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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Events and Magazines 

Yesterday, I flew to New York for Folio:'s Magazine Event Strategies conference. And I'm glad I did. The b2b side of the event was terrific--well thought out, good speakers and excellent moderation by Tony Silber.

While each session had great material, Tony got the best sound bites out of the "Best Practices for B-to-B Events" panel, when he rapid-fired a set of questions. The speakers were Dan Ligorner, COO of Edgell Communications, Charles Pelton, general managing partner of Modern Media and Adam Schaffer, publisher of Tradeshow Week. I've summarized their responses to a few of these questions below.

Q: What are the trends in b2b event marketing?
Ligorner: Events are the trend. Everyone's doing them.

Pelton: Attendees are signing up later and later--usually in the last three weeks.
Schaffer: VIP events are a big trend. If you can distinguish yourself as a truly VIP event, you have a winner.

Q: What's the single most important events innovation for 2007?

Ligorner: VIP programs. We ask sponsors to send us their core prospect list, and then we invite these prospects to our events, all-expenses paid.

Schaffer: The blurring of editorial/sponsorship. There's more integration of sponsors into the heart of the event.

Pelton: If you let the audience know clearly what's sponsored content and what's not, if you're honest with them, they'll engage in that content.

Q: What are the biggest opportunities for growth in b-to-b events?

Ligorner: Custom events are hottest now, but we wonder whether it's a business we want to be in. We're not sure it's sustainable year after year.

Pelton: Three months ago, I would have said custom events, but it's not as a white hot as it was at the end of 2006.

Schaffer: Private corporate events are growing very quickly. Buyer-seller events are also very hot and are commanding premium sponsor dollars.

The quote of the day came in another session. Bill Howell, vp and general manager of events for 1105 Media's Government Information Group (the former Post Newsweek Tech gang), was talking about "trade show math" and the increasing importance of auditing trade show attendance, something his FOSE show has done for the last seven years:

"When it comes to attendance, trade show people tend to multiply rather than add."


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