Why marketing managers secretly hate marketing conferences
Conferences, summits, meetups – marketing managers’ calendars are bursting at the seams with the mass of industry events. Almost every year, they gather thousands of people in the most prestigious venues. However, it’s hard to miss the impression that more and more often, marketing conferences are like a sad duty for the marketing managers. With the challenges in event management, often it’s the lack of the organizer’s knowledge on how to handle an event that caused that problem. They repeat the same mistakes thus cause attendees’ discontent, while they could avoid it with the help of event management tools, technology or proper research.
I think we can all agree that conferences are good for the development of both, team members who participate in an event, and the whole company. They are a source of up-to-date knowledge, new business contacts and an opportunity to generate leads for the sales team. However, after attending five similar conferences, you may start to feel like the benefits aren’t commensurate with the cons.
Why marketing managers secretly hate marketing conferences – the challenges in event management
Imagine you’re an event-experienced manager with an insight into what a good event should look like. Let’s face it, you have expectations. You want to be sure that your time is properly used and that the effort you put into being at another conference is worth it. Then, you register to another marketing summit and, from the start, you spot the same exact mistakes. Now, what are the issues that make marketing managers secretly hate marketing conferences?
Marketing conferences aren’t efficient in achieving marketers’ goals
Situations that may cause marketing manager’s discontent are varied. First of all, bad organizational aspects distract them from the main purpose of an event. When coming to the event, managers have set goals for their participation. It may be to broaden business connections, to keep track of the latest trends or to generate sales leads through active promotion among the attendees. Poor event management can lead to making it hard for managers to complete their aims. For example, they’d stress out over how to get from one place to another, look for the lectures they want to attend and, as a result, lose focus of what they initially came came for.
Marketing conferences aren’t substantive for marketing managers
The second reason for the secret managers’ hate, is that they may find lectures (and speakers) repeatable. After seeing three speeches that cover the same area it’s hard not to feel like you’re wasting your time. Seeing the same personas also makes marketing managers be like “no, not again”. It’s obvious, listening to the same “breakthrough” ideas again and again won’t boost attendees’ enthusiasm. Also, marketing managers are professionally active specialists in their fields, therefore it’s hard to impress them and find topics that could add a great value to their knowledge. This way, they attend conferences that won’t be beneficial for them content-wise, which after some time may be tiring.
Marketing managers can’t find opportunities to network
When you realize that, because of their advanced positions, knowledge may not be the priority for the marketing managers at the marketing conferences you can have different reasons to attend it. Often, it’s networking that makes managers show up at fairs, conferences and summits. They what to broaden connections and attract as many prospects as possible when they walk through the crowds of marketing specialists and enthusiasts. However, many events don’t provide the opportunities to do so. Badly arranged schedules, no places to network at the venue, limited access to the list of attendees and so on. This all can contribute to the managers’ discontent.
The event choice is random and not efficient
Another thing that marketing managers hate industry events for, is that they struggle to pick the right ones from the mass of conferences. This way, marketing officers end up at conferences that don’t help them achieve their goals (e.g. generate leads, raise brand awareness, find valuable connections). Also, sending team members to conferences appears as Sisyphean labor, which doesn’t bring any benefits. Nowadays, there are platforms, such as Eventory Planning, which can help deal with the problem of the event choice and make event participation efficient, but many still plan event attendance using hit-or-miss rule. In effect, money is spent and representatives and marketing managers feel like they’re forced into another pointless, unprofitable duty.
Situations like these make marketing managers secretly hate marketing conferences. They notice event planning problems and therefore, they feel like it’s a waste of their time. All of this can be easily avoided by using smart and proven solutions to challenges in event management.
How to handle an event to make marketing managers fall in love with it?
As an organizer, you don’t have the authority to change the way companies send their employees to conferences. However, you can take care of the organizational aspects. This way, making sure that everything at the event is buttoned up and brings value, you can influence the way marketing managers see marketing conferences.
To meet everyone’s expectations is one of the main challenges in event management. A plenitude of conferences raises the standards. In addition, marketing managers’ are hard to please with their extensive knowledge and specified event goals. Thus, now more than ever organizers should know their target’s needs and avoid common organizational mistakes to change the point of view of marketing managers.
What event planning problems do organizers have?
Now, when we know why marketing managers aren’t very fond of marketing conferences, let’s think about common organizers’ mistakes that contribute to this.
The problems can apply to various aspects of event management. Here, I highlight the most common event planning problems that marketing managers see at marketing conferences. Let’s see why we say that some organizers don’t know how to handle an event and how to solve these problems.
#1 Event organizers don’t know how to choose the event’s date
While taking a look at the event calendar it’s clear that we can determine “hot seasons” of the year. There are periods when there’s an accumulation of industry conferences and times with no summits at all. Cumulating industry events may be helpful in terms of planning event attendance – it also has many cons. Therefore, the date of an event should be chosen carefully in order to make it a hit.
Event planning problems and solutions: choosing the date
First of the organizers’ mistakes is bad timing. An event taking place too close to another scheduled conference can not only cause lower attendance (and decrease organizer’s profits) but may also influence attendees’ perception of the event (those who actually come).
Imagine, you need to participate in a couple of events in a row. You’re getting tired and irritated because the intensity of the events is just too high. Therefore, with the feeling of being overloaded with knowledge and activities, you perceive a conference as a disaster when it comes to both learning and networking aspects.
On the other hand, setting the wrong date can affect organizers’ financially. Not only will they lose participants’ satisfaction but also, it can affect the event ticket sales. When the event takes place straight after another one, you’re forcing prospects to choose one event over another. This way, the general attendance level declines and so the incomes and ROI. Therefore, setting the date of your event in direct vicinity to others is a true own goal.
Also, with the immensity of events, it’s harder to attract and entertain the audience with content. While the marketing industry is rich in different points of view to present and various topics to cover, the cumulation of conferences may lead to the repetitiveness of both speakers and areas covered during an event.
The hot event seasons during the year can assure that many specialists will have some time saved for event participation. There are situations when the cumulation of events can work for you (for example when the other events weren’t a success). However, you need to remember that there are many cons to such a tactic and it’s best to avoid it.
Choose a good timing for your event in order to make sure that your marketer attendees enjoy it. First of all, make sure that the date doesn’t collide with other hit conferences. You don’t want your audience to be somewhere else, right? Also, consider the efficiency of different weekdays and remember about giving participants some time to commute to the event.
Then, check what’s happening in the event calendar about two weeks before and after your planned event. If there’s a place for another marketing event or when the topics vary, then you’re good to go.
The date is one of the first things to decide on when planning an event – make sure you won’t make a mistake right at the start!
#2 Event organizers don’t know how to choose a venue
Next to the date is a place where an event will take place. While talking to our customers, and event attendees as well, I often come across the opinion that the right venue can significantly improve the event experience (as it was in the case of the Design Thinking Camp). It can influence the mood of attendees, increase the perception of the organizers and the event itself and also, contribute to the participants’ satisfaction. Therefore, badly chosen one is yet another organizers’ mistake.
Event planning problems and solutions: choosing a venue
At the event, the first thing you see and experience is the venue. Entering the main hall to register yourself, you start your event experience. The venue is a factor that can create a first impression. The choice of the conference space, among other challenges in event management, can help to avoid attendees’ dissatisfaction.
An inadequate venue can affect many aspects of the event. First, there’s general atmosphere that event space provides. For example, the flamboyant interior can distract the audience, make them anxious or not focused on the participation goals. Then, there’s space matter – the bad venue is a venue with many nooks. This can make attendees feel lost and again, they’ll not focus on the event itself.
Another result of badly chosen venue is a place in the middle of nowhere or where basic services such as wi-fi connection won’t work properly. Also, it makes it harder to get to the venue. Therefore, potential participants may decide that it’s not worth investing additional time and money in transfer to the event. This will make the work at the event highly inconvenient for participants. Let alone that it’ll leave them with the impression that organizers don’t know how to handle an event. However, there are events taking place in a secluded area and it works perfectly in the event’s favor. That is because the vibe of the event goes together with the venue and it actually makes it all better as it allows the attendees to focus on networking and enjoying the event without distraction from the office.
Also, make sure that the venue fits your attendees. After all, not everyone likes crowded places and it’s hard to enjoy the experience when you have to squeeze through the venue.
To make sure that you’re good with your event venue, first of all, do your research. Preparing an industry event, it’s crucial to know your target group and its preferences. Find out what taste your potential attendees have, what interiors will be appealing for them. Also, mind that the venue should cooperate with the agenda points. For example, if you are planning to organize big networking sessions in between the lectures – find a place where you have a space for this kind of activity.
Also, set the margins for the audience size. Predict how many participants you’ll have to fit in a room. This way you will know how to choose a venue, what size it should be, and you will be able to reject some of the potential locations. Searching this way, you have a guarantee that the place won’t be crowded and thus, attendees will be able to easily enjoy the conference.
It’s good to mention that choosing an unconventional event space is the latest trend in event marketing. More often conferences take place in unobvious venues, which provide even greater experiences.
#3 Event organizers don’t know how to prepare the venue
When you know how to choose the venue, you need to also have in mind that often organizers forget to prepare it for the event. Corresponding with the audience preferences and profile of the conference venue is not enough when it’s left alone.
Event planning problems and solutions: preparing the venue
When coming to an event, attendees find themselves in a new place for the first time. Leaving a venue unprepared for their arrival can cause problems with finding the crucial points of the event such as information desk, lecture rooms, sponsors stands, and so on. This way attendees focus on finding themselves in a middle of the venue instead of enjoying (and benefiting) the conference itself.
Also, often organizers forget about decorating the venue with the event materials and the sponsors’ ads. It can create a negative impression that the event isn’t as buttoned up as it should be. Later, it can contribute to organizers’ bad fame and dissatisfaction with the event from both attendees and partners.
Avoid this mistake by planning the navigation through the event. Simply, take care of the signs leading to certain parts of the venue. Make sure that their placement is visible and it won’t bother those passing through. Arrange a group that will welcome attendees – this way they’ll feel comfortable at the event and will know where to go. Also, you can use the help of the event management tools, such as Eventory, that help to deal with the challenges in event marketing. They can provide your attendees with navigation tools that won’t let them get lost in the venue!
#4 Event organizers don’t know how to prepare the agenda
An appealing agenda is one of the main aspects that can either attract or push away attendees. The mistakes concerning the conference plan can apply to its contents or time-planning as well.
Event planning problems and solutions: preparing the agenda
The first thing that can go wrong with the agenda when organizers don’t know how to handle an event is that the topics covered are not interesting for the target participants. The reasons can be various. The most common mistake is repeating topics that were covered during other conferences and are simply not fresh enough. Also, marketing managers often are already experts, so it’s hard to offer lectures that’d be appealing to them
Another thing is a badly planned schedule. Often, in order to prepare possibly the most attractive agenda, organizers pack it tightly with lectures, discussions and so on. Then, subject paths collide with each other, and there’s no possibility to be at two lectures at one time. There’s no time to rest, not to mention to engage in networking, so marketing managers won’t be able to complete their event goals.
A well-planned agenda should be prepared with consideration of the attendees’ needs. Therefore, make sure that you know what are the attendees’ goals set for your event.
Then, do the research of previous industry conferences, see what topics are covered and offer your attendees something new. Also, check who could be your star among the speakers and think what topics could extend marketing managers’ already vast knowledge. While planning the schedule for your conference, don’t forget about the breaks.
Give your attendees time to rest their minds, walk around the sponsors stands and network with others. If the schedule’s too tight, bare in mind that they’ll seek opportunities to do those things during the lectures. Often, networking is the main goal for event participation of marketing managers or the reason they send their team members to events, so don’t neglect it.
#5 Event organizers don’t know how to boost audience participation
Now, you have the agenda on point. Top speakers, valuable topics and convenient schedule – everything works just fine. But there comes another organizer mistake that can ruin the perception of the conference. Among the challenges in event management, there’s one that is constantly a problem – how to deal with audience participation in the event.
Event planning problems and solutions: audience participation
While attending a conference it’s easy to get distracted. Often, it’s not the matter of the lecture quality, but rather the capabilities of the human brain. Not implementing elements of audience interaction to the whole conference experience may affect the entertainment and how attendees benefit from an event.
Also, remember that you’re dealing with experienced marketing managers. They have their opinions and often want to share it. Creating a passive event experience may contribute to its negative perception in their minds. Also, the lack of audience participation will deprive the organizers of precious data and feedback. It’s vital when it comes to the creation of post-event reports.
There are a lot of ways that can help organizers to deal with audience participation. For example, you can organize an open poll through an event application. You can engage speakers to use those methods during lectures (also make sure they’ll measure the audience interaction).
Remember to provide platforms that will allow attendees to leave the feedback on the lectures and event as a whole. Another way to boost participants interaction is to gamify the whole event experience by organizing a contest, for example with the help of QR codes or beacons.
As you see, it may be hard to get audience participation, but to do so organizers’ need to remember that it’s important to show potential participants the value of the event.
#6 Event organizers don’t know how to set the event ticket price
Price is the next thing that can cause marketing managers’ hate towards conferences while deciding whether to attend an event or not. Often, organizers don’t know how to calculate what would be the optimal price level and therefore, they expose the event to a failure.
Event planning problems and solutions: event ticket price
When it comes to the event ticket prices, we can determine two wrong directions an organizer can go.
The first, would be setting the price too high. As it was mentioned before, more often than not, marketing conferences don’t offer new knowledge to marketing managers. Therefore, they’ll see such events as overpriced. Encountering this price barrier once again brings up an issue of whether those conferences are beneficial for managers’ (and employees they delegate there) and if it’s a waste of time and company’s money.
The second direction is setting the price too low. It can transmit a wrong message about the event’s low quality of the content and organizational aspects. Therefore, this can give managers a clear statement that the conference is not worth to attend and it will be a waste of their time. Also, when it comes to free events, people declare their participation but don’t lose anything when they eventually won’t show up.
Setting the “just right” price is one of the challenges in event management, but it should be set up carefully in order to appeal to the target (which in this case is the marketing managers’ with their doubts).
First of all, determine the base ticket price. You can use the simple formula that will help you reach the break-even point: (event cost + profit margin)/ticket sales quantity = basic ticket price.
Then, decide what additional amount you want to add and there’s your event ticket price. It’s best to compare competitors’ prices and based on this set yours. However, make sure that it’s corresponding with the offered content. Remember to look at the issue from the experienced marketing managers’ point of view. Create an appealing proposition, both substantive and financial-wise.
A good way to deal with managers’ discontent with ticket prices is to offer attractive bundles for the bigger groups. They often, send the whole teams to your conferences, so make them believe it’s profitable. This way not only are you changing the perception of the price for better but also ensure yourself a bigger audience.
#7 Event organizers don’t know how to handle communication
Another frequent organizers’ mistake is poorly managed communication channel. This issue is noticeable during different stages and levels of the event experience. It can cause disorientation, sometimes chaos and constrict completing the event goals – as a result, it can boost the marketing managers’ discontent with the event.
Communication between attendees and organizers
Firstly, often communication between the participants and event staff isn’t fluent and efficient enough. It’s important to take care of that – the lack of contact on the attendee-organizer line can contribute to the organizational chaos and general disorientation on the event. Also, looking at the issue from a marketing managers’ perspective, they want to be able to express their opinion on the event. It’s a demanding target group which may need access to the organizers if they need help or have something to report.
In addition, when the communication channel between the attendees and organizer isn’t working properly the information flow is flawed. Therefore, participants may feel neglected and left to themselves at the event, which may cause problems with experiencing event itself.
Attendee to attendee communication
Another level of communication that should be provided by organizers is one between the attendees. If this area is badly organized the event doesn’t support it networking purpose, which often is the main reason for marketing managers to attend industry events. Without opportunities to communicate with other participants, the event community can’t be formed. Attendees, again, are left to themselves and can’t feel like a part of bigger picture, which later contributes to the less positive event perception.
Before and after event communication
Then, there’s an issue of the communication carried out by the organizers before and after the event. There needs to be a system that will allow passing the vital information to the attendees. Before the event, it’s maintaining the future participants’ interest in the whole happening and calming them down by providing information they need to organize their participation. After-event messages should boost marketing managers’ certainty that the event was worth to attend. It simply shows that attendees where welcomed and solidify an impression of the conference in their minds.
How to make sure that communication is done right?
To avoid mistakes in the matter of event communication organizers need to plan the whole process starting from the moment of sending invitations, to the communication at the event to the “goodbye” messages.
Firstly, think through your newsletters – you can send your prospects invitations with the most appealing information. Then, sustain the interest with update materials. Also, provide a platform that lets you and your attendees communicate with each other. For example, Eventory offers a chat for the attendees to communicate with each other and also a place where all the news and information from the organizer can immediately be sent to the participants. This way, you have everything under control, your event community can easily network and marketing manager’s are more than content.
#8 Event organizers don’t know how to support networking
As I mentioned before, one of the main goals for marketing managers attending marketing conferences is to make business connections. The obvious proof that the organizer doesn’t know how to handle an event is when there are no conditions to network during the conference.
Event planning problems and solutions: networking support
Marketing managers come to events with a focus on extending the business connections. However, often they are not supported by the organizers in achieving this goal. The factors that make networking difficult may vary.
Firstly, the venue makes it difficult to talk to other participants. Large and crowded spaces, where it’s hard to exchange the ideas and opinions won’t do. Also, spaces with many small rooms can separate attendees from each other. Then, the schedule is too tight and there’s simply no time to find a moment for networking.
Another problem with networking at the events is the lack of a technical support. Marketing managers often don’t even know who they could talk to, because they don’t have access to the digital guest list. Then, there are no platforms that allow attendees to chat, arrange meetings and save information about the new contact for later. This all makes networking ineffective.
If you want to create a good networking experience for marketing managers at your event, first of all, remember of it while preparing the agenda to arrange some time for networking purposes. Think, about technical solutions to make networking easier for the participants. Provide a platform that will allow interaction between attendees even before the event. Make sure that they’ll be able to easily arrange meetings and that managers have access to the attendee list to contact a specified person. This way they’ll be able to talk exactly to the people they intend to in order to achieve their goal for the event. Also, take care of the adequate space for the meetings, and fit the networking sessions between lectures and promote the idea amid the attendees. Looking for inspiration you can read the case of our client who set establishing new business contacts as the main goal of the organized event.
#9 Event organizers don’t know how to gather data
As we mentioned before, the marketing manager’s feel irritated with industry events because the participation seems to not be beneficial. They don’t see the value of the conferences and are unable to choose the promising ones. This is because organizers don’t gather data during the events and therefore, don’t know what are the preferences of their target group.
To gather the data from your audience you can use some technology novelties. First of all, think about implementing event management tools next time you organize an event. It will monitor and work out the data in one place. Also, try to use QR codes, which can get information about your attendees. Then, think about beacons technology that will help you track the attendees’ behavior – what were their event paths, what stands were the most interesting for them and what lectures had the biggest attendance. Therefore it’ll be possible to improve the event experience.
Marketing managers often seem to be very discontented with the marketing conferences and industry events. A multitude of events makes it hard for them to decide which conference would be the most profitable.
Often, they don’t see their substantive value due to the fact that as marketing managers they already have a vast knowledge. Therefore, they set other goals to their participation, but don’t know how to pick the right events. They need tools, such as Eventory Planning, to determine conferences with the greatest potential, but often the choice is random.
Also, the secret hate for the marketing conferences comes from the many organizational flaws that make it hard for marketing managers to accomplish their event goals (such as networking). From the long list, the most common would be:
- Not supporting networking activities
- Poor communication before, during, and after events
- Not appealing agenda
- Badly chosen venue
Those challenges in event management can be often easily fixed with the help of event management tools, technology or proper pre-event research.
What do you think contributed to this secrete dislike of marketing managers?