though there is a worry that this is a hit-and-miss strategy. The fact of the matter is that lateral thinking techniques are absolutely necessary, though they are certainly not intended to be the only type of research in place. Mind-mapping, group facilitations, and consumer surveys are all a part of the innovation process. Unfortunately, this is where many entrepreneurs end their research and fall short as a result.

There is the assumption that product development needs to be rushed. The major error with this type of thinking is that the inevitable solution is a "quick fix", without any real understanding of which functions the product should fulfil or the problems it should solve.

Consumers are no longer looking for products from businesses that churn out one useless item after another. The modern consumer is looking for a message. Products need to fulfil a purpose whilst inciting some form of excitement at the same time. Proper marketing analysis is the only way to achieve genuine innovation. In-house brainstorming sessions no longer provide the ammunition needed to tackle the ever-growing, ever-changing consumer base.

Outsourcing in-depth primary and secondary market research is one of the most valuable tools available to up-and-coming companies. The outsider perspective, combined with years of experience in knowing what makes consumers tick, is what makes these analysts so invaluable at the early planning stages of product innovation.

Pinpoint your Potential Competitors: The Foundations of Market Research

In running your for-profit business, consider the fact that you are competing to win. In the same way that you would compete for the ultimate prize in a sports event, your business is aiming to win the “profit prize” from the competition. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you suss out precisely who your competitors are; in the business game you need to know the competition before you can beat it. Perhaps the quickest way to figure out who your biggest competitors are, is to (figuratively) remove your business from the equation. Without your existence, who would be supplying customers with your products or services? Now, put your business back into the equation. Who is trying to “steal” your customers? On the flip side, whose customers are you trying to steal? In answering these questions you will be able to identify your direct competitors.

To identify your indirect competitors, you will need to ask yourself the following question: “If your products did not exist, what other products would customers buy to fulfil their needs or solve their problems?” These businesses tend to offer alternative products or services to those you are offering. While they may not currently be a threat, they could become your direct competition in the future.

Once you have built up a database of who your competitors are, you have the opportunity to determine their strengths and weaknesses in terms of product offerings, price, client base, available resources, customer service, and marketing material. Use this information to build a better marketing strategy, funnelling their customers your way.

Trade Shows: The Modern Businessperson's Treasure Trove

As the owner of a budding business, or an entrepreneur focused on researching new business potential, you are undoubtedly aware of the challenges presented in the ever-changing modern business environment. The stark reality is that this rapidly changing business world requires professionals to become more creative in finding ways to connect with their target market. Trade shows, believe it or not, are the equivalent of having your target market served up on a platter. Skyline mentions that roughly 99% of marketers say that they find unique information at trade shows that are entirely lacking on most other marketing platforms.

In an environment where digital interactions are becoming more and more prevalent, it may seem surprising that attending trade shows is an effective past-time. The fact of the matter is that this type of event guarantees access to an audience of interested, like-minded potential customers who are itching to make connections. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research around 81% of trade show visitors (4 out of 5 attendees) have some form of buying power.

Add to this the fact that trade shows offer free media exposure, educational opportunities, hype generation on social media, product demonstration platforms, and face-to-face contact with many valuable connections, and it becomes clear that these events are a remarkably valuable tool.