How Events Fuel the Content Marketing Fire

December 14, 2015

how events fuel the content marketing fire

Quick, guess what B2B content marketers named as the most effective content marketing tactic?

OK, the headline probably gave it away, but a whopping seventy-five percent of B2B content marketers rated in-person events as most effective, over white papers, newsletters and blogs.

That’s according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research report, “B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America.”

2015-14-October-Shaio-Image1

From: B2B Content Marketing – 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America slideshare

After in-person events, the marketers named webinars (66 percent) and case studies (65 percent) as most effective.

Why are events so effective for content marketing? Because they’re structured as a time-bound, content-producing machine: keynotes, panel discussions, training sessions and presentations. All involving people with a shared purpose and shared interests. How could you NOT create interesting content from events?

According to Monina Wagner (@MoninaW), community manager at Content Marketing Institute (CMI), “The key to leveraging in-person events for content marketing is knowing where to unearth ideas.”

Let’s consider five ways you can leverage events to unearth content ideas.

1. Event as a Listening Device

As content marketers, our existence is tied to our target audience. Picking the right events means finding those where we’re surrounded by that audience.

You can learn about your audience via Google Analytics, keyword research and social media listening, but there’s nothing quite like looking them in the eye and speaking to them. You’ll gain an appreciation for their perspectives and challenges in a way that metrics like bounce rate and time on page can’t deliver.

According to CMI’s Wagner, “Events provide an opportunity for an organization to see in real-time what topics resonate with its target audience.”

I want to adjust my own mindset to place a higher importance on listening at events. If I don’t produce a single piece of content from an event, but spent hours talking to my target audience, then I’ll have gained valuable insights.

“Live events give you an opportunity to really hear from your audience. Listening to their questions and challenges and then asking some good follow-up questions will often expose areas where you can fill an important content gap,” said Scott Ingram (@ScottIngram), strategic account executive at Certain.

2. Inspiration for Writing

I love to write. Give me a topic and I’ll dive right in. My challenge is finding things to write about. I prefer to cover a unique topic or delve into a distinct angle. That limits my choices. Sometimes, a comment that I hear at an event will inspire an entire post or article.

My prior CMSWire piece on infographics was inspired by a fellow content marketer. She made a comment about infographics at a Silicon Valley Content Marketing Meetup. On another occasion, I attended a meeting of customer experience professionals. A comment made during a panel discussion inspired me to write about spending more time with customers.

3. Write About the Event Itself

Your target audience is at the event. Others couldn’t make it. If you produce content about the event, both sets of people will be interested.

Last year, I attended Marketo’s annual customer Summit. Because my target audience attends that event, I published a blog post about it, which included six takeaways. Note: Hillary Clinton spoke at the event. One of my takeaways was that she’d run in 2016 (I was right).

For people who could not attend in person, sourcing footage from the event can be an attention grabber. According to Ingram, “Your people are there. What a great time and place to grab some great audio and video content that can be repurposed across multiple channels.”

4. Inform Future Content with Audience Questions

Good content marketing serves to answer questions faced by your target audience. Events are a great place to hear those questions get asked: during technical sessions, breakout sessions, presentations, panel discussions and more.

Write down all of the questions you hear. Next, jot down the answers to the questions. When you return to the office, catalog the questions into topic categories. Determine whether your in-house experts can provide answers that go above and beyond those provided at the event. If they can, you have a nice set of topics for blog posts, webinars, videos, e-books and more.

5. Report on Expert Insights

This is where content marketing meets influencer marketing. All events bring together subject matter experts who are influential in their industry. Put on your reporter hat to write articles about what the experts spoke about.

Recently, I attended a Social Media Club event. An expert panel spoke about social media marketing. The panel shared a number of interesting examples and case studies. The next day, I published a blog post with my takeaways from the panel.

Some of the panel participants saw my post and shared it to their social networks. When you write about someone’s presentation or talk, they’re inclined to share. So reporting on expert insights kills two birds with one stone: you develop content for your target audience, while having the experts share the content on your behalf.

Time to fill up my calendar with meetups, events and conferences. Not only will I hear interesting presentations and meet interesting people, but I’ll have a fresh set of ideas and topics. Given that 75 percent of B2B content marketers find this tactic effective, I’ll see you there. Can we do a short video together?

Notes About this Post

Image adapted from CommScope’s photo on flickr.

This post was originally published at CMSWire.

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A New Way to Follow Up with Attendees after Events

July 6, 2013

The New Way

Photo credit: Flickr user bernatcg via photopin cc

Introduction

Recently, I attended a virtual event. The event had a large number of sessions and virtual booths (exhibitors). Due to a number of meetings I had scheduled that day, I couldn’t stay too long. I attended one session and visited a few booths to see what was going on.

The Current Way

A day after the event, I received an email from the event organizer. They thanked me for attending and invited me to log back in to view all of the sessions on-demand. So far, so good.

And then it started. Over the next two weeks, I received emails from exhibitor after exhibitor. I recalled visiting some of the exhibitors’ booths. For others emailing me, I had no idea they were even part of the show.

The New Way

I don’t like the current way. It results in too many emails, most of which aren’t relevant to me. So here’s the new way.

Warning: this takes extra work on the part of the event organizer. But in the end, I think everyone wins.

1) An exhibitor can only email an attendee when the attendee requests it, on the event website.

2) All post-event emails come from the event organizer (only).

3) The event organizer becomes an Editor of sorts, assembling emails that pair vendor-neutral content (the on-demand sessions) adjacent to vendor information (product listings that relate to a session).

4) Continuing the Editor role, the event organizer builds sections of the event website (or, the virtual event environment itself) segmented by “solution type.” As attendees view on-demand sessions, they’re able to view lists of vendors within each solution type.

5) In this way, it’s the event organizer who’s helping move attendees along the sales cycle!

Benefits of The New Way

More Credible Emails

In The New Way, the emails come from a credible source. I attended the event, so I’m likely to consider the event organizer credible. An exhibitor I never heard of that’s decided to start emailing me? Not so credible.

Better Email Management

We receive far too much email

Photo credit: Flickr user deltaMike via photopin cc

The New Way results in far less emails. By centralizing the sending from a single source, attendees have one opt-out to manage, rather than 5, 10 or 15 opt-outs from all the exhibitors. With a single opt-out, the stakes are also raised for the event organizer.

More Effective Emails

Today’s approach (from exhibitors) amounts to a shot in the dark. The recipe for the email is:

You attended event X. I sell a product, Y that has some relation to X. Want to buy?

With The New Way, the emails focus on the content of the event and attendees are invited to self-select their follow-up paths. They do so based on the sessions they view, the pages they visit and the requests they submit for more information.

More Qualified Leads

The New Way can invert the process: instead of exhibitors pursuing attendees, the attendees can be the ones asking for appointments with the exhibitors. It’s the job of the event organizer to facilitate this match-making: NOT to simply hand over lists of email addresses to exhibitors.

For bonus points: event organizers can create multiple “email tracks” (by topic) and invite attendees to select the track(s) most relevant to them. Combine this with email analytics and marketing automation to tailor subsequent content down to an individual basis.

Conclusion

It’s up to you, event organizers. By adopting The New Way, you can make your attendees much happier. And if done right, you can enable your exhibitors to achieve higher ROI than they’re getting today. Let’s leave the shot in the dark emails to those selling snake oil.


Why Mobile + Big Data = The Future of Events

May 11, 2013

Mobile + Big Data = Future of Events

Introduction

Lindsey Rosenthal (@eventsforgood) and Liz King (@lizkingevents) host a fabulous online radio show called Event Alley Show. On a recent episode, Lindsey and Liz interviewed Joe English about the future of events. Joe is Creative Director, Intel Developer Forums (at Intel). I was captivated by Joe’s take on the future of events:

The future is about contextual tools that bring information sources together about the audience.

When I ponder the future of events, I tend to jump directly to mobile apps, location awareness and other features tied to the smartphone. Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that mobility is a feature: part of a larger picture. And the larger picture is about the impact that events can make. In other words, what Joe said (above).

The mobile technologies of today will morph into new forms (of technology) tomorrow. So technology is the tool that facilitates context about the audience. And the better events can deliver “attendee intelligence” to sponsors, the more effective sponsorships will be.

Let’s take a closer look.

Step 1: Mobile-enable Event Attendees

The Double Dutch mobile event app

Image via Double Dutch.

Historically, events have been an inefficient medium, as far as data capture goes. Think about all of the “micro transactions” that occur within an event and how we’ve existed all these years without capturing them. Baby steps were made with post-event web surveys, RFID and badge scans, but the game changer has been mobile apps.

So step 1 in the future of events is already here. Event planners can choose from a wealth of mobile event apps. Michelle Bruno published an excellent overview of the mobile app vendors at Event Tech Brief.

Mobile event apps provide a personal assistant to help event attendees find the right content, meet the right people and generally get the most out of their experience. Meanwhile, all of the activity enabled by the app creates a stream of data that can turn into actionable intelligence when aggregated and interpreted.

Step 2: Aggregate Data Sources into a Common Repository

Image via Grzegorz Łobiński on flickr.

There’s an opportunity for a new player to emerge in Step 2. And that’s a vendor-neutral “Switzerland,” who builds interfaces for the industry’s vendors to exchange data (from the vendor’s applications into Switzerland). Here are just some of the many data sources that exist at an event:

  1. Mobile event apps.
  2. Registration.
  3. Online/hybrid events platforms.
  4. Badge scanners.
  5. Twitter.
  6. Survey systems.
  7. Photo sharing services.
  8. Third party location apps (e.g. Foursquare).
  9. Other social network apps.

The role of Switzerland is to combine proprietary data (from vendor applications) with publicly available data (e.g. public check-ins, tweets and other social streams) into a common data repository. From here, the next step kicks in.

Step 3: Apply Big Data to Deliver Attendee Intelligence.

We now apply Big Data technology against this enormous pool of event-specific data. Let’s return to the vision of Joe English: “contextual tools that bring information sources together about the audience.” Let’s consider a few applications of this.

An eHarmony for Events

Photo source: User VideoVillain on flickr.

Amazon makes awesome product recommendations for you because it’s gotten to know you (via your mouse clicks) and it compares your “profile” to what similarly profiled people have purchased. Via our new data repository, we’ve now collected a wealth of event data.

So now we can apply some science (similar to what eHarmony does to pair couples) to pair attendees to attendees and sponsors to attendees. As an attendee, wouldn’t it be neat for Big Data to tell you, “here are the three sponsors you should go visit today.”

Intelligence to Make Sponsors Smarter

Imagine mining the Big Data repository to provide aggregated intelligence profiles to sponsors. Activity data could be sliced and diced across numerous dimensions, including topic and frequency.

For instance, at a healthcare event, the analysis identifies the particular healthcare sub-topics that are receiving the most interest. Throw in a little sentiment analysis on top of this (e.g. from profiling public data and event-specific chatter) and you have some interesting possibilities.

With this sort of data crunching, attendee intelligence could tell sponsors:

  1. The specific sub-topics to focus on.
  2. The probability that particular profiles of attendees will engage with you.
  3. Whether attendee sentiment positive, negative or neutral about your company.

While this technology won’t deliver more visitors to your booth, the intelligence gained can allow you to adjust tactics “on the fly,” resulting in a more organic uptick in attendee engagement with you.

Intelligence for The Event Planner

By aggregating activity and engagement data (from attendees) and marrying that with sentiment analysis, event planners can infer attendee satisfaction. The thinking goes: the more engaged and active you were, the more you enjoyed the event.

Throw in the sentiment analysis and you can validate this. So you’d now have this option: instead of surveying attendees about your event, you can use Big Data to give you the answer implicitly.

Conclusion

So that’s my take on how technology can be applied to generate the contextual tools needed for attendee intelligence. I’d like to thank Lindsey, Liz and Joe for inspiring this post!


Crazy Idea: Let Attendees Define Your Event’s Sponsorship Packages

March 11, 2013

Let attendees define your event's sponsorship packages

Introduction

Combined with attendance fees (i.e. ticketing), event sponsorships are the economic fuel behind meetings, events and conferences. In a post titled “Questioning the Effectiveness of Conference Sponsorships,” Sean McGinnis (@seanmcginnis) raised an interesting question.

For McGinnis, conferences that charge for admission and sell sponsorships (at the same time) put attendees in the awkward position of being (a) a customer (of the conference) and (b) a product (for sponsors).

My solution? Let attendees define the event’s sponsorship packages.

The Role of Sponsors

Image source: User Phillie Casablanca on flickr.

McGinnis notes that in his 312 Digital business, his goal is to deliver digital marketing conferences without sponsorship. And this model is fine: the mission of your conference is to educate marketers and you can deliver on that mission, soup to nuts.

There are larger conferences and trade shows, however, whose objective is to bring together entire industries. These tend to be run by media companies and associations. Traditionally, sponsors have received a bad rap in these sorts of events.

Most attendees think of sponsors as the people who give out schwag and spend the event pitching their product. Sponsors can (and should) play a much more meaningful role. Consider industries such as technology, healthcare and finance and you quickly realize that sponsors provide the products and services the industry uses.

Sponsors, and by extension, the customers who purchase and implement the sponsors’ products, actually define some industries. The customers, after all, are the same people who attend these events.

Sponsors and The Information Ecosystem

I consider events and conferences an “information ecosystem,” with sponsors as an integral part of that ecosystem. Too often in events, there’s a wall: a separation of church and state between “organic” content and sponsor content.

Look no further than the booth. By definition, the partitions that designate the beginning and end of a booth tell us that “inside these partitions is where you engage with this sponsor.” To me, that’s unnatural. To create the most useful information ecosystem, we should get rid of booths and embed sponsor “education” (content) more naturally throughout the event.

Attendee-Driven Sponsorships: The Benefits

Image source: User Martina Photography on flickr.

Let attendees define your sponsorship packages. You’ll have final say, of course, but attendees define a set of packages from which you choose. Benefits will follow.

It puts attendees in charge.

By handing over a portion of the event planning, you give attendees more “buy in.” In addition, attendees will naturally propose sponsor interactions and programs that place the focus on the attendee experience (where it rightfully belongs). The result is a better event.

It increases engagement with sponsors.

Sponsors will see increased engagement with attendees, because both parties are engaged in activities defined by the attendees. When you allow attendees to determine the packages and they’ve “bought in” to shaping the event itself, all parties win: attendees, sponsors and event organizers (you).

How to Solicit Input from Your Attendees

First, you’ll need to define a basis for your conversations with attendees. Perhaps that’s last year’s sponsorship packages. Or, it’s a set of proposed packages that you’re considering for this year. Some ideas (and affordable tools) to solicit the input:

  1. Regular Google+ Hangouts, hosted by your staff.
  2. Wiki pages (PBworks is an option – and it’s free) that attendees can use to document their ideas.
  3. A tumblr microblog – publish proposed packages and allow attendees to “like” and comment on them.
  4. Create a public document on Google Docs and allow attendees to provide comments there.
  5. Host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit (if your target audience is active there).

Brainstorming Sponsorship Concepts

If I were asked to develop sponsorship packages for an event or conference I planned to attend, here are some concepts I’d suggest:

  1. Eliminate booths.
  2. Use game mechanics to award sponsors. Instead of “Top Chef,” you’d award a “Top Sponsor.”
  3. Attendees determine the game mechanics parameters.
  4. Ask attendees (in advance) for their top business challenges and make sponsors responsible for addressing them.
  5. Have attendees define the sponsor’s “function” they wish to engage with (e.g. Engineering, Executive, Sales, Marketing, etc.)
  6. Implement Donna Kastner’s suggestion on a 5 Smart Ways Theater, but allow sponsors to provide the presentations. Disallow sponsors from mentioning any of their products.
  7. Give attendees a limited number of “tickets” to schedule short appointments with sponsors. Learned a lot from a sponsor’s “5 Ways” talk and want to chat with them? Use one of your tickets. The relative scarcity of tickets will create higher quality interactions between attendees and sponsors.

Potential Roadblocks to Adoption

Image source: User Zahlm on flickr.

Having laid out a framework for how this all might work, I realize that it’s far from easy. Let’s consider a few roadblocks for making this happen.

Wanted: A Passionate and Active Attendee Base

Attendees may be passionate about your event. They look forward to it all year long. But that doesn’t mean they’re interested in taking action above and beyond the usual call of duty. Only highly passionate and active attendees will have the desire and energy to roll up their sleeves and define your event’s sponsorship packages.

Taking Risks

Let’s face it: this is an “outside the box” concept. Event organizers and sponsors like to mitigate risk, rather than increase it. In many cases, next year’s event doesn’t happen if the sponsors from this year’s event aren’t happy (i.e. don’t renew). Perhaps a phased approach is necessary. In year one, have attendees develop a single sponsorship package and see how that goes.

Conclusion

We like to think that “the attendee always comes first,” but sometimes economic realities get in the way of such pure and noble goals.

With the sponsorships you sell, sponsors will walk the fine line between “providing useful information” and “let me sell you my product.” Straying too far to the right (selling) leaves attendees with a bad taste in their mouths.

By providing attendees with an opportunity to define desired sponsor interactions, you’re truly “putting attendees first.” And, you may find that the quality of the resulting interactions make your sponsors more satisfied than ever.


Design Thinking for Meetings and Events

February 11, 2013

David Kelley speaks about design thinking on 60 Minutes

Introduction

Recently, I watched a 60 Minutes episode featuring David Kelley. Mr. Kelley is the founder and chairman of the global design consultancy IDEO and professor (and founder) of Stanford’s d.school.

Kelley is a leading thinker on “design thinking,” a methodology for designing products and procedures via empathy, diversity, collaboration and iteration. The program highlights many of Kelley’s (and his firm’s) great product achievements, including the design of the first mouse for Steve Jobs at Apple.

Design Thinking for Events

In a Harvard Business Review piece on design thinking, IDEO’s CEO (Tim Brown) writes:

“As more of our basic needs are met, we increasingly expect sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful … design thinking is the tool for imagining these experiences as well as giving them a desirable form.”

I suppose this blog posting was foretold by Mr. Brown: let’s use design thinking to create “sophisticated experiences that are emotionally satisfying and meaningful”!

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking about design thinking for events:

Overview: Design Thinking

Design thinking components

Image source: SAP

The design thinking process can be broken down into three components: inspiration, ideation and implementation. To quote a design thinking article co-authored by Mr. Brown:

  1. Inspiration: “Think of inspiration as the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions.”
  2. Ideation: “Ideation as the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas.”
  3. Implementation: “Implementation as the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.”

Here are some useful resources that provide overviews on the design thinking methodology:

  1. Stanford d.school’s crash course on design thinking
  2. An Introduction to Design Thinking from SAP
  3. From the Emergent By Design blog: What Is Design Thinking, Really?

Incorporating Design Thinking into Meetings and Events

I’ve taken a look at the tenets and methodologies of design thinking and considered how they could be applied to meetings and events. Let’s consider some.

Attend Your Own Event (Empathy)

Meeting and event planners should take off their “planning hats” and attend one of their events solely with their “attendee hats” on. After all, you can only have true empathy for your attendee if you put yourself squarely in their shoes.

And that means that you can have no part in planning the event. Go through the entire cycle of registration, travel, sessions, workshops, social events, etc. Practice further empathy by understanding how fellow attendees are experiencing the event.

Deepen (and Broaden) Your Team Roster

Design thinking introduces the notion of “multidisciplinary teams,” in which people of assorted backgrounds (and schools of thought) ideate, iterate and collaborate.

Consider it a blender, where what comes out is a fascinatingly tasty beverage. You need a group that creates divergent thinking, which, according to Mr. Brown of IDEO, “is the route, not the obstacle, to innovation.”

Mr. Brown suggests “architects who have studied psychology, artists with MBAs, or engineers with marketing experience.” While this may be a stretch for the typical event planner, I’d recommend adding folks from Finance, HR and Engineering.

They don’t have to be core members of the event planning team; however, their perspectives can be more valuable that you’d think.

Where No Idea is a Bad Idea

The scientist Linus Pauling once said, “To have a good idea you must first have lots of ideas.” (quote source: an SSI article co-authored by Mr. Brown). Design thinking teaches you that no idea is a bad idea. If you make an early judgment on the quality of an idea, you may have just squashed a “germ” that would develop into a breakthrough.

The ideation process is critical in creating the next breakthrough event.

Instead, design thinking teaches you to build upon each other’s ideas, sort of like the “yes, and..” methodology in improvisational theater. As a meeting planner, then, your role is to encourage ideation and “shepherd” the process so that no idea is left abandoned (too quickly). And to the earlier point, here’s where multidisciplinary teams can be a goldmine.

Meeting and Event Prototypes

Recall that part of the ideation phase is “testing ideas.” It’s an iterative process in which you deploy a prototype, collect “real user feedback,” determine what you learned, then ideate on product refinements (repeating the cycle all over again).

Let’s say you’re planning next year’s 5,000 person sales kick-off meeting and you have innovative new ideas for it. Create a prototype using 50 sales people and actually implement those ideas in a “real prototype” (event). Determine what worked, make adjustments, then plan another prototype. When the “real thing” comes around, you’ll have a much better “product.”

Potential Barriers to Adoption

Seasoned event and meeting planners (who’ve gotten this far in my post) may be calling me crazy. And I can understand that. What I’ve proposed (in concept) must be balanced against the realities of a meeting planner’s job. And the following barriers could come into play.

Budget, Timeline and ROI

Simply put, design thinking methodologies could add significantly to meeting and event costs, while extending the timeline to deliver them. The ideation phase of design thinking is intentionally non-sequential. Meeting planners are highly organized creatures who thrive on delivering against a sequential timeline. Additionally, meeting and event management may not be comfortable spending more without knowing the precise ROI on it.

Risk Mitigation

The meeting planner is like an NFL coach: every season (i.e. every event), your job can be on the line. In his article, Mr. Brown wrote, “One of the biggest impediments to adopting design thinking is simply fear of failure.” The natural tendency of the meeting and event planner is to be risk averse, which is very much the opposite approach of design thinking.

Conclusion

Design thinking is surely not applicable to all meetings and events. And as I’ve outlined, meeting and event planners will likely shudder at the very concept. What I hope to accomplish with this post, however, is to introduce its concept to meetings and events. It’s my belief that true breakthrough events and experiences can result from it.

Note: This post was originally published on the eVenues blog. Here’s a link to the original piece.


Unable to Attend an Event? 10 Ways Twitter Fills the Gap

October 15, 2012

Introduction

IMEX America, which describes itself as “America’s worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events,” took place October 9-11, 2012 in Las Vegas.

I didn’t attend the event, but noticed that 20+% of my Twitter #eventprofs friends were there. I knew about their attendance from their tweets, but also received additional “color” via the photos, videos, quotes, observations and shout-outs that they posted (on Twitter).

So even though I wasn’t anywhere near Sin City, checking the #imex12 hash tag during the day yielded the next best thing: feeling as if I were. I was able to see who was meeting up with whom, which organizations were there exhibiting and what the popular nightspots were.

Here are 10 ways Twitter helps “remote attendees” experience the sights and sounds of the on-site experience.

1) Take in the sights.

Images tell a story. It’s hard to imagine “following” an event on Twitter via words (text) alone. The images of attendees, exhibitors, speakers and the show floor give us a sense of the event’s character and personality. In addition, imagery adds to the feeling of “being there.”

2) Discover the key themes.

I don’t need an industry publication to tell me about the key themes of this year’s event, because it’s all right there in the tweet stream. Whether Twitter users share their own opinions or a quote from the keynote presentation, the tweet stream is the leading indicator of the event’s key topics.

3) Make new connections.

You’re sure to find interesting people at the event, by way of the tweets they’re sharing. You may choose to follow selected folks and they may decide to follow you back. In addition, by following the event’s hash tag and getting involved, you’re bound to pick up some followers by way of your interactions. I once attended a physical event and made new connections exclusively on Twitter. That’s right, we “met” on Twitter, but not face to face (it’s sad).

4) Gain nuggets of wisdom.

Miss out on a Sunday’s worth of NFL action? It’s OK, you can still watch the highlights that night. It’s similar with events: by reading the quotes shared on Twitter, you still get the nuggets of wisdom (from presenters) and get a feel for what particular sessions were all about.

5) Find exhibitors who provide solutions you may need.

For popular booths at physical shows, you may have to wait in line to speak to an exhibitor sales rep. Many of these same exhibitors are online (on Twitter), posting news and inviting on-site attendees to come visit their booth. If you’d like to obtain more information from an exhibitor, engage with them on Twitter – chances are they’ll respond back and get you connected to the right people.

6) Interact with onsite attendees by answering their questions.

Whether you’re 50 or 5,000 miles away, you can still be a valuable resource to the on-site attendees. How? By answering questions they might have. Provide a meaningful answer and you’ll likely pick up a few followers, too.

7) Learn about important industry news and announcements.

Whether it’s an award, an exhibitor product announcement or news of a new industry partnership, chances are you’ll hear about it on Twitter.

8) Watch live video from the show floor.

Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have known about the live video interviews that were being conducted from IMEX America’s show floor.

9) Listen to a show’s podcasts as well.

Meetings Podcast, hosted by Mike McAllen and Jon Trask, was the official podcaster for IMEX America ’12. And how did I know that a new episode was up on the site? On Twitter, of course!

10) Discover recaps of the show’s happenings.

A great complement to the “Twitter commentary” are blog summaries that can go beyond 140 characters. Here’s an example of a great daily recap published by Anne Thornley-Brown on the Cvent blog.

Conclusion

I thought I’d conclude this post in 140 characters (or less):

Note: I invite you to connect with me on .


Social Gaming And Virtual Events

July 19, 2010

Michelle Bruno (@michellebruno) wrote an excellent article about social gaming in Trade Show News Network (TSNN.com) – I was interviewed by Michelle for the article.  Michelle covers the emergence of social games, including their incorporation into virtual events platform, like INXPO (my employer).

Michelle concludes her article with some compelling thoughts.  First, there’s this:

“As traditional methods of marketing and engagement wane in effectiveness and popularity, social gaming strategies fit nicely into two current trends in the event industry: the ‘social media-ization’ of nearly every technology solution and the blending of the online and offline event worlds.”

These trends play off one another nicely – as social media (and associated tools) are quite effective in blending online and offline event experiences.  I love Michelle’s closing line:

“Social gaming in the event industry could be the spark that ignites a new generation of trade show attendees.”

Love it.

Here’s the full link to the article: http://www.tsnn.com/blog/?p=2692

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