Tag Archives: trade show marketing

How Important is Matchmaking for B2B Events and Trade Shows?

The classic business model of trade shows is selling space. In recent years, though, many organizers have come to realize that this model is facing more and more challenges.

Exhibitors and sponsors are interested in quantifiable business opportunities, in Return-on-Investment that they can measure.

There are various ways how trade shows tackle this challenge, for instance by starting to offer year-round business platforms (e.g.  Toy Fair USA or the O2020 solution that UBM and Alibaba just launched).

An important element, though, is how to make sure that the time spent at a trade show is time well spent. This is exactly where matchmaking takes center stage. But to what extent do planners embrace the opportunities of B2B matchmaking? Do they use a software platform? What are their experiences? How do they get visitors and exhibitors to actively use the matchmaking platform?

These questions are covered by a survey that the company Converve is currently conducting. They want to find out what organizers really value and how they implement matchmaking #eventtech.

I encourage you to take part in the survey, the results will be a great benchmarking  for every trade show or b2b event planner. Converve will share the results on their blog.

Click here to start the survey.

Converve Matchmaking

 

Overview: Tools to capture leads at events and trade shows

Trade shows and events are multifaceted marketing instruments. When implemented properly, they can

  • boost company awareness
  • serve multiple PR purposes
  • form an important part in recruitment strategies and
  • allow benchmarking with competitors.

The importance of selling directly at shows has been declining, however, generating sales leads at trade shows ranks highest for most of the exhibiting companies.

Ultimately, it is the crucial success factor for organizers: Your show is sustainably successful when this criterion is fulfulled – facilitating lead generation via techical tools can be one way to achieve that objective! Continue reading Overview: Tools to capture leads at events and trade shows

Is classic event PR work dead?

…or has it become a waste of time and resources?

6069859969_e9ac79240b(pic: Flickr, by Rosa Say)

Having worked in the media industry from 2004 until 2012, I have experienced that the prevalent topic at any of those media conferences is: the decline of print media, along with the need for publishers to cut costs, which they do in editorial staff, which again leads to less circulation.

A vicious cycle…

But, first of all, what do I mean by “classic event PR work“? Well, sure you can argue what “classic” might mean in that context, but let me put it like this: All PR activities by event organizers aimed at placing your messages in traditional media outlets. Daily press, trade press, radio, television and of course the online portals of those media players.

Hoping for your messages to be featured and then (positively) received by your target groups, with the jounalists in their traditional roles as gate keepers for information and curators of what the readers may be interested in.

Quality jounalism of the old days, as we (used to) know it.

Typical activities would be

  • press releases sent out to a press distribution list
  • interview placement and jounalist relations
  • provision of electronic press kits (EPK, usually raw material) for downloading
  • press conferences

Online PR in my book would primarily be bypassing the traditional channels, spreading and seeding your word about your event and its content on social channels like Youtube, FB, Twitter, your own blog, via blogger relations, fora and “earned” media.

Now, the simple answer to this blog’s question is: You have to do both!

However, since I assume most of my readers will not avail themselves of unlimited resources in their PR departments, what is the ideal balance between traditional and what I call online PR?

Some aspects that speak for classic PR

  • credibility is still very high with traditional media. This may differ, though, depending on your industry. The influence of fashion bloggers has been skyrocketing, and it wouldn’t be very clever to neglect them. In other industries, though, trade press is still in the lead. You’ll have a tough time establishing your conference or trade show without media support.
  • an article in one of the national newspapers still amazes people. Funny that even onliners get a sparkle in their eyes when they see themselves in print, right?
  • TV is great for cool products, like shiny new tv sets, mobile phones, cars of course
  • Exhibitors expect a comprehensive and professional media and PR plan when you market your trade show.

Aspects in favour of online PR are

  • You keep better control of your messages and the environment in which they appear (e.g. your blog design, which groups and fora you choose to seed your content)
  • You can measure the impact directly by all kinds of KPIs – usually, you don’t have that with traditional (mass) media
  • You get direct feedback from your core audience
  • the pendulum will move towards this kind of conversation anyway, so the earlier you start comforting yourself with this environment, the better it is

Paul Steiger, founder of Pro Publica and previous editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal said in a recent article in the German news mag DER SPIEGEL: “The internet has destroyed the old business model, even though it is still alive“.

What is your opinion on this? Should event, conference and trade show marketers focus more on online PR and social media rather than “good old” journalist relations? Look forward to your comments and discussions!

spring Messe Management sucht neue Mitarbeiter! spring is recruiting!

Wir sind auf Expansionskurs und suchen neue Mitarbeiter, die uns dabei unterstützen. Derzeit haben wir eine Reihe von Jobs ausgeschrieben, darunter

  • Business Development Manager http://ow.ly/h3liw
  • Digital Marketing Manager http://ow.ly/h3lfW
  • Messe-Projektleiter  http://ow.ly/h3lrX

Ferner suche ich Leute in den Bereichen Presse und Grafik. Eine komplette Übersicht findet Ihr hier: http://www.messe.org

Kennt Ihr jemanden? Bei Interesse stehe ich gern zur Verfügung!

===================================

springlogo

Our company is expanding and we are looking for new team members that support us. Currently, we have a number of open positions, among which

  • Business Development Manager http://ow.ly/h3liw
  • Digital Marketing Manager http://ow.ly/h3lfW
  • Project Manager Trade Shows http://ow.ly/h3lrX

Furthermore, I am looking for staff in the press and graphics department. You’ll find the complete overview at http://www.messe.org (job posts in German language)

Do you know anyone? Don’t hesitate to contact me for any questions!

This study can provide good food for thought on how to allocate budgets for tradeshow marketing. While the social media “stars” Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn appear to be not overly useful and not overly freqented in B2B Marketing, the study reveals significant differences in age groups.

How to connect exhibitors and visitors at a trade show? A challenge that is forever young

When exhibitions belong to your event portfolio, you are certainly aware of the basic challenge that every expo organizer faces:

What is the best way to bring exhibitors and visitors together? Not only during the show, but before, after, year-round?

Put differently: What can an organizer do to facilitate the exchange between supply and demand?

Visitors spend less time at an exhibition than previously. Efficiency is required, and that applies to the preparation of the visit, during the stay, and in the follow-up period as well.

Nowadays, exhibitions are communication platforms, they are the place where you get an overview of an industry sector in a condensed time. Making direct sales/purchases at the show is not as important as it was in the past.

Of course, often times the exhibitors ask for access to email addresses or contact details from the visitors. While I can understand that from a vendor perspective, it leads to very awkward situations when you are a visitor and get spammed.

Latest example in a long list of failures: The Hosted Buyers at IMEX in Frankfurt received up to 2.500 emails by exhibitors! In addition to all the personal calls. Not good…

There is a new solution from a software company from Israel that I have come across recently. It is an attempt at bringing the information exchange between exhibitors and visitors to a new level: INDUSTRY TRACKER.

Put simply: In the preparation period, visitors can decide which exhibitors are relevant to them and start “tracking” them. Thus, they create their own news-stream of relevant information. It feels a bit like what you know from Facebook or other social media.

During the event, you add companies to your stream by simply scanning a QR-code at the stand. That is particularly interesting when you come across a relevant company but don’t have the time to talk to them on site.

After the event, you automatically have access to information material that the exhibitors post, like brochures, videos etc.

The beauty of this solution for exhibitors is that you don’t need to create special content just for this service. Instead, you simply connect your existing news streams, e.g. from Twitter, Facebook or simply your news section on your website.

Even if you don’t do the Twitter and Facebook thing, you may have either a blog or at least a website where you publish your company’s news.

Definitely worth checking out when you are an exhibition organizer! For more details, you can contact Motti Kleinmann, Vice President of Product Marketing.

10 Best Practices How To Write Your Event Blog

For a lot of event organizers, content marketing is still in a very early phase. Writing an event blog is a great tool, but you can make a lot of mistakes. They can be easily avoided.

Here’s a checklist of things one should bear in mind when blogging about your event:

  1. Keyword analysis: Did you do a keyword analysis before you started your blog? It does make sense to identify the most used search terms that apply to your conference or trade show. You can use the free Google keyword tool for this. Start with what you think are the most important keywords, and run them through the Google tool. You’ll probably be surprised as to what really comes up…
  2. Search engine optimization: Your blog should include those most important keywords as often as possible, in order to rank high on search engines. Both in the text as well as in the tags.
  3. Layout: Use headlines in between, add paragraphs and write the most important words in each paragraph in bold for better ease of reading. People don’t have much time today to dig deep into a long, badly written article with a poor layout. They’ll leave your site if it’s not convenient to read. Julius Solaris’ Event Manager Blog is a great example what a good design looks like.
  4. Headline: The headline needs to pull people in, because on social media, the headline is probably the only thingone will see from the blog post! When it’s not a good one, they’ll never click on that link and read your nicely written post. Spend as much time on creating the headline as you spend on writing the blog. I’m serious…!
  5. Social sharing: Make it easy for readers to share your content, by offering sharing buttons for the most relevant networks. That means: Not hundreds of them (some services offer that wide array of networks)! Rather focus on the ones that are important for your audience, and those will probably be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, maybe XING, plus an email functionality. Fullstop. Also think about editing the line that you want the people to share (mostly the headline) and add the event hashtag to the Twitter line.
  6. Engagement: Respond to each comment you receive on your blog, no matter if it’s a positive or negative one. This shows appreciation and respect for your readers.
  7. Other blogs: Do you know what are the relevant blogs for your industry? Be active on them, comment, ask questions… This will allow you to place a link to your own event blog in the comment and drive traffic to it.Backlinks are loved by search engines! But remember: It is about real engagement, not about a sales pitch!
  8. Content engine: Use the content you have created on your blog to fuel your other social platforms like the Facebook page, LinkedIn group, XING group etc. Remember to adjust the content so that it is appropriate for the platform you are posting on.
  9. Cross-marketing: Refer to your blog in your print advertising, in press releases, on your website… Everywhere!
  10. On site promotion: What good is a nice live event blog when no-one knows where to find it? At a conference, it could be as simple as placing a flip-chart somewhere next to the stage, displaying your Twitter handle, event hashtag, Facebook page and short link to the blog. You can customize a bit.ly link for easy access via smartphone or tablet.

Here’s a recent article I wrote about what a content marketing strategy for your event could look like.

Find more resources at those links:

Click to tweet: 10 best practices for event blogs http://bit.ly/Hxyipk #eventprofs #blog

Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lady-madonna/