Overview of TFMA 2011

Technology for Marketing and Advertising (TFMA) is one of my favourite shows of the year. It provides lots of opportunities to catch up on the latest thinking in the digital space, to see the latest technology up close, to talk to leading suppliers and attend lots of free keynote presentations and seminars from leading brands.

Though there is an extensive exhibition, the real draw is the growing seminar programme. It was clear this year was the most popular yet, as organisers opened up a number of new sections on the exhibition floor covering email, mobile, analytics, social media, affiliate marketing and online advertising in addition to all the usual attractions.

Traditionally a free show, a Priority Pass was introduced this year, which guaranteed entry to all the keynote presentations, for £99. An interesting proposition given there were 2,000-3,000 attending, yet the keynote theatre probably only catered for 400-500. This left hundreds of visitors, myself included, unhappy at not accessing the first keynote from Facebook at the start of the day.

Less of a money spinner but more visitor friendly would have been to double the size of the keynote theatre or perhaps use unutilised space at the back of the hall to run video relay on large screens, perhaps seeking to make additional revenue by locating an additional (and over priced) coffee zone. This and the total mismanagement of queuing for all sessions need review for 2012.

That aside, most of the sessions were superb and offered lots of food for thought for the marketers and business owners attending. Though there was a natural bias on speaker’s parts to cite big brand FMCG consumer marketing case studies. I always think this is nice, but mis aligned with the b2b responsibilities of most attendees, but there was lots to learn.

Head over to The BDB Blog where you can get my take on the following sessions:

I also tweeted extensively yesterday on the Twitter hashtag #TFMA. Feel free to check back on what everyone was saying.

Marketing Metrics 5: Speaking up

If you have something interesting to say, or are an interesting, engaging speaker, it’s worth considering public speaking as an element of your marketing strategy.  Speaking at conferences can be a powerful way of building a profile and raising the awareness of your skill set and expertise to your target audience.

Whether you opt to start small by acting as a guest speaker at a local networking or business group, running your own industry specific seminars or headline a major industry conference with a keynote presentation or panel place, one thing is certain. Everyone remembers a great speaker and a great presentation, and often business can be won off the back of one.

Speaker opportunities have long been highly prized within the PR fraternity as a way of pushing clients up the scale of influence. How do you think those experts who always seem to be the ones talking at the major conferences and being quoted in the trade or consumer press get there? By hard work and through building strong relationships with the media who run publications and organize conferences.

As the scale of opportunities afforded by technology and the Internet broaden, it is ever more important to specialise and avoid being seen as a generalist. There is a niche in every line of business and aligning your speaking engagements to 1/ your target audience and 2/ your specialist subject areas are fast tracks to expert status.

The ability to host webinars and webcast live on the Internet using sites like Bright Talk and Event Brite, to create podcasts for uploading to sites like iTunes and create and share presentations and video using sites like You Tube, Vimeo and SlideShare have revolutionised the concept of the expert and brought it to the masses.

But how do you measure the return from time spent?

It’s surprisingly easy. In most offline and online cases, the delegate list will be captured, especially if the carrot of exclusive post event material is dangled. An opportunity to join an exclusive group or register for exclusive content is always enticing. And remember this means all these contacts are themselves opting in.

Superficial statistics like the number of delegates, requests for and downloads of information are to a degree useful, but ultimately you should be forging a measurable link between the time and cost of preparing and giving the presentation and any tangible business outcomes, like opportunities to meet, opportunities to provide a proposal or quote and the landing of business.

Using speaking opportunities at seminars, conferences and exhibitions is a long term strategy designed to build profile and elevate you as an expert in your field. It is a tool that naturally sits on the fluffier side of the return on investment equation (unless you are able to charge for attendance in which case it is a revenue spinner all on its own).

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20 steps to a successful event

Been to some interesting events over recent months and have managed a fair share myself.

If you’re considering using seminars, conferences and networking events as a tool in your promotional mix, don’t sour your reputation by putting on a poor show.

Follow this guide to plan, promote and deliver impact events.

Pre event

1. Consider your audience, their needs and where they are.

2. Offer an interesting, relevant topic, ideally with business cases and not academic related.

3. Book an engaging, passionate speaker

4. Select an interesting venue (it’s part of the draw – but not a bar!) i.e. business schools, museums, town halls, football grounds, new business premises etc with optional tours.
5. Offer online booking

6. Offer early bird, group and recommendation discounts.

7. Provide real time attendee information – so people can see who else is attending.

8. Use Linkedin groups to promote your event to your audience.

9. Consider partnering / sponsorship opportunities to cover costs and maximize exposure.

At the event

9. Offer drinks and nibbles.

10.  Provide sufficient time for networking pre & post, especially if a presentation is involved.

11. Consider building in some structure if it is a solely networking event i.e. regular 5 minutes with whoever is stood to your left.

12. Circulate a delegate list on the day

13. Give delegates large, readable name badges with their name, company and title/interest.

14. Provide sufficient time for Q&A if a presentation is involved.

15. Remember to thank sponsors, venue, caterers.

16. Ask for feedback on the night via feedback forms.

Post event

17. Make speaker notes available to all attendees.

18. Give additional opportunity to feedback.

19. Send out a press release and post feedback on your website & social networks.

20. Start planning your next event.