Reaching the right audience with the right event

Business is all about relationships. Many factors will influence a business decision, but ultimately the face-to-face, personalised nature of a relationship will be the key driver for success.

By Simon Coburn, General Manager Events, Prime Creative Media

With multiple media platforms necessary to reach any given audience, events can play a pivotal role in achieving that face-to-face engagement. An event can provide a highly targeted audience, and can achieve lead generation in its purest form.

A thorough understanding of the diverse nature of an industry and its audience is critical in order to deliver an event to meet the expectation, as is accessing a strong contacts database in order to effectively reach that audience. Many companies won’t be able to tick both, or either, of these boxes, so it’s all the more important to seek out strategic partnerships with organisations that can.

Which type of event is best suited to you?

1. Summits and Conferences – Do you have relevant and interesting non-advertorial content to communicate to your industry? A conference or summit format will be a great platform to utilise in order to position yourself as an industry thought leader.

2. Industry Awards – Brand alignment and grassroots support is a key driver behind sponsoring awards. Align your brand with shared industry values, such as innovation or safety, for strong trade media exposure and brand credibility.

3. Trade Shows – Most suited to showcasing a product or service on offer, where exposure to a whole industry and as many people as possible will be of value. Ensure you have the right people representing your company on the exhibition stand, and maximise your physical presence with a sophisticated and appealing visual display.

4. Bespoke events – Events can be created in any format to reach a specific audience for a specific reason. Keep in mind that the more targeted an audience needs to be for a tailored event, the smaller the attendee pool will be to draw from, therefore any expectations regarding attendance numbers should be held in line with the value of individual attendees present.

However, understanding the different types of events that can be utilised to reach your audience is only one part of the process. With an almost unlimited array of event formats to choose from, how can you ensure that you select the most effective one?

1. Consider the type of industry you operate in
Each industry is has a unique set of attributes that will dictate when its constituents will be more receptive to a particular style of event. Critically assess the makeup of the industry and consider an event that will be most compatible in terms of the capacity required to achieve engagement.

2. Think about your message and solutions. How they will be received?
What you are trying to achieve and what the industry is interested in will often dictate the format of the event. A product launch may be exciting for you, but may not capture the interest of the industry in a conference format. However, it could spark the interest at a trade show with many attendees looking for new products and ideas. Industry statistics and market trends may not be able to compete with shiny products at a trade show, but will be a key hook in a conference aimed at senior executives.

3. Identify your audience 
It’s important to align expectations of volume and value. A trade event will give you high attendee volume and therefore a larger pool to draw business leads from, while a bespoke event can give you highly targeted attendees who are, by their very attendance at the event, already expressing an interest in what you can offer. Each format has its own pros and cons and each will have a pricing model to reflect the value proposition.