Fresh back from attending dmexco (digital marketing exposition and conference) in Cologne I'm once again reminded not to discount the more "traditional" methods of marketing. This particular conference/exhibition has gone from strength to strength. Ten years ago it attracted 200 delegates. This year it was 30,000+. With 800 exhibitors, 60,000 m² of exhibition space, 400 Speakers and 250+ hours of conference program its a beast of an event by any measure.
And (before you say it) its not just students and freelance consultants. Cologne, to be perfectly brutal, is not a town with a large catchment area of business professionals. You have to make some effort to travel there, which means dmexco doesn't suffer from passing trade. Its all pretty well qualified too based on the number of pre-confirmed meetings we had set up before we even set foot in Cologne.
Of course, you have to make the most of the activity. Integrate the event with your existing sales conversations. Set a target for 1:1 meetings and schedule as many as you can before the event. The best events should do the work in getting your target audience in one place.
And don't think you can stand in Aisle 27, Hall 5 and expect to hook in some juicy leads. Get out and about. Walk the floor & get your team to strike up conversations. In fact, if budgets are tight and you can only afford a tabletop & poster, scrap the booth idea and just walk the floor. Or build your presence by some sharp social media activity. Of course, good social media practice applies as ever. No-one likes, or indeed listens to, "come visit our booth" messages. Opinions, news and views all shared via the event hashtag are an easy start.
So events *can* play a role in the digitally-enabled marketers portfolio. After all the key to great marketing (on- or off- line) is in humanising your brand. People buy from people. And what better way to do that by good old face-to-face communication?