The latest events are built from day one as powerful platforms for reaching attendees on site, plus many others who may be miles away.
Take a look at this week’s EM All Access episode focused on amplifying the event experience—increasing reach, driving shareability.
Hey there, event marketers, Jessica Heasley here. Welcome to another episode of EM All Access where we connect you with some of the industry’s most innovative events and the marketers behind them.
Today’s episode focuses on the power of amplification. I spoke with GES’ Senior Account Executive, Renee Mancino, about using social media as an amplifier, post-event extensions and activating attendee networks. Let’s listen in…
Events are rarely something that just takes place once and then goes away. How important is it to amplify what you’re doing at your event to others outside the event?
Mancino: We understand that with budget parameters and peoples’ busy schedules, they can’t always go to an event. But at the same time, you shouldn’t lose sight of the content that they can receive from an event.
A good thing to do is to really utilize social media channels and target those people who can’t go to the event but have expressed an interest in it. That means make sure that they are included in a two-way conversation, either through an event app. Make sure they have access to that. Make sure they have access to what’s going on the event’s site. And truly make it a two-way dialog. And also for the trade show business, you can tie in a virtual experience to the real experience. They have options now of making appointments with somebody on the trade show floor. So really leverage those things.
As far as extending the event, really, we think about pre-event communication to get people there and starting that ramp-up to that. Then we really focus on what’s going on at the event. I think the post-event amplification is as important. Try to leverage it as long as you can by keeping dialogs going through social media channels. And just keep up the email communication with attendees, and make sure you’re hitting on the things that are important to them and what you think their takeaways were at the event.
I think that’s a really important point, the post-event communication is often the biggest challenge. The event is over, maybe some of the momentum gets lost, but you think it’s something that should not be left off the priority list.
Mancino: Right. Absolutely. I think if you’re going to make your marketing dollars work for you long after the event, really figure out ways to keep up the continuing of messaging about the event. And try to extend it as long as you can so the gap between your plan for the following year and what you just wrapped up gets shorter and shorter.
How important is it to activate the attendee networks? Because they have their networks which can exponentially add to reach for the event, so how do you get in there and get them working their own networks?
Mancino: Social media has made a lot of us very narcissistic and we all like to consider ourselves subject matter experts. So really letting these attendees that love having that position—they’re considering their contribution of sharing what’s going on at these events as kind of like the new social currency. They’re really showing that their personality is more about being that subject matter expert. So as our jobs as marketers, it’s really important to create these very tweetable moments for them so they can push this content out to their circles of influence. And not only does it help the marketer, but it also achieves what they need to achieve, which might be a little bit more ego-driven—everybody’s happy.
How does that translate to ROI because thanks to social media, it is highly trackable, but tying events into that, does it help or hinder? How does that work with getting a return on investment, a read on that?
Mancino: The ROI is something that, it’s a very touchy conversation with events, and it’s been a very big topic for the last couple of years. Really, how are you going to measure ROI when you’re hosting an event with, say, for a Business-to-Business client and their audience is internal employees? And they’re being brought together to get on board with a corporate message or learn a new sales plan. What is the ROI when you have channel partners who are attending one of your events and you want to make them feel very comfortable that they’ve chosen the right partner? So I’m hoping that our industry moves more to ROE which is either “return on experience” or return on an engagement. And there’s really more opportunity to measure ROE truly than ROI. And we can do that by the content that we create in apps, in questions in surveys to get the appropriate feedback. It’s not going to be about the ROI, it’s going to be about how engaged they are in the process. I’m hoping the industry moves toward experts that know how to go in and audit events and look at the bigger picture, and then provide what that return on engagement is at the events.
Are there some best practices or top ways that event marketers are amplifying their events? Maybe not just social, but are there some in the toolbox that are always particularly effective that are go-tos?
Mancino: There’s some that aren’t inexpensive to implement and probably have big impact. I think there’s been a big move to go to visionary speakers as opposed to using corporate speakers. Visionary speakers can be someone completely out of the industry as we know but have a message that they can tie in to what your message is for the event. I like that event marketers are working harder at layering the experience in the general session room. So instead of taking an opening experience and having that “wow” immediately, they’re figuring out how to layer it to create a longer feeling of “I’m really engaged in this process.” So it’s not all push out information. So that’s one of them. I think unconventional breakouts is something we’re all going to amplify the experience a little bit. So there’s a lot of things you can do. It’s more about changing the formats as opposed to implementing techniques or tactics that cost a lot of money to do.
Is there something in the way that GES strategizes, their solutions for clients that builds in those shareable moments?
Mancino: We have such a breadth of experience in a lot of different industries and a lot of different clients. We work with the B2C heavily, trade show, B2B. I think we’re really focused on the human-to-human side of what this industry has to offer. We make decisions based on how all of our collective experience can really do outstanding things no matter what type of event that we’re doing. For me, my focus is on trying to take that macro industry view with our clients and get them to look at more of a micro view of what their attendees are going to experience. And work more on the strategy behind that. Because I think when you have the strategy, it helps with the moments that you can amplify. Those become clearer to you. So it’s a little bit more work, but in the end I think it’s a much bigger payoff.
Reaching more people with relevant experiences is what it’s all about. When you drive added reach you’re creating greater chances for bigger ROI. I’d like to thank Renee for joining and you for watching.
Learn more about GES’ top influencers and problem solvers through our in-depth EM All Access video series on thought leadership.