Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Best of . . . Q&A with BusyEvent

People ask us a lot of questions and we always publish them in our blog: www.busyevent.com/blog. The following are the top three from the last few months. Want to ask a question of your own, email it to info@busyevent.com.

John asks: How do you think text messaging could help the industry?
BusyEvent Answers: There are many services for both business and entertainment that have popped up over the past few years that are beginning to take the place of traditional websites. There are a large percentage of people who still don't use a phone with email capabilities. The moment those people leave their computer, they lose their tether to the latest info typically sent to their inbox. Some of the most important applications that will continue to evolve center on things that affect consumer's time, money, convenience and connectedness with business and family contacts. In the events industry notifications about schedule changes, special opportunities, sponsor offers and the fact that someone you plan to meet has just arrived at the lobby are just a few of the text features we're already implementing. Text to Speech is another area worth investigation as well.

Annie asks: Why do people go to conferences?
BusyEvent answers: This is a timeless question. The ebb and flow of our travel economy causes people to wonder how the conference business will survive and even thrive. One thing has not changed over the years... content is king. If an event has a combination of things that cannot be found anywhere else any other time of the year, it should continue to do well. Short change the supporters of an event in any area and it will suffer. People look for new products, great speakers with industry insight, subject matter experts, plenty of social networking and generally a location that gives them time to enjoy while sharpening the saw. Emerging technologies that keep people more connected before and after the show are the area where effort could pay off to improve this well-proven experience. When the goal is gain or strengthen client relationships, these technologies will go further to help qualify a set of timely needs. Anything that can help potential attendees, exhibitors and sponsors decide that this is the show for them will be worth the investment as the economy tightens. You will need a distinct advantage over other show properties to help people decide where to spend their limited budgets.

(Another) John asks: What's the difference between a sponsorship and a true brand partnership?
BusyEvent answers: As the economy waffles for the near future, new sponsorships will become more difficult to obtain and existing ones will fade. Brand partnership requires a good understanding of the profiles of the various users of the brand. If an event can know enough about their attendees and then deliver the right demographic audience to the brand, then there's a real reason for sponsorship (money, services, in-kind products like food/beverage/prizes). Real creativity is required to build up a brand partnership that gets a group of people really engaged in the brand. Simply placing logos on stuff isn't going to fit into shrinking marketing budgets. The emerging trend is to gather better data before, during and after the event so you have something tangible to show a brand to obtain their involvement in your event(s). We use SMS, web, variable data postcards, voice response, RFID and barcoding in concert to know as much about a group of people as we can without anyone feeling manipulated. It's a rewards-focused program where people let us know a little about their preferences and get something valuable for their time. I hope this either confirms what you were thinking or expands on a fruitful conversation to come.

Best of luck in the new year!

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