No matter how distinct your business niche is, there will undoubtedly be a conference or exhibition that matches your interests or market. These events take place across the globe, with popular destinations including Brussels, Lisbon, Milan and Barcelona. For marketers, some of the biggest names in the conference calendar for 2019 include SearchLove held in San Diego, the Hypergrowth event in London and Affiliate World Europe, in Barcelona.
Acknowledging the costs associated with attending a showcase or conference is vital; any expense needs to show some sort of return. Let’s take a look at some of the key aspects that make industry events so useful to businesses.
Unlimited networking opportunities
A conference event allows marketers to meet others in their sector, sharing ideas with other industry professionals. The digital age is a wonderful thing for businesses, but it does have its drawbacks. For example, while an email might be quick and convenient, it’s undoubtedly impersonal. Plus, people are flooded with emails every single day; it’s difficult to stand out and convince the reader to give them your attention.
In this sense, it’s difficult for the digital space to compete with the direct nature of a face-to-face conversation. In fact, one study shows that a face-to-face request is 34 times more successful than an email. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, saw 45 participants each asking 10 strangers (for a total of 450 strangers) to fill in a quick survey. All the participants were given the same script, but half were told to request via email, and the other half were told to request face-to-face.
Although the participants were confident that their email requests would emerge victorious, the face-to-face requests proved to be 34 times more successful. The study goes on to suggest the reason for this is rooted in a failure to realize that receiving an email is often met with suspicion, especially if it is out of the blue and asking the recipient to click a link; they cannot “see” what they are being asked to do yet. Face-to-face, the person can obviously see the survey with no risk.
While web conferences have become more popular in recent years, many businesses still choose to emphasize the value of face-to-face meetings. There are studies which show that despite seeing someone’s face in a video conference, something is still lost in translation when it comes to reading a person’s face in this way. One study showed a brainstorming session done face-to-face, over the phone, and with video chat — the face-to-face session produced more creative ideas in the end, as well as 30% more ideas than the video chat session. As such, 87% of people surveyed by Verizon noted a preference for face-to-face meetings. Its also important that conferences provide the right setting for networking. Wyboston Lakes, who provide conference centres in Milton Keyes, state that ‘quality comfort makes yet another PowerPoint presentation far better.’
The benefit of brand awareness
Any marketer will know that being ‘brand aware’ is inherent to success. Similar to face-to-face meetings, seeing a brand image on a printed advert has been proven to be far more effective than a digital counterpart. In fact, one study exposed participants to a printed advert and a digital advert, and marked the results against nine attributes:
- Attention — this attribute measured a customer’s focused attention for a period of time. Digital performed better here.
- Review time — this attribute measured how much time a customer spent with the advert. Print performed better here.
- Engagement — this attribute measured the amount of information the customer processed and absorbed. Both print and digital tied for this attribute.
- Stimulation — this attribute measured the emotional reaction to an advert. Print performed better here.
- Memory Retrieval Accuracy — this attribute measured accurate recall of the advert’s source and content. Both print and digital tied here.
- Memory Speed and Confidence — this attribute measured how quickly and confidently a customer recalled an advert’s source and content. Print performed better here.
- Purchase and Willingness to Pay — this attribute measured both whether a customer would buy the product, and how much they would pay. Print and digital tied here.
- Desirability — this attribute measured the subconscious desire for the advertised product or service. Print performed better here.
- Valuation — this attribute measured the subconscious value a customer put on the advertised product or service. Print performed better here.
Implement these attributes into a conference setting. Having a stand at a trade show or event with printed media available in a banner or as flyers will take advantage of an increase in customer review time, emotional response, recollection of your brand, and your product or service’s desirability. Larger corporates can benefit a lot from having this awareness, as an industry event distils knowledge in a practical way for employees at all levels. Similarly, while attending an industry event, handing out business cards or flyers for your own business will prove a much more effective method of networking and brand building.
For marketers in all parts of the world, distributing knowledge and gaining new insights into the sector is invaluable, and attending conferences can be one of the best ways to stay current in an ever-evolving industry. Networking in person at such events simply provides so many valuable connection opportunities that simply can’t be gained by other means.