Capturing Leads – Let’s Share -How to Keep Attendees Coming Back!
On todays show host/producer Mike McAllen welcome Jon Wall Vice President of Marketing at Event Hero, co-host of the popular podcasts Marketing Over Coffee and EVENTTECH. On todays podcast John shares the importance of lead retrieval. Next we have Dana Freker Doody, from The Expo Group, Vice President of Corporate Communications shares a great segment on creating content called “Let’s Share” and finally Julius Solaris the editor of EventManagerBlog talks about “Attendee Retention” Julius is the creator of Event Planning and Event Management LinkedIn Group which has 160,000 members. Also check out Julius new venture Show Themes for your next event website.
Special thanks to Mariela McIlwraith
Links to check out from the podcast:
Eventtech Twitter chat #expochat – 3 PM est on Wednesdays
Dana Freker Doody
Twitter #ExpoChat chat Wednesdays 3pm ET
Event Planning and Event Management LinkedIn Group
Mike: Welcome back to the Meetings Podcast this is Mike McAllen from Grass Shack Events and Media and from AV for Planners, we are back from New Orleans, we were down in New Orleans and I am sure if you are a regular listener to the podcast it has been a little disarrayed because we are just doing a billion podcasts. So we did a bunch for the CIC, the Convention Industry Council which was in New Orleans and we of course have our IMEX Podcast which are gearing up and happening around the IMEX website right now, interviewing the keynotes, I have done interviewed all the keynotes so far and this morning I did James Sun who is of the apprentice fame, he was in season six and he lost in the end, I thought he should have won but he lost but he is also a crazy successful guy so you can’t feel bad for him at all. But he is going to be speaking down there so I will be interviewing them in New Orleans the CIC conclave it is for the certified, the CMP’s it is their one big show they have every year, really a great show. If you are a CMP you can go if you aren’t you can’t but it was really great, we had a booth, AV for Planners booth and the people got it like crazy. So that was exciting for Jon and I you know Jon wrote the chapter on AV, he did it with Mariela McIlwraith who was the overall author of the manual and so the 2014 manual Jon did the AV portion of it which kind of was really great we had never thought about that as such a great thing for, when he was doing it I was like common you should be working, what are you doing, but now what a great thing. So he did the chapter on AV which built trust for AV for Planners which was nice because people get why we are doing it, we are helping the industry. So that was really fun.
Along those lines it was just really great to see all the old friends we have in the industry and of course we made some new ones and of course New Orleans is quite a place to be social and we tried our best to live up to that. Like I said Mariela McIlwraith was really great, I can’t say how great she is because she is one of my favorite people to attend an event with, she would walk me around, said she is going to be my wing man and introduce me to everyone she thought I should meet for AV for planners because she uses AV for planners in her educational stuff. So it was just really cool and you know thank you Mariela McIlwraith if you are listening to this and we saw old friends like Roger Rickard, who interviewed Mary Magdalene and James Carville on stage, did a great job of that we also saw Glen Theo who is the master of ceremonies, good friend and next door to us on our booth with the IMEX booth and Miguel Ned was there and Miguel is a good friend and made some new friends, made friends you know Doug McAfee from Experient and Janet Sabastard who did a fantastic session that I went to, I only got to go to like two of the sessions it was on neuroscience for meetings and it was really interesting you know she is a very good teacher, had some great stories and if you get a chance to catch that on her web but she is probably doing it on other places, make sure you do.
So that all said we are gearing up for IMEX now, the tradeshow of the year for us, for everyone if you get a chance go to IMEX, huge show, great place. We are going to do some segments today some great segments, one of the best shows I think of segments that I think we have had in a long time, I really like it, I really like this, we have John Wall from event hero, he is new to the podcast but I am huge fan of his podcast called Marketing over Coffee, actually they had a contest and we won it was last year, AV for planners won and I got a coffee mug with AV for Planners on it which I actually have it right here, I have already drank my coffee but I keep it with me at all times. John is a really smart guy, knows his stuff, he works with a great guy John Federico, they do the event tech podcast, make sure you listen to that it is a great podcast and he is going to talk about ten tips on tradeshow lead generation. And it is perfect timing as IMEX comes up and I think it should be very interesting to hear what he has to say. I am really honored he is giving us these segments because he is a great guy.
And then next we have Dana Freker Doody from the IMEX Group who is back with an interesting take on content generation and Dana always does a great job as you know and she says, hers is titled “let’s share-it is a new event era where content creates opportunities for marketers and meeting planners to craft the experiences that endear customers and members while having their brand message blasted across social media. An event may garner 5,000 people but you could reach 5M people when event content is generated and shared”. So she has some great lengths which from it is called Pepsi get hyped for the half time video, the event marketing summit now the experiential marketing summit and let’s share by the sing, sings and those are three different links that you can get on the meetings podcast page.
Next on the show we have Julius Solaris from the event manager blog, Julius is back with his segment called “hack your event, short cut tips and tricks to make your event better”, and he of course is from The Event Manager Blog, a great blog that is probably the best one, that is probably the most well done event blog that is out there, you can check him out there. And I also wanted to say that Julius today he is going to be talking about retention, he is going to talk about tactics to increase attendee retention. And I think it is three of them and one is; to announce next year’s event at the peak of the show, two; search social media and three he is going to talk about offer online alternatives and you can read more about it on The Event Manager Blog if you want to head over there.
And at the end of the show I will actually give you how you can get hold of all three of them, they are all fantastic people, and let’s get into the show with John Wall from Event Hero, take it away John.
John: Hello Mike thanks for giving me a chance to come by and talk about lead retrieval I know this isn’t as exciting as say an LED basketball court or some of the other crazy AV kind of stuff that we read about and see but lead retrieval is critical to most large events and tradeshows and there is really nothing worse than an exhibitor yelling at you about lead retrieval and of course you have hired some 3rd party vendors so none of it really has anything to do with you except for having to take the yelling like a trooper and so we would love to help you avoid that and so there is ten things about lead retrieval going on in this space right now that I will go over and fill out the segment with.
So, the basic idea incase by some fortunate miracle for yourself you have never had to deal with lead retrieval the idea is that at larger shows and exhibitions where they have hundreds of vendors that come in that want to get leads, there is a system where they can scan badges so that they get the contact info of the people that they meet at the show making it easier for them to follow up with and this is a big deal you know large shows you could run a thousand attendees through a booth. And it is, obviously having to key those in manually. I n fact I have a great story there was one year at a company that I had done some business with I didn’t work for them but I had gone back and we had done some analytics and there was a gap, we had seen this huge show that they had spent over $100,000 on and there were no leads from, no action had come out and this was like a little bit almost a year later and come to find out a few days before the show they open up the cases and somebody had thrown all the business cards unto the bottom of the case and they never got unpacked so they just sat in there for a year. So technically the whole show was a waste and I should do a full disclaimer up front now here that I work for a company called The Event Hero in addition to doing the Marketing over Coffee Podcast and Event Hero does of course lead retrieval and a bunch of other stuff as far as integrations to registration systems and event management stuff which is why I am here because sadly I know you don’t pay huge bucks for these segments but maybe that will change in the future.
So, things to keep in mind and to look for and number one is dropping the hardware, you know it is really old school now that back in the old days you would actually rent some kind of scanning device or some kind of smart phone that like weighed five pounds and the battery lasted two hours. The latest thing and what we do with event hero is everyone can use their cell phone so you don’t have to brand hardware and guarded around and worry about it being broken, lost or stolen you just load the app onto your phone and you are done.
And so the second tip now that comes out of that when you get a system like this you want to have the ability to have everyone have the app on their phone and be able to scan. You know previously people used to pay like 300 to 500 dollars for a scanner and there was one scanner there and if you were really smart and that was an important show you would actually rent two it would cost a whole lot more now but in case one got coffee spilt on it or something just went wrong or ran out of thermal paper back in the old days you would have a second one. Well, so now with apps you don’t want to get just one app but have one scanner whatever service you get should allow you to let the whole team have it and so they can go around and even if they aren’t at your booth, if they are out at the cocktail sessions at night or another sessions they can scan badges. So you need to be able to get for the whole team for a flat rate.
Third is storing data on the cloud, of course you don’t want any of the data stored on these devices because they get dropped, spilt or just destroyed. Make sure that it is 24/7 backup and so the cloud and you can access it at any time so that you can get the job done and immediately for better shows once you get better at this you are going to want to have follow-up done even that evening. You know it is a good thing to review the leads as they come in and then that night get all the VIPs and the high potential ones and get back to the wraps and say okay, yesterday we scanned Susan Smith here and she is somebody that you need to be following up with so if you see her at the booth these are the folks that you can sell to and this is what is going to make your show worth doing.
Four, the real time alerts, better systems have this where is somebody is scanned at the booth or at the session; it can trip an email or a text message to someone so this is really important. We are for this more in the event manager side where for example your keynote speakers, you could know just at a glance if they have checked in and picked up their badge and if they are in the facility. And you can have that texted or emailed to you even if you want that kind of real time notification or for your exhibitors too. You know every show you have you know those four hyper diamond sponsors with the 80×80 booths upfront and you want to make sure you know when the VIPs from there are on the floor because they need some extra treatment to make sure that everything is right with them because if something is wrong with them it is going to be a lot more painful than anything else you have got going on at the show.
Number five is integration with the registrations system this is on the event planners side you want to make sure that you can easily grab all the data from the registration system and just spit it out as badges and everything is ready to go as far as the scanning of the badges. The mistake you can make here is that the data doesn’t import into the scanning system and there is a chance for data to get messed up or you just having to swap excel spreadsheets around that need tweaking images, nothing but recipe for headache there.
And number six are low cost, zero hassle badges you want this to be part of it, it is possible and we do this too where you have 3rd parties print the badges but the whole key here is if you have two vendors the worst thing that can happen is you get on site and you find out that the scanner is not able to read the badges because they are to glossy or they used the wrong kind of ink or there is some kind of problem and obviously that can turn your life into hell so you have to make sure that the badging is straight.
Number seven, no paperwork to get the exhibitors on board, you know when you choose a lead retrieval system for your show, you want all of your exhibitors just to be able get an email or a link to sign up, process their payment via credit card, and real time just be up and running and be able to scan badges. In fact in a better system it would be great if everybody could just scan and they could deal with payment later because we all know how this goes, you send out your show book to the person that signed the contract and is in charge, and then lo and behold it is day of the show and some marketing lucky shows up who is actually running the booth and doing everything and probably has never even seen the show book and this happens all the time. And they are going to be running around, okay how do I scan badges, what did we not do? What do I need to do? So for that person to be able to just log in, get set up and start scanning badges and then just set up so that when they want to download the badges they have to submit their payment, their credit card stuff but there is zero opportunities missed because everybody can start scanning immediately and again that is just a great way to keep exhibitors happy.
And number eight real front line vendor support, this is applicable to all software really this is nothing all shattering but you know when you’ve got a problem what you want to do before the event is you want to actually file a couple of tech questions about how things work before your event so you know that people get back to you within an hour and it is someone who can actually answer your questions you aren’t going to have to like climb up through three tiers of customer service starting in some 3rd world country and then matching up until finally you get somebody that understands the product and speaks English.
Number nine is a close loop system you know same as we talked about with registration, you want the data to be able to flow in, you also want the data to be able to flow out into your CRM system like Sales force or your email system and it doesn’t have to be real time integration but even if you having to upload a file that file needs to be formatted, right? So you just click and upload same deal again and this isn’t about spreadsheets, you don’t want to have to be adding columns and moving data and every time you move something there is a chance where you mess up your upload. You have got to have that ready to go as a close loop the data just flows right through.
And lastly is analytics that is what separates a lot of the wannabes from the real deal, to be able to have reports at the end of the show of which booths were the most successful, who got the most leads, how big their teams were, peak times of activity on the floor, all these are great proof points that you can use so that your exhibitors can go to their management, say hey, look, this is the best show because we know we captured this data over this period and if the other shows can’t show what they have done, next year when budgeting time comes around you get the business and lock it down.
So that is everything that we have got on our hot list right now for lead retrieval and thanks Mike I appreciate the chance to get to talk to everybody and we will talk to you again soon.
Dana: Content, content, content, I feel like we are realtors talking about location, location, location, because in event marketing ‘content’ is the word. This is Dana Freker Doody with the Expo Group and I wanted to talk to you today about how events are content generators. It is a new event era and in this era content creates opportunities for marketers and meeting planners to craft experiences that endear customers and members while having their brand message blustered across social media. An event may garner 5,000 people but you could reach five million when event content is generated and shared.
The event marketing summit is one such event that drove some sharing online because this podcast and its corresponding blog post on expogroup.com was based on a session I attended there. It was presented by Josh Nafman who is The Senior Digital Brand Manager at Pepsi and his agency partner Matt Statman CEO and Creative Director of Motive. The two of them shared some tips for using events actually creating events that could be content generators. They presented a case study of a special event Pepsi created to promote their sponsorship of a super bowl half time special. The content generated from that event is on the link on the Meetings Podcast website where you can see on you tube that they have almost 1Million views, which doesn’t even begin to count the mentions and shares on facebook, twitter and the like.
Statman ever the Creative Director encouraged all of us at the summit to be wide open in our thinking about what could happen with content and what we could do. He says ‘convergence of these two worlds is the next wave of experiential marketing. Why should we care as meeting planners and conference planners? Because experiential marketing is just that it is about experiences and that is exactly what all of us professionals in this community are creating’. If you do click through to the video you will see that Stedman took a very different look and feel for the content generated by this event that Pepsi did. He had that idea from the very beginning that content drove the entire look and feel at what was happening in the event. My notes might provide some insight to you on how events are content generators and I will run through them now.
One, create the story ark, story board your event ahead of time we have had a lot more about this idea, it is something we do at Expo Group to help clients get on track with what they want attendees to experience. It is obviously something that our interactive marketing manager Todd Carruth does constantly or putting together marketing materials and especially videos. So you want to have that story ark, you want a story board your event, have the characters, what are the ups and downs, when do they take a rest, when do you really want their energy at its peak? Identify who those characters are and how they are going to interact with your material at the event. When you have identified those characters, give them some characteristics that might apply to your target market. Always be organic and authentic, this is challenging because your events have to be structured, they have to be on a time line but you need flexibility to create great content. So work with your team, work with your vendors on how you are going to build the flexibility into events. We have heard a lot about wide space in our events, this is the kind of thing that I am referring to that kind of free form experience that attendees can have with each other that you have story boarded out but you aren’t specifically controlling directly what is happening.
Another great point Stedman made about creative design and story boarding events is to make the brand a facilitator of the story. Not just this overarching narrator but actually a player or a character in the event that people can interact with.
Logistically there is a couple of points that Nafman from Pepsi and Stedman from Motive went through, first is to align the content and event production visions. A lot of challenges arose in this case study between the different types of people who are brought together to work on this kind of event, an event that is specifically intended to generate content. Our event producers are now being challenged to be content generators and like I mentioned before our need to stick with those timelines can sometimes be in battle with our need to have flexibility and go with the flow.
Related to that flexibility and something that can help your entire team is to scout beyond the event, look at every location, look at every spot in the convention center if that is where your conference is and really find out what could happen there, envision scenarios where attendees can interact with each other and where different characters that you have story boarded out might be more at home. Think about the space, the furniture, and where the rooms are in relation to everything else. Make sure that is all included in your story board.
When you do story board your event also be story boarding specific pieces of content, think ahead of time about what you would like to create from the event and work with your production team on what those pieces of content might be that will be shared online by your attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and even your own organization. Always remember that when you are throwing an event nowadays it isn’t happening in a vacuum, people are texting, tweeting, posting photos, able to capture video, your attendees or exhibitors or sponsors, everybody, we have all become media, we are all capturing stories and sending them out.
So when you have a story board for your event, and you create points within your event where you offer content that can be shared, I don’t want to encourage you to be controlling the message but you certainly can affect the message that is sent when you yourself are using your event as a content generator. And not just reaching the 5,000 face to face attendees, but also those 5 Million that you can be in front of when people are sharing from your event.
Julius: Hi everyone and welcome to my segment called “hark your event shortcuts, tips and tricks to make your event planning easier”. My name is Julius Solaris and I am The Editor In Chief of eventmanagerblog.com. Today I am here to talk about attendees’ retention. While our favorite sport as event managers is to pour hours and dollars into gaining new customers we tend to forget about our existing customers and there is a study from the Harvard business review that says that actually, if you increase retention rate by 5% you could increase your profits in the region of 25%-90% that massive.
So, if you are thinking about your next marketing plan you should take care of your existing attendees. And the problem with attention to your attendee retention rate is that most of the device out there is kind of not targeted to the event especially because there are different phases in the events and different dynamics. So I believe we should you know if you have to think that there is no real, quick fix to this and you know your long term strategy should be there I mean people won’t come back if your event sucks really, that is what it is. So obviously taking care of the basic and making sure that everything is planned perfectly is the first step obviously no tactics can replace successful events strategy.
But there are things that you can do if your event is great but you see that the retention rates aren’t so wide. So, let’s talk about the different stages of the event, I will outline three tactics for you to use, there is an article linked in the description of this podcast that has a link to twenty more on eventmanagerblog.com. So let’s talk about during the event, so what you can do during the event to actually make sure that the attendees come back.
One of the most recurring mistakes I see when I attend conferences or events in general is that the announcement of next year’s event is either not done at all or it is done at the very end of the event. Now this is a huge missed opportunity because you want to make sure that the announcement goes out at the peak of your event, whatever that is, it could be a keynote speech, it could be top performance but yeah it has to be when the room is full you can’t afford to do it while half of the room has left. Really it shows confidence, it shows you are doing the right job; it makes people change their mind about their actual experience or what they are experiencing right now. So very, very, very important bear that in mind.
Let’s talk shortly after the event, what happens? I believe one of the most successful tactics on top of saying you know getting your staff to bring down the information they collected and the feedback in general is to actually search social media for feedback about your event. I mean if you have a listening sentiment in place you already know where to find the feedback, and you know I hear a lot of people complaining that feedback forms are never filled in, I believe that if you actually concentrate and have a social media strategy in place, feedback will come to you eventually whatever that is, positive or negative. And acting on negative feedback is what actually can make a difference for next year’s events showing the attendees that you have learnt your mistake from your mistakes and that you took action upon it in your marketing is going to show them that you care essentially about their feedback and it is going to give them motivation to come back.
Another interesting one is long term after your event is over, so you are planning next year’s event and you changed the venue of your event I mean that happens if you have a recurring event, annual event, whatever that is. It could be that you changed venue I mean it is totally acceptable probably because you want to bring the fresh element into the event and you want to sort of surprise your attendees in a sense. So, one of the top reasons has been listed actually by reports that when attendees don’t come back is because you know the new venue, the new location is out of reach. So while it made sense to come the first year, it doesn’t make sense anymore probably because it is somewhere else so you get the picture. So, in this case my advice would be to offer an online alternative which obviously can be priced, it doesn’t have to be priced as much as the live experience I think, never devalue your life experience but it can be charged and it can be a value to you because you keep those attendees closer to you and you make sure that you have a relationship going on until next year when you probably are going to go back to your original venue. So, you have to keep that relationship going and that is super important.
So these are my three tips, it isn’t something that you will apply and it will immediately work, this goes into your event marketing, you have to make sure that you have worked out your strategy correctly, your planning, your concept, your production, your implementation and all details are taken care of. But you know what, 95% increase in profits, I am sure you are going to have a read at that this article and you are going to put some add into this. So, until the next one thank you very much it has been a pleasure once again to be on the meetings podcast and bye, bye.
Mike: So, thank you very much Julius I really appreciate your segment and of course the others, thank you for listening to the meetings podcast I hope if anyone is down in Las Vegas in October for IMEX that they connect, love, love, love to connect with anyone who is listening or anyone who wants just to get together, love to get together. I want to thank our sponsor the IMEX group of course they are the ones that makes this possible, and they make a lot of things happen for a lot of people.
I want to thank our segment producers, I want to thank John Wall for a great segment, he is from Event Hero, go ahead and check out eventhero.io, he is also on twitter as @johnjwall and I am going to read a little bit about John too because he does some cool stuff he speaks and writes and practices at the intersection of marketing, sales and technology. As I said before, he is a producer of marketing over coffee a weekly audio program that discusses marketing and technology; I have learnt a tone from them, him and his co-host Chris Pen. Also make sure you check out their podcast Event Hero Podcast which I love, it is called the Event Tech Podcast and his crazy fun co-host John Federico who does a lot of the interviews there, he is really a great guy. John Wall has been profiled by Forbes, CBS Evening News, The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, DMM News and the Yahoo Year in Review. John is the Vice President of Marketing at Event Hero. So thank you John, that is really great. He also runs a twitter chat if you want to get involved with the event tech twitter chat it is on Thursdays at 5PM Eastern Time. I have been on that very cool, thank you John again. John also sent me another segment which I am looking forward to putting up I already listened to it, really good stuff about booths. Also we want to thank Dana Freker Doody, Dana is awesome, always awesome, Dana is from the Expo Group, Dana is a 13 year veteran of the Expo Group which is a general services contractor and Exhibit House and the industry to which she brings strong service background from her days at Disney Land and a communications background forged in the newspaper industry. Her Bachelor of Arts is in Journalism and in History and was earned at Southern Methodist University. She is a mom to a ten year old sports nerd and Dana enjoys cheering at whatever season and supports charities in her local community. Dana is often heard speaking at industry conferences and meetings and otherwise questioning the status quo of her industry. You can email at the expo group at ddoody, she is the expogroup on twitter and she also does a twitter chat which is fun to go on it is called the expo chat and that is on Wednesdays at three. I love Dana; she is one of the most fantastic people on the world and thank you very much Dana for being on and please support Dana and The Expo Group. Also I want to thank my European friend Julius Solaris from the event manager blog, Julius is really clever guy, I am amazed at what he has done with that event manager blog and all the things around it. Julius is the editor of the event manager blog, he started it in 2007, it is a popular blog worldwide for event professionals covering topics such as event planning, social media and events, event technology, event trends, event inspiration but also destination manager marketing and meeting planning. He also does some very cool e-books which you can get right off the site one is called the event app bible and the other one is the good event registration guide. More than 15,000 readers have downloaded the e-book in less than six months which is very cool, he also is very big in Linked In, in 2008 he started the event planning and event management linked in group, a few years later with more than 160,000 members a team of twelve moderators, it has become the de facto largest gathering event professionals online. So Julius and I were talking earlier today and you also should know he has a new website called show themes and it is the first premier word press theme show for event and event professionals. A sharp with word press themes made just for events, they were born because it doesn’t make sense to pay thousands of dollars for a crappy website. They design beautiful themes that event professionals love with 2500 customers around the world they have built functionality, they have set functionality specifically for events. So they have been running it for a while I think on the event manager blog but they have just rolled it out into its own entity. It does multiple event management, event schedule attracts concurrent sessions, multiple venues, possible layout, it does a lot of stuff among other stuff but it is pretty cool, check it out at showthemes.com and it does a tone of features, it looks like it does all kinds of stuff so it is very cool, I am going to go over there too and check it out.
Thank you very much for listening, if you made it this far it is about 35 minutes, we have done a great job putting it together if I do say so myself, I am going to be throwing a lot more IMEX podcast down the feed for you to enjoy and I really hope to see you in Las Vegas and if you are coming down please contact me, stop by the AV for Planners booth I will be there, Jon will be there, Shinell will be there probably doing interviews for us and I would love to hear from you and you can always email me at [email protected], you can call me on my cell phone, 925-699-3190, give me a call, you can find me on Skype it is Mike McAllen I am in the San Francisco Bay Area so just click on I would love to talk to everybody, find out what they think about the show and just if you want to talk, if you want to share, get back to me. And so thank you so much again to our sponsors and to our great segment producers I will see you next time, I hope to see you in Vegas but I might just see you in your ear buds, so bye, bye.