Events Archives - Page 4 of 6 - Klaxon

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is just around the corner and we’re delighted to be organising two events in London:

1. How Blogging Has Changed My Life – Monday 13th Feb (SOLD OUT)

We have 225 guests registered to attend and hear four great bloggers describe how their lives have been changed for the better since they started blogging.

There will be a Q&A panel as part of this evening event which will give attendees the chance to quiz our panellists on how to become a great blogger.

2. Making Social Part of Your DNA – Thursday 16th Feb (TICKETS AVAILABLE)

This is our keynote event and we have a line-up of fantastic speakers and brands (Virgin Atlantic, 02, Cisco, Dell, Barclays to name a few) describing how they have used social media for marketing, internal comms, customer service and engagement.

The focus is largely on looking at the results that have been measured and return on investment achieved, rather than ‘how to’ content, with a heavy emphasis on how companies need to look at social media from a holistic point of view and not just from a marketing communications perspective.

This will be valuable for everyone from marketing managers at blue chips, to business owners / directors who want to ramp up their social media programmes.

Watch this short interview with our Chairman, Martin Thomas, to hear about why you should attend:

You can also follow conversation about this event on twitter using the hashtag #SMWDNA.

Outside of our own, there are also many other fantastic events being held during Social Media Week. I’ll be attending:

The Future of Brand Communications – where marketing, PR and Social Media collide

From Social Data to Social Insight

For the full list and schedule of events click here.

7 Common Event Marketing Mistakes

eventsIf you decide to start running events as part of your marketing mix, it’s easy to think the most challenging element will be the logistics. Finding a venue, ordering the AV and staging, sorting out the detail of your handout packs… the list goes on.

In fact often the piece of the puzzle that requires the most work is marketing the event itself. How are you going to get those illusive bums on seats?

We’ve been organising and marketing events for some time and because of this, we’ve seen a lot of mistakes made. See how many of the following mistakes you have made and let’s hope we can all avoid making these in the future.

1. Not allowing enough time

Depending on the type of audience you want to attract and the type event you want to produce, you will need to make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Commercial conference companies often take six months to produce an event, which will include at least four months of audience generation activity.

You can of course turn an even around in a lot less time and in fact I would recommend a 12 week cycle, but any less and you are setting yourself up for a rocky road. Plan your marketing campaign to start with at least eight weeks to go before the event. Yes you may well find the majority of your delegates book on in the last few weeks, but you need time to warm up your target audience before they respond to one of your marketing messages.

2. Using poor data

When it comes to marketing your event, you will need good data. This will be both your own in house and also paid for data from a broker or media partner. If it’s your own data, make sure it is up to date and, if you plan on telemarketing, TPS checked. If you buy your data, check the recency, permissions on the licence and make sure you have a tight list criteria as loose data is no good to anyone.

Don’t be fooled by the quantity trap here, a smaller more targeted database is likely to respond better to well positioned messages and calls to action. That said, don’t be shy either – you are likely to need to knock on a lot of doors for each sale in this day and age.

3. Thinking social media is the panacea

I’ve been asked this question a lot recently: how many registrations can we generate from social media?

Sounds fair doesn’t it? In reality using social media to generate registrations is no easy task. Chances are if you haven’t already built an audience on some existing social media platforms, or at least a presence in those communities that already exist, you are more than likely too late to use social media as an effective audience recruitment channel for your event.

Sure, use social media as a way to engage with your audiences, build some buzz and awareness and amplification post event, but don’t expect to make a huge difference to registration figures.

4. Adding telemarketing in at the last minute

We’ve all been there, two weeks to go and our registration figures are way below where we wanted. Time to call in the telemarketing agency as they can get going quickly. We’ll just buy some data.

The problem is, with only who weeks to go, the telemarketing agency is onto a hiding to nothing. Not only are they expected to push a message that is already proven not to be resonating with your audiences, but they also have to use cold data.

If you want to properly engage with a telemarketing agency please provide them with three things:

1. Warm contacts who have already seen some communications about your event
2. A good briefing on the message and plenty of support materials
3. The opportunity to test the message and targeting on a set of your data and to feedback

I’m a big fan of telemarketing. Done well you can get your data cleansed at the same time and skilled callers will also be able to unearth sales opportunities and market intelligence for you too. Although of course you have to bear in mind no show rates from telemarketing are often higher than from delegates registered by other means, so just factor that into your plans.

5. Relying on email

Everyone has a big email database these days. Some in much better condition than others. It’s all too tempting to think a good email campaign will generate your audience, but the fact is email marketing stats show a downward trend in performance for event marketers.

The increasing competition for email inbox time is a serious challenge to campaign effectiveness as your messages get mixed up with the myriad of other commercial promotions, not to mention the spam (please, no more offers to send targeted traffic to my website).

Build a cross channel campaign with email as a central part, supported by telemarketing, social media, SEO, PPC, media partnerships etc etc. you get the idea, no single tactic is enough.

6. Handing your audience gen campaign over to a media partner

This is a mistake you might make a couple of times as media companies tend to employ skilled sales man, but once bitten twice shy.

It doesn’t really matter what sector you work in but let’s assume there are a handful of really good trade publications that all of your target decision makers read, each with an equally good web portal. You decide to speak with one of these publications and they offer you the following:

  • Email campaign to their database (you choose the exact targeting)
  • Retouch campaign to any who open the email
  • Supported banner ad on their website

You are quoted a price and the CPM sounds OK so you give it a whirl. However for some reason it doesn’t work. You get a handful of opens and zero registrations and a confused sales manager telling you all his / her other clients always get a massive response.

What can you do? Probably very little apart from choose your partners carefully.

My advice: only book advertising with a price per action, for example cost per registration or even better cost per attendee. Yes if you can convince someone to offer you this, you will pay more, but ultimately the value to you is getting the right bums on the rich seats.

7. Great I have hit my target number, I can relax

Wrong. I you are running free to attend events the hard work is still ahead of you. You now need to make sure people remain engaged and interested enough to turn up. In London it is not unusual for a free event to attract less than 50% of those people who register, which is no good for the humble event marketer.

What can you do to keep people interested? Here’s a few tactics you might try:

* Weekly email update to all registered delegates with links to relevant value adding content
* Maintain an event blog and twitter feed with relevant and interesting content
* Post the attendees badge to them two weeks before the event
* Interview the keynote speakers and post as a video on YouTube

The list is endless. Just make sure the content is valuable and of interest to your target audience.

Of course these are just the mistakes you can make before your event. After the big day it’s easy to think you can relax, but in reality it’s crucial to make sure you haven a suitable post event campaign.

Pass any qualified leads on to sales and feed the rest into a nurturing campaign to cross promote other activities such as webinars, white papers and so on.

Don’t let those non-attendees escape either as they have already expressed an interest in the product area you are marketing. Feed them into a telemarketing programme for further qualification and move them through your sales cycle.

So there you have it, our list of seven of the most common event marketing mistakes made by companies organising proprietary marketing events. But what are your experiences, let’s us know in the comments below.

5 Top Tips for Optimising Conference Speaking Opportunities

Speaking Opportunities

So you’ve secured yourself a conference speaking opportunity. Well done. But how can you ensure that you make the most of your participation?

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Securing Speaking Opportunities

Conference Speaking Opportunities can be an incredibly powerful communications vehicle for building executive visibility. But how do you go about securing the righ speaking slots for your exec?

The first step on the road to successful free speaking is to identify your brief.

Think about:

  • which audiences you want to reach – vertical? horizontal? what geography?
  • who in your team can speak and are they trained?
  • what issues and customers can you talk about?
  • do you have the resources to write presentations?
  • can this fit into your PR and marketing mix?

Once you have your brief and objectives in place, decide what performance indicators you want to measure. Will you target a specific number of events, number of delegates reached, speaker evaluation, or a mixture of these?

Now it’s time to start researching the conference market.

You will no doubt have relationships with some conference companies, but are you just speaking to the sales manager? If you want to speak without paying, you’ll need to ensure you’re speaking to the right person, i.e. the conference producer who puts the agenda together.

Look for events that match your brief. Think about the audience they are targeting, the overall focus of the event and the history – how successful it was last time and what the conference company’s pedigree is.

When it comes to pitching your speaker and topic, every event will have a different requirement. You will always need a biography of your speaker, to spell out why he/she will add value to the conference, and some form of topic proposal. This might be a short synopsis, a title with bullet points or even a white paper.

The submission process will also vary. It may be a closed call for papers, you may deal directly with the conference producer, or you might be selected anonymously by an international panel of subject experts.

Depending on which of these you are facing, you may not be in a position to be selective about session time. Obviously you want to try to avoid sessions at the end of the day or just after lunch – the so called grave yard slots.

Lastly, it’s important to approach the conference company at the right time. Some complete their event agendas up to nine months before the event, though four is more common. If you see an agenda with speakers up on the website, you have probably missed the boat (for this year at least).

Marketing Planning Workshop at TAGTribe’s SME2.0

On Wednesday we delivered a marketing planning workshop at TAGTribe’s SME 2.0 meeting. Working with Phil Szomsor from Citigate Dewe Rogerson we planned the session around Able Power, a London based energy brokerage firm which has spent the last 18 months proving it’s business model and is now looking for growth.

Kudos to Darren Jones from Able Power for opening up his business as a live case study. We hope you get a lot from the exercise.

The idea behind the session was to do something different i.e. not a pure play slide deck presentation, but where the whole TAG community would get something of value. I hope we have achieved this and certainly some of the feedback so far suggests it was a good exercise.

Just in case I need to reiterate the benefits of planning your marketing rather than picking ad-hoc opportunities – aside from avoiding the headless chicken trap – they include:

  • Easier to manage the performance of your marketing
  • Focus on tactics that are driving a return on investment
  • Better control of your budgets, or helping you to set a budget in the first instance
  • Reduce your costs (and increase profits)
  • Maintain sanity!

Anyway, enough of the waffle, here are the slides from the night as many of you requested.

The Speaking Opportunities Lowdown

As a communications professional you’ve no doubt looked at using events and conferences as part of your marketing mix. How else can you hope to meet up with such a large number of prospects and customers in one day?

The vast majority of technology vendors pay for sponsorship and exhibition programmes, but there is another way – conference speaking opportunities.

So what are speaking opportunities and how can you make the most of them?

A speaking opportunity is basically the chance for one of your executives to stand up and discuss your company’s experience on a topic related to the main conference theme. It’s also of course an opportunity to talk about your company, its business, its customers and to develop your position in the marketplace without paying.

So what are the main benefits of going down this road? There are many advantages to securing free speaking opportunities, not least:

  • they are highly targeted
  • audiences are interested as very often they’ve paid to attend
  • participation is easily measured – audience numbers, speaker feedback etc.
  • they are good for raising awareness, managing your reputation and driving opinions
  • they reach international and domestic audiences
  • they drive delegates to your exhibition stand

Sound good?

Well speaking opportunities certainly can be, but you need the right approach to make it happen.

Is the Conference Dead?

ConferenceOur ways of communicating have changed beyond all recognition in the last 15 years. Email has replaced letters, texting has replaced voice calls, social media sites and chat rooms have replaced face-to-face contact. We’re living in a virtual world where technology, whilst increasing our appetite to communicate whenever, wherever, has begun to make more traditional forms of engagement redundant.

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Building Community with Benjamin Ellis

At Klaxon we co-organise a meetup group for meetup organisers. An event for events people if you like. You can find our more about this group here.

At the last get together we were lucky enough to have Benjamin Ellis from redcatco as our guest speaker. Benjamin delivered an excellent talk on building communities around meetup groups, but many of the lessons could equally be applied to brands / businesses. Community of course something which is becoming increasingly fashionable as brands and marketers look at how to move from broadcasting marketing messages, to engaging with people.

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What Event Promotion Tactics Do You Use?

If you’ve ever been tasked with organising an event you will know getting the promotion tactics right can be one of the toughest tasks you face.

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Delivering Effective Presentations

I’ve been doing a reasonable amount of public speaking recently. Both for business at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, SME 2.0 and Tag Tribe events, but also over the past couple of years I’ve had the pleasure of being a best man a couple of times.

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