audience activation

Audience Activation and like-minded attraction

Online buzz (or lack there of) about an event identifies leaders who are engaged (or need to become engaged)

Industry leaders and influencers can

  • help drive ticket sales
  • fill more vendor booths
  • create additional sponsor opportunities
  • enhance the overall experience of the event

Yet there are some problems of finding conversations and interacting with traditional business models…

Some problems with being traditional

  • Event organizers, vendors, and sponsors have limited understanding of the conversation.
  • It is also a common problem that industry leaders are not necessarily conversational leaders.
  • Being the CEO of an incredibly successful company doesn’t mean you are engaged with the marketplace.
  • Vendors and sponsors often use traditional advertising models.

Things have changed.

Events are themed by the conversation that happens before, during, and after

1st time events are impacted by the initial topic, speaker, vendors, and sponsors.
These have significant impact on what types of attendees are attracted.

Continuing or annual events evolve:
Previous attendees will have a growing impact on the flavor of new recruits.
Vendors & Sponsors will become ROI oriented, instead of experimentally oriented.

The problem with either of these situations is that the conversationalist who communicate before, during, and after the event are very different. The model they use for conversation will shift as an online dialogue of previous events becomes available to them.

[message_box type=”note” icon=”no”]Lets look at the basic conversational drivers.[/message_box]

[one_fourth][message_box]Topic Driven[/message_box][/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last]Requires a “flavor.” Many events (especially trade shows) have difficulty finding one. In most cases it develops from a trending topic or market shift conversation. Audiences in the conversation are interested about the topic and usually have a community point of exposure: often with segment leaders, industry experts, competitors, and critics. [/three_fourth_last]

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[one_fourth][message_box]Speaker Driven[/message_box][/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last]Speakers should be experts (if they are not, why are they speaking?) Based on this fact you should consider other experts and influencers your speakers have. You should create a worthwhile conversion funnel for those experts and make sure to leverage additional press exposure the ‘speaker network’ may provide.[/three_fourth_last]

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[one_fourth][message_box]Vendor Driven[/message_box][/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last]Vendors spend good money for booth space. They often bring a team of 3 to 10 personnel with them. Examine everyone in the vendor audience. Look for referral sales and business synergies between vendors. Create value in micro-networks of vendors within your show. Provide employees (and vendor customers) with audience discounts.[/three_fourth_last]

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[one_fourth][message_box]Attendee Driven[/message_box][/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last]Attendees don’t like attending alone! Create value-add incentives for attendees to invite friends, share information socially, and purchase ‘bring a friend’ and group tickets. By using an attendee to promote the event, you double the ability to sell tickets and can help drive travel savings for attendees (most hotel rooms can have 2 beds, why not bring a friend?) [/three_fourth_last]

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[one_fourth][message_box type="success" icon="yes"]Sponsor Driven[/message_box][/one_fourth] [three_fourth_last]Sponsors really want to have access across all four of the above conversations. Lack of strategy and tactical definition for the other conversational segment erodes the ROI statement for a sponsor. In many cases any singular sponsor will not want every conversation, which allows event teams to bring in supportive sponsors to monetize unclaimed areas of opportunity. [/three_fourth_last]

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When looking at these conversations, you can also think about press coverage and journalists. In many cases journalists want to know about some of these hidden conversations.

By planning a strategy around these conversations, you can introduce expertise and value into the other segments.

Some core ideas you can think about

[bullet_list icon=”microphone”]

  • What are the top three items of conversation within each segment?
  • Do the other segments want to be engaged with it, do they know about it?
  • Is there someone (or a group) leading the topics of importance?
  • Are the speakers and sponsors engaged? Do they have a plan?
  • Is there value that can be packaged, sold, and monetized?

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Bonus Question: have you looked at other like-minded events and
educated yourself from what they did right and wrong?

2 replies
  1. Jack Trimball
    Jack Trimball says:

    Great breakdown.

    Having been in the industry for 20+ years, I am constantly surprised by how many trade show teams haven’t broken down the audiences they are trying to engage with.

    The new options are really opening up some effective tactics to use that were ‘wishful dreams’ just a few years ago.

    Do you think press or competitors deserve being broken into a niche? Love to hear your thoughts on that.

    Reply
    • Editor
      Editor says:

      Great question Jack.

      Competitors and press do deserve a niche to themselves. In most cases these are the two “holy grail” categories that really need a lot of brain power applied to them. If you can find a way to develop with a competitor and turn them into a ‘frienemy’ instead of going head-to-head it can be a win-win partnership.

      Journalists and press also bring new needs. They usually want a ‘sneak peek’ behind the curtain and can bring great reward and risk at the same time. Trade shows should really think about the communication strategy around press coverage and plan for a worse case and best result scenario.

      Reply

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