Social Awareness, ABM and Awards Can Give Event Marketing a New Luster

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"Some tricks for us come from understanding what motivates our audiences within or beyond their industry pain points. For our Farm Progress Show, we have relied on social awareness and giving back to a community within the agricultural community via our Support our Farmers for Veterans campaign. What began as a data collection effort has turned into something bigger and more meaningful for the national and local farm community. It took on a life of its own and has helped leverage our relationship with our users."

That quote comes from a Folio: Q&A with Tricia Syed, VP of digital marketing, campaign marketing strategy and execution, for Connectiv member Informa Engage.

Today's event marketing can take so many new forms. According to surveys, social awareness is already a huge factor for young people so it may be just beginning to trend. At our upcoming Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), Nov. 12-14 in Fort Lauderdale—check who's attending here—a session titled Event Marketing: Leveraging Technology to Increase Your Top and Bottom Line will feature two types of modern marketing:

First, Constance Sayers (pictured), Government Executive Media Group's president, will tell how they built account-based marketing (ABM) into their event recruitment and the impressive results that followed. With ABM, she'll show, you can increase the impact of your marketing efforts and in turn, reap higher rewards with increased attendance at your events. Then Kimberly St. Lawrence, marketing director of professional development at Simplify Compliance, will tell how BLR built a content-based behavioral automation campaign to drive event registration (and prevent list fatigue).

Here are other proven strategies in the event marketing realm:

Promote all year. "From our Wealth Management group, a great tactic, especially when you have a single live event—the Wealth Awards—is one where you can promote it all year long," said Syed. "...having it prominent on your website, no matter how passive, keeps it in the minds or your audience and advertisers."

Create podcasts. For its second annual 2018 Connected Plant Conference, Access Intelligence conducted five-minute interviews with speakers, just one of their efforts that more than doubled attendee registration and revenue from year one. A typical intro went like this: "Jon Towslee, who is scheduled to present at Connected Plant, spoke with POWER Executive Editor Aaron Larson on Dec. 6 during a power-industry conference in Las Vegas. You can listen to the interview in the following POWER Podcast extra."

Mix in local highlights. The Connected Plant Conference kicked off with a tour of Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub, the company's worldwide manufacturing and service location for 60-Hz power generation equipment. What can you use from your locale to attract attendees?

Run an awards program that culminates at the conference. The Connected Plant Game Changers Awards are announced at the conference. "With an awards event, you have the advantage of the winners promoting their status to their audience as well," Syed said. "Another tactic for increasing engagement and participation was creating an award that focused the spotlight on the individuals instead of firms and initiatives. These categories got the highest number of nominations this year."

Add new event activities. "It really solidified our client relationships when we started traveling with [our audience]," said Loren Edelstein, editor in chief, Meetings & Conventions magazine for Northstar Travel Group. This led to adding to their own event experience—taking a group kayaking and other niche outings. It provided a "different kind of connection with our audience," she said. And eye-catching marketing.

Get more from your speakers. Secure additional commitments for popular speakers, not just letting it happen as a one-off, 60-minute session and then forgetting about it. Ask if the speaker can stay for lunch or for a reception where attendees can meet her. Make sure that anything held before—a Facebook Live session perhaps—points to something at your live event and can be marketed.

Make every touch point meaningful. Every touch point a customer has with a publisher should be special, said Robyn Duda of Robyn Duda Creative (and formerly UBM). Experiences evoke feelings so events must do the same. It makes you want to be a part of it. "Every touch point, every encounter, every transaction matters," she said, from a website visit to a webinar sign-up to an event promo.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…