Posted on Sun 15th Dec 2019 at 8:39pm
Philip Ingram MBE, journalist, blogger, vlogger and prolific podcaster pulls no punches as he talks about his experiences wading through the pre-event hype and offers his advice on where companies should be focusing their time and energy.
I am amazed how much money companies spend designing their sets for events, getting staffing levels right, having just the right marketing freebies all designed to help attract visitors to their stand. I am equally amazed as to how many companies do nothing or very little to leverage audience awareness of their company, brand, product or service and position in the market through cost effective, well placed, content. Especially as most event organisers will distribute that content to their databases and through their marketing channels as part of their own campaign.
When I talk about content, I am not talking a banner on a website, a dedicated eshot to a database and I’m also not talking about sales literature or even press releases which are often delivered with little imagination and get lost in the deluge of last minute event communications from hundreds of sources. Most content is generally last minute and uninformative. So why send it unless you have a “tick, done something,” approach to marketing? If you do, you deserve all of the lack of attention you get.
You will have set your budget for the event at least a financial quarter if not a financial year before hand. That is when your ‘information campaign’ should and must start otherwise you are wasting a huge part of your investment.
So, what should you do to make yourself heard? The first thing is start early. Once you commit to an event, start your information campaign there and then, informing people, building up to the event, building the relationship with the event organisers. You should see the event organisers as partners rather than facilitators and use them as such. If they don’t see you as partners and treat you as mere customers, then the event is wrong for you and poorly run.
The second thing is focus on content and how that content is delivered. Ask yourself, is who is my target audience? If it is a technical audience, deliver technical content, if it is a decision-making audience deliver informative content so the decision maker “learns something.” What it should never be, is a straight sales pitch.
The third is ‘how should you deliver your content?” Written content has to be the basis of any messaging, but it should be something people want to read. White Papers and case studies have their place and interviews are always good as people love to read about people.
Thought leadership is again good, but the key here is giving the audience something they didn’t know or create an argument where the audience is either nodding in agreement or feels they have to comment. That way, when it is posted on social media, it will be commented on and its reach will be greater. You should never be afraid to be human, humorous or (in a careful and controlled way), confrontational.
However, reading is just one of three ways information is absorbed. It is no accident that You Tube is the second largest search engine; again, no accident that it is owned by the largest search engine, Google. Users view more than 1 billion hours of video each day on YouTube.
According to CISCO, by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, that is 15 times higher than it was in 2017. Insivia, a market growth consultancy, has found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. As you are sitting on a train have a look at the numbers of people looking at mobile devices, according to eMarketeer, 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices.
What that says is video is good, really good but you can waste a lot of time, effort and money producing something that looks brilliant but achieves little. So, my tips are, unless you need a corporate video or a case study, do it yourself. Something less than 20 sec long on social media at an event shot on a smart phone with a link to your stand and website will have a much better effect than a formal video. Then do it often, lots of little video comments from the show floor are better than one big video. Finally, make it fun, give people an incentive to want to watch.
Another very real video and picture tip is talk to the organisers. The organisers will have video crews and photographers walking around and before the event they will have produced a brief for the crews telling then what and where to shoot. Volunteer yourself, your stand, volunteer comment with your brand in the background. It’s all free profile!
Another area that has until recently been overlooked from a content perspective is that of audio only, i.e. PODCASTS. The stats are fascinating, in the US it has been shown that 57 million people regularly listen to PODCASTS. Marketing expert Daniel Gefen says that “podcasts are becoming a really useful sales tool and an effective way of marketing today, with around 25 percent higher conversions than blogs.”
PODCASTS are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and it is estimated that 4.7 million people in the UK download a podcast every week. To hook people to PODCASTS they need to provide listeners with interesting content and actionable advice. However, why do it yourself? There are a number of different event related podcasters who are more than happy to interview people and discuss a specific sector. Find then, use them, benefit from their audiences.
The messages that come out loud and clear is don’t just do stuff for the sake of it, don’t pay for PR or content that is not effective and don’t be afraid to produce content that hits all of the senses. Some people like to read, some watch, some listen. Work out what is the most cost-effective balance for your message, make sure that message will engage with and draw the attention of the audience and then start early, develop a following and for goodness sake utilise the event providers audience.
Philip is more than happy to give advice to help you and you can contact him via www.greyharemedia.com