The fine art – and hard business – of pleasing your audience

Expert Opinion
The fine art – and hard business – of pleasing your audience

“To the outside world, it should always look like this – effortless, glamorous and most importantly, entertaining for all”Darcey Bussell

Darcey Bussell is the most successful English prima ballerina of her generation. There were “hours of practice and behind-the-scenes rehearsals [I had] to put in to improve the quality of the performance. I practised every morning and every night,” Darcey said. Being under prepared does not make success.

In the same way, if your business wants to steal the limelight at conferences, a year-round preparatory schedule ahead of the operation is the only way to ensure a standing ovation. All too often a business investment in industry events will form a crucially important element of their annual marketing plan. Given the costs, time and effort involved it is imperative that you maximise the return on this investment. Learning how to steal the (trade) show is a measured art. What follows are some essential tried and tested tips.

First and foremost, businesses must remember that there are always going to be different ‘tribes’ that attend conferences. For example the ‘influencers’ tribe may consist of designers, architects and planners, while the ‘media’ tribe may include those who will publish articles about the event such as journalists, editors and bloggers. To maximise ROI on an event marketers needs to create the ideal experience for each delegate tribe, tailor-making these to optimise the outcome.

Similarly it’s also important to consider the customer experience before, during and after the event. Collaboration between the marketing and sales teams on this is essential for a cohesive customer experience, while it also generates super-warm leads. Mapping customer journeys for each of the tribes, from their early planning phase to after they go back home, provides the key strategy points to work with and helps determine where precious marketing resources are best invested
The rise of digital channels has allowed the reach of an exhibition to go beyond the confines of the physical space.

Marketing teams can create content that melds the luxury of having the delegates in front of you at your booth with the power of social media or even a specially made app to amplify the experience far and wide. Delivering a ‘virtual show’ experience for those who weren’t able to attend could end up reaching more ‘delegates’ than the live event itself.

One example of this is the recently launched Meerkat app which lets users stream live video from a mobile device directly to Twitter, allowing other users to subscribe to and attend the live streams. However it doesn’t just broadcast video content, it also lets you have real time interaction with other users watching the stream. Imagine a marketing plan for a conference that includes distributing details in advance of how to access live video from the event for those not able to attend, thereby adding utility as well as information to the customer experience.

Lastly, whatever you do, make the experience a humanly relevant one. B2B marketing has become even more sophisticated and it has never been more important to connect with your customer in an emotionally engaging way.

As Darcey concluded, ultimately a show-stealing performance should be entertaining.