Marketing Week Live, The Future of Advertising, B2C & B2B Marketing Expo, and BVE. These are just a few of the industry events that loveurope and partners have already attended this year. There will be plenty more opportunities to explore and celebrate the marketing and advertising industry as we run through the year with festivals like Cannes Lions, Ciclope and Kinsale Sharks commanding attention and renewing the debate on whether they’re worth the investment.
Let’s start closer to home and take a look at what makes for a really good marketing and advertising conference. Are you one for setting up a stall, getting a seat on discussion panels and presenting a masterclass, or do you sign up for a badge and set out to see what’s on offer? How do you measure the return on investment? And, what makes a conference deserving of your time? Here are some of our thoughts about the qualities of an effective marketing and advertising conference, and we’d love to hear yours in the LinkedIn comments.
Networking and Navigation
The key element that many attendees are looking for are opportunities to meet with potential suppliers or customers and do a bit of networking. A good conference needs to make it easy to navigate the event space and identify where to find relevant contacts. A pocket floorplan map and shopping mall style “you are here” displays are helpful. An app with a map and real-time locator can make this a breeze. I for one would like to see a more useful directory. Every company has an impressive-sounding name these days but very few of them are self-explanatory. How nice would it be to see a colour code to indicate what type of businesses are exhibiting so you know where to find the video marketers as opposed to the direct mail displays and which ones are professional development services rather than the workflow software developers? An online or app-based event guide with links to exhibitor’s bios and company websites would be a comprehensive solution.
Speakers, seminars, masterclasses and discussions all draw a crowd, but if you can’t grab a seat ahead of time, you’ve missed out. Some conferences like the Future of Advertising are a series of presentations and panels rather than one stage amongst many other attractions. These sorts of focused events allow for more considered discussions, and there’s no need compete with the surrounding clamour of a floor filled with exhibitors. To avoid disappointment, event organisers should adequately prepare the space for the likelihood of oversubscribed presentations, ensuring that speakers can be heard without the need for a limited supply of bluetooth headphones.
For a busy conference with overlapping themes, a real boon to planning the day is an app that lets you view and customise your schedule with remindersabout when to get to the next presentation. Marketing Week Live did that really well, although there wasn’t a handy solution for when two interesting speakers had a scheduling clash. Perhaps, adding a post-event video link or transcript and slides to catch up on missed presentations would do the trick.
What Makes for a Good Presentation?
When you visit an exhibition stand you expect a bit of a sales pitch, but a presenter needs to balance the need to promote their business with the audience’s desire to obtain free insights which will add value to their own work. What are the hallmarks of the best presentations? Engaging visuals, well-substantiated claims, memorable action points or questions that allow the attendees to re-examine the topic closer to home. Some presenters could do with basic reminders to use large, attractive fonts, a pleasing colour palateand clear, simplified points. Embedded videos work particularly well to engage the audience, but it’s important to balance video viewing time with live, in-person content.
The real winners make their presentations available for another look and further consideration after the event. A short url which incorporates your homepage address and a / followed by the event name can take interested visitors to a landing page with the presentation while you benefit from the increased traffic to your website. A QR code on slides or leaflets can facilitate online access. Take-home booklets of master-class content plus useful reading material and further resources may be more of an investment, but they are a good companion piece.
What Is Everyone Talking About Now?
What are the key agenda items on the marketing circuit this year? GDPR compliance is all the rage, or perhaps the worry for many marketers. The implications of Brexit are an ongoing concern as are the lobbying efforts of trade bodies in advocating protections for our industry. Trust, transparency and brand safety in social media marketing have been reignited by the fall-out from whistle-blowers and investigations into the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data (mis)use scandals.
The importance of video remains a hot topic as advertisers decide how to apportion their budget across marketing channels. Voice search, blockchaintechnology and AI are also popular buzzwords. And while it’s still early in the year, panellists are keen on making predictions for 2018 and beyond. Whether it’s about the next big thing in social media or when VR/AR technologies will really take off, we are all keen to identify how to get an edge in a crowded marketplace.
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What Are You Looking for?
Let us know your experience. Who is addressing the hot topics with the most insight? Which marketing innovations and trends sound most intriguing to you? Are you going abroad for any of the festivals, awards shows or conferences? Which UK events have made it into your diary? What are the deciding factors on whether you will exhibit, attend or skip a conference? Do leave a comment in our LinkedIn post even if it’s just to let us know what your favourite exhibition stand freebie has been.