Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fixing the Problem - A Series On What's Going On & What Can Be Done

Fixing the Problem - Part 3: Where do we go next?

Over the past decade we have seen vendors and sponsors demand more and better results from the dollars they invest in events.

This is a trend that will continue to challenge event producers to become more creative in the development of sponsor and vendor packages. And even when the economic trends reverse, the new "new" will be with us from here forward.

At the root of these improvements is better information and connectivity; communicating and 'listening' rather than waiting to talk.

Sponsors who traditionally placed their brand on signage in support of the event are looking for ways to get the voice of the customer, educate customers on better use of their products, roll out new product offerings and open up a year-round channel of communication.

Vendors are looking for ways to hasten and improve the qualification-process. Who, out of the thousands of people they interact with, have been sparked with an interest in what was seen and should be followed up with, first?

And everyone would prefer to skip the production, shipping and drayage of paper brochures.
As sponsors and vendors become more selective of which shows they will support/attend, the thing that will raise one event over another, is the ability to deliver their target audience, prepped and ready to go. If event managers can know their attendees and can help them make decisions pro-actively, then the successful events will know how to offer attendees more of what they need and sponsors/vendors more of what they want.

This is not an imposition on anyone’s privacy but rather a world view of what are the most popular items being reviewed on the attendee’s personal URLs.

In Part Two we discussed how the PURL gathers what each person saw and did at an event and then makes that information available immediately and long after the event is over. Measuring the traffic to those PURLs is just one way we can know what was hot and what was not leading up to, during and following an event.
The goal of this activity is continuous improvement which raises attendance, draws better sponsorships and attracts higher-quality vendors and speakers. Measurement offers insight and tangible numbers that drive better revenues. This is an important step to increasing the health of the event industry in any economy.

As a case study, the client mentioned in Part One has offered just some of what we have outlined above and they are seeing upwards of a 40% increase in sponsorship revenue over their 2007 numbers, a 10% increase in attendance and an excitement that was unexpected but a pleasant surprise, none-the-less.

So, what's it all mean? The new lessons are the same ones we've known:
  • Seek first to understand and then be understood.
  • Content matters.
  • "Love" IS the killer app and above all else, your mother was right . . .
  • Look both ways before you cross the street.
Those 4 pearls of wisdom have always been true, and they will be as we go forward.

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