Exhibition World Issue 6 - Page 12

Stateside with Stephanie

Five tips to B2B events can adopt from B2C Events

n November 2022 , an

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Executive Round Table was sponsored and presented by MDG / Freeman / SISO at The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival . The morning sessions were Drawing Inspiration from Consumer Events and Festivals ( B2C ) to B2B events and Connecting the Dots Between B2C and B2B .
Speakers included Michelle Metter , co-owner and producer of the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival ; David Glanzer , chief communications and strategy officer , San Diego Comic Convention ( yes , THAT one !); Yinka Freeman , owner , Triple Pocket Events ; Kevin Leap , director , Fully Charged LIVE North America ; Doug Richter , founder , Meritage Entertainment ; Laurel McFarlane , CEO , McFarlane Promotions and Greg Topalian , CEO Clarion North America .
They all agreed that the focus of all events should be on the visitor experience . As Greg said : “ If you bring in the [ right ] attendees , the exhibitors and sponsors will follow .” I agree . Deliver the audience and your sponsors and exhibitors will be more than happy to pay for the access .
Here are five ( ish ) tips from the two sessions : 1 . Use the passion people in your industry have for your events . Make it enjoyable ! Re-examine every aspect of the event from your attendees ’ perspective . Is it easy to register and attend ? Is it offering fresh experiences ? Is the content new , or the same old , same old ? What do you have that can surprise and delight your audience ? a . Gather your whole team to brainstorm new ideas . Divide up into groups so there are representatives from sales , marketing , ops , customer service and management on each team . Listen to your junior members . Just because you may have tried something 10 years ago , it doesn ’ t mean it won ’ t work ( with tweaks ) now . b . Speak with your service providers . They work a lot of events and probably have suggestions you should consider . c . Go to other events that are not in your industry . Observe what they are doing and see if you can adapt some of their ideas for your own expos .
2 . Spend money to make your event experiential . In other words , the investment you make in changing things up to surprise and delight your visitors is worth the cost . Does it mean adding rides ( a la Festivalisation )? No . Lounges with free coffees or fun activations or engagements ( puppies anyone ?)
Top : Stephanie Selesnick Bottom : Executive Round Table at The San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
- yes . Inspire and manifest new ideas onto your show floors . Who knows ? Maybe if one or two resonate , they can be sponsored – if not this year , then next .
3 . Regarding sponsorships – what are the goals of your sponsors ? What do their brands want to achieve by purchasing sponsorships – and how will your event deliver it ? This means getting out of the same old , same old ( see a pattern here ?). Collaborate with your sponsors . They may have amazing ideas . Just because something hasn ’ t been done before , doesn ’ t mean it won ’ t work . It simply means it hasn ’ t been done before !
4 . ROI is no longer Return on Investment . Laurel said It means Return on Intention . Why did your visitors get up off their couches and travel to come to your event ? What are their purposes for attending ? It ’ s the same questions for sponsors and exhibitors . What can you as show management do to help deliver on those intentions ? a . This means talking to your visitors – in depth . More importantly , it also means talking to those potential visitors who don ’ t attend your event to find out why – then make the necessary changes to entice them for the next edition . It ’ s tough work , but the results are worth it .
5 . Encourage Social Sharing . Have Instagramable moments scattered throughout your show floor . Hold competitions for posts , retweets , reposts and the like . Those lounges and activation areas we referenced ? Think innovative design . Use FOMO to drive engagement and intention to visit and participate in the next edition . Business events don ’ t have to be boring . Make it fun !
As David Glanzer said : “ Make the user experience the very best that you can .” B2C events are about communities sharing a passion . So should B2B .
12 Issue 6 2022 www . exhibitionworld . co . uk