Monika Fourneaux-Ceskova offers some pointers on how to create a buzz around your event in 2020.
According to the 2019 UFI Reports on the value of exhibitions, approximately 32,000 exhibitions directly involved 303 million visitors and nearly five million exhibitors across more than 180 countries.
Each sector offers specific events, tradeshows and conferences. Yet, how do you attract your crowd, expand the rows with exhibitors’ stands and boost your attendance in today's competitive market?
Create awards and engage the best ever jury
Everyone wants to be a winner and this is even more true in today's competitive/global economy. If you are a winner, you are in the spotlight and you emerge from the crowd.
Try to find as many participants to your awards competition as possible and officially communicate on each entry.
You can do some interviews or create a buzz on social media, which will encourage other companies to join the competition. Even if they all won't be the winners, they will all still get some of the limelight.
Create a great website
I still see websites, which are extremely nice in design but not very practical. Make it easy for your crowd to find what they are looking for. Avoid endless scrolling and organise your menu properly. Your client should be able to find what he needs in no more than two clicks.
Get the best speaker
Offer your crowd more than what a YouTube channel can do. Investing in a professional speaker can be sometimes very expensive so when you hire a speaker, make sure you negotiate your contract properly. The speaker should be able to give you at least one interview prior to the show, a sneak peek of what his speech be about.
Ask him/her to stay a minimum of 30 minutes after his ‘performance’ in a dedicated public area such as a coffee space. This is where the speaker can meet the public in a different setting and engage in a conversation. Believe me, there is nothing more disappointing than to see a speaker whose performance doesn’t offer more than what is already published on their YouTube channel.
Ask an independent journalist/ blogger or influencer to write about your show
Don’t be scared of criticism and always react positively to comments. However, if they get highly critical, it either means that they hate you personally or it is a true warning that your show really sucks (and you’d better do something to change it)!
Engage your crowd in the show
Ask participants about their opinion, what they would like to change? And, don’t just send out an online survey, which can be left unopened or unfinished because your questions do not give a platform for the kind of feedback the visitor wishes to give.
Engage your sales staff to discuss these questions personally with the accounts, both directly at the show and afterwards. Once you get the feedback, make the most of it.
I hear this very often that you have to personalise your show in order to stay relevant. Yes, but how? Here is where the AI comes in. Find the tool which allows your clients to personalise. One example: You can create a general newsletter which helps you to understand what your account’s main interest is. Understand what specific link/articles or interviews took their attention. What did they click on and where did they leave comments?
Based on that, you can start personalising and sending additional material that they could find useful; just like Netflix, Facebook or any other social media. We mainly receive news regarding our interests because AI (which is behind it all) understands what specific subjects we like the most.
Monika Fourneaux-Ceskova is an event industry marketing and communication specialist and was previously responsible for the marketing activities of UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.
She has worked for the World Economic Forum as part of the external staff at the World Economic Forum Annual Meetings in Davos and is currently based in Dubai, UAE.