Do we still need events, conferences and seminars?

Posted on Posted in Events, Marketing

Do we really still need events?

It’s an increasingly connected world we live in – or so we’re told.

YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, vlogs, blogs, podcasts, webinars, etc, etc. We could continue all day, naming the various media for communicating with other people.

A few years ago, we went to a fine dinner at a private member’s club in London, with (among others) my old boss and the head of marketing at what was then ‘Orange’, the mobile phone network. The boss was vexed: he couldn’t access the internet on his phone. The marketing director said it was unlikely to ever happen…

Things have moved on so much since 2002. We now sit at our desks and have a face to face conversation using just the internet and a phone. I’m sitting in a café writing this on an iPad using the café’s WiFi service. But I can update the same thing in the middle of nowhere – I watched the Tour de France in a camp site at the weekend. I’ve used high-speed internet in the tranquility of the mountains of Andalucia.

So why do people still insist on organising seminars in venues worldwide?

Because, as we all know, people buy from people – or so we’re told. And I tend to agree. Also, events perform so many vital business functions:

  • You can develop business with existing clients.
  • You can meet new clients.
  • Events can provide crucial CPD and educational services to clients and prospects.
  • You can develop that all-important PR and reputation.
  • Every good event includes marketing to consolidate your ‘brand’.
  • You can even fulfil your business’s CSR requirements.
Event photo
Someone else’s event I attended recently!

I’m a firm believer that events are very much an important part, not just of a professional services business plan, but also an important part of everyone’s BD and CPD life. Roger Knowles was once asked the secret of his not inconsiderable business success. He replied simply, “seminars!”.

I attend other people’s events as much as possible – where they let me. And I certainly encourage other people to attend mine. Because you never know when people might appreciate a connection they made at an event you organised – even (or particularly?) if that connection isn’t with you.

What’s more, there are potential clients you’ve been trying to reach for years who wouldn’t let you through the door. They were busy or not interested perhaps, or thought you were too expensive. Those potential clients will likely be happier to spend a few quid on your event, at which point you can demonstrate not only that you’re not the ogre they thought you were, but that you are actually quite knowledgeable on the subject you’re discussing.

The trick, of course, is to make the event successful: get the right people in to hear you (and whoever joins you) speak, and ensure you provide value. There are so many different elements that go to make up a successful event, or indeed marketing campaign.

Here are a few tips, the marketers among you might recognise the theme

  • Product: Get the right speaker or speakers – some people will come just for a speaker alone if they’re useful or relevant. And get the right subjects – choose subjects that people really want to know about, things that are timely and relevant. Which brings us to…
  • Place: Get the right time and place – no point in holding a talk about adjudication in the desert of Saudi Arabia – statutory adjudication’s not coming anytime soon to KSA. But holding a similar event in Canada this year might be prudent. And get the venue right, choose a good quality venue with all the right facilities.
  • Price: The most difficult element of all to get right in a seminar. I’ve experimented with free, small charges, big charges – and can confirm that there’s only one thing for sure – people who’ve not paid for an event won’t turn up!
  • Position: The important bit – the way you present your event and who you present it to – target the right people in the right way, and you’ll have it cracked. A colleague of mine used to have some of the most successful marketing campaigns in the business and I’m fairly certain most of that was down to who she targeted and how.

There are lots of other elements, and all kinds of tricks for ensuring a successful event, ask me about AIDA if you’re not familiar with it, but definitely don’t under-estimate the importance of meeting, interacting and working with people at a face to face event – there’s something about an event that a webinar, vlog or podcast will never be able to replace. Or so I think…

Finally – why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to come to my seminar of course!

On 28th September I’m really grateful to a team of incredible experts who have shown extraordinary kindness and will be giving up an afternoon to join me to explain to you some of the secrets of successful marketing and business development – take a look at www.limesladeconsulting.co.uk/seminar for all the details – it’s going to be a fantastic afternoon, so I hope you can join us.

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