November 7, 2012 | Gemma Russo
The value of events, conferences and exhibitions was up for discussion at the Guardian Media this week. Our marketing manager Samantha Thomsett was invited onto the panel to comment along with publishers and other event experts to consider whether business to business media should be venturing further into the event arena and if they do so, how can they get people to pay to attend, and business to pay to exhibit.
The consensus of the discussion was that there’s scope for more events by publishers as F2F engagement with a brand is key. One of Sam’s main points was that visitors attend a conference or exhibition for a particular reason and that once they’ve made that decision to attend, they expect to be sold to. Exhibitors are increasingly looking at how digital engagement can help their exhibition stand staffers engage more visitors and improve that visitor experience. We are using technology to enhance rather than replace human interaction and still find that visitors need to be led to the technology rather than just assuming they will naturally interact with it. She also put forward some of our views on the best way to get results from event investment and to provide an ROI for your exhibition.
As you might expect, social media also cropped up, with observations that its use pre and post event is becoming all the more important in determining the success of an event – both for the organisers, delegates and exhibitors.
It was also acknowledged that the events arena is changing with a trend towards B2B publishers and conference organisers running smaller scale events. We’ve found that some organisers are using prescribed format mini exhibitions to bridge the gap between a handful of sponsors bringing their own pop ups and the huge commitment of launching a full scale exhibition. That’s why Nimlok has developed Conference Expo which is a new and innovative stand package for organisers of conferences with 5-50 sponsors which has unique benefits for both organisers and sponsors.
For the full live chat, check out the Guardian. Thank you to the other panels members, @JoeHamesPPA and You +1’d this publicly. Undo@CLGooch for a lively discussion. And for any would-be publishers-turned-event holders, check out our events and exhibition knowledge bank for more information about event best practice.