In the modern and technologically advanced world today, physical meetings and conferences seems to be taking a backseat and competing for time against virtual meetings and online social discussions. But if you look at the numbers, it does suggest otherwise.
According to a recent poll by the International Congress and Convention Association and the IMEX Group, 77 per cent of attendees at the IMEX trade show in Frankfurt will be hosting meetings for more than 500 delegates in 2013. In addition, 32 per cent reported higher attendance for the events they have hosted so far this year than was the case in 2012 – and nearly 30 per cent plan to run more meetings in 2014.
So why are companies still organising conferences and tradeshows? Here, we suggest 5 reasons why conferences could be worth more than you think:
- People like interaction
So much of our interaction in the 21st century is done via electronic means – we ‘talk’ to colleagues using instant messaging, ‘meet’ with clients on conference calls and ‘liaise’ with them over email. Sometimes, it’s possible to go for months or even years without meeting some of the people we work closely with. Hosting a conference to bring them together will instantly make your delegates feel more involved with their industry and get them excited about what they do. Seeing a convincing presentation in person beats a good webinar.
- Speakers can generate a buzz and talking points on social media
Linked with the above is that a good line-up can result in keynote speakers or happenings making the regional or even national news if they get shared on social media and picked up by news outlets. This will present great value for your brand
- Meeting people face to face will help them remember you
Shaking hands with someone and finding out what they look like makes people more likely to remember them afterwards – and to think of them instead of the competition if they need products or services instead of one of many online discussions that they are involved in.
- You can give out freebies and information about your brand
And if shaking their hands doesn’t work, you can win attendees over with goody bags and media packs to keep afterwards. Informational packs about your product or brand is still widely accepted and appreciated in the conference space.
- It’s fun
Music, trade stands and food outlets can result in a great and really enjoyable event, so always capitalise on this, to make this a business event in a relaxed setting. Make your event regular (once or twice a year if possible) and bridge the gap between them using your event management software to send past delegates tickets, teaser emails and more to keep the relationship warm.Lots of brands have already recognised the value of conferences and meetings, resulting in growth in the trade show industry and using social media as a complement to the whole event experience. It would be interesting to measure the value of your client who attend your physical events versus those who do not, and see how it impacts your client ROI. Integrating your Sales CRM with an Event CRM would definitely help to measure the lifetime value of your event-attending client.