The 2017 conference season is right around the corner. Conferences are incredibly valuable as they enable brands to drive highly engaging connections to a very targeted and captive audience. According to Forrester Research, trade shows and events are the second most effective tactic in the marketing mix, after the company’s website.¹ But just having a booth and being present at these conferences isn’t enough when you’re up against a sea of competitors all vying for the same eyeballs.
So how do you break through the noise? It starts with defining your objective. Most brands’ conference objectives can be boiled down to two key areas: 1. Brand Awareness and 2. Lead Generation. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy to meet these objectives. But there are guidelines. Your strategy should be tailored to your brand’s specific business and marketing objectives with a plan that employs tactics that can be measured, optimized and repeated again in the future.
While there are a lot of traditional advertising options out there, such as out-of-home, direct mail, print ads, sponsorships etc., some of these tactics can be hard to measure and less cost effective than implementing a digital marketing strategy. We’re not talking about your standard display campaign, although useful in its own right, we’re talking about digital efforts that will differentiate your brand and garner a return on your investment. There are so many different digital marketing opportunities to choose from, but let’s review just some of the options against key conference objectives.
Whew! This sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but done effectively and in advance, it can really pay off. There are tons of tools out there to help. For example, Eventbrite offers downloadable timelines, templates and tactics to help you get started. Not all of these tactics need to be implemented but Hubspot reports that the average number of promotional methods to publicize an event is five.² Regardless of the number of tactics in your plan, all should be integrated together so that each effort ladders back up to a single strategy that accomplishes your objective.