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Wondering whether you should spend a good portion of your marketing budget on exhibiting at an event?
Allow us to explain why this could be the best use of your funds.
Whether you're a small or a large business, it can be hard to justify putting a significant amount of your budget towards exhibiting at an event - specifically because it can never actually guarantee a specified return on investment.
Many of us, sailing through the choppy waters of marketing budgets as the budget planner, jump ship at this point and swim towards the more stable, safer looking ground. This safe haven could be PPC campaigns via Google Adwords, paid social campaigns across Facebook or Instagram or any other platform that gives a perceived 'safe' justification in the form of likes, comments and shares.
But the one thing that makes those campaigns successful, is the same thing that makes exhibiting at an event successful: strategy.
The first step is selecting the right event for your niche.
As we, Instinct, are a Learning Recruitment Agency, we hand-pick our events around learning and digital learning. Our main event of the year, of course, is the Learning Technologies Exhibition, hosted by Closerstill Media at the ExCel London.
Each year there are 200 exhibitors, 200 seminars and over 8500 visitors from around 50 countries across the globe. Quite the playing field.
Of those 8500 visitors, many are L&D (learning and development) professionals and contractors, coincidentally, looking for new and exciting learning and development jobs across Instructional Design, Digital Learning Strategy and Learning Management. That’s where we come in.
(If you attended the event and didn’t manage to chat with us or simply couldn’t make the event but are looking for new opportunities; simply drop your CV here and we will be in touch)
Many are also there on the lookout for such talented individuals, in need of finding the perfect candidate to suit their Digital Learning needs. That’s also where we come in.
(Likewise, if you’re looking to hire for current vacancies and have requirements that need a specialists’ attention, drop your details here and one of our expert consultants will be in touch)
Decide on the budget you wish to spend on your respective event, including space, the marketing collateral and the actual stand itself.
This will depend on both the size of the event and your company and will be subject to the pricing structure of the event, typically packaged up into tiers of different floor space sizes and stand types. Determine the amount of space your business actually needs to make an impact.
I’ll let you in on a secret, it doesn’t need to be much.
Many of the big players at an event will play a game of domination and spread their Peacock feathers, which, is absolutely fine if they’ve projected a certain footfall, based on previous events and social engagement.
But if you’re jumping in for the first time, it may be best to dip your toe in the waters first. Also, ensure to actually attend one of these events before throwing down cash and taking part. It might be getting close to Easter, but don’t go throwing all of your eggs into one basket.
At the Learning Technologies 2020 this February, we saw many great exhibitions from large LMS (learning management systems) Providers such as Adobe Captivate, SAP Litmos and Moodle and it’s quite obvious that they know what they’re doing when it comes to event marketing, as do we.
We, as a self-recognised small business, opt for a much smaller stand than the aforementioned players, however, we utilise the strategy of pre-communications, strategic stand locations and enticing, interactive elements to our advantage.
This year, there was scarcely a moment where our stand wasn’t a hive of activity. This was our indication, after 7 years of exhibiting and further engraining ourselves into the world of eLearning, that it’s time to strategically upgrade.
Year-on-year we see a growth in our activity but, any event, without the right follow-up, would be a complete misuse of both time and money. Staggeringly, according to exhibition industry research, more than 50% of exhibitors don’t immediately follow up their newly generated leads after an event. This turns a warm lead cold and will leave you with little to show for your investment into event marketing.
The same can be said for any and all post-event marketing content - if it’s not acted upon strategically and swiftly, you’ll miss your golden opportunity to “strike whilst the iron is hot”. A classic saying but its relevance is one to adhere.
Exhibiting at the right event within your niche is worth its weight in gold if executed correctly and I can guarantee that after your first taste of successful follow-ups, you’ll be back for more.