As conferences become more abundant (and people have busier schedules) finding a way to make your event stand out from the crowd and draw the right attendees can be a huge challenge. That's why building an effective marketing strategy is so essential when organizing your conference. We sat down with Kyley Picov, the Director of Marketing from Kenes Group, a world-leading Professional Conference Organizer (PCO), to discover her tips on how to make an impact with your conference.
Morressier: What questions should organizers ask themselves before defining a marketing plan for their conference?
Kyley Picov: When devising a marketing strategy, you must first understand your target audience. Who is interested in your event, what are their professions, ages and interests? Where can they be found online and offline? What would make your event stand out to them? You must differentiate your event from others in the field and understand when your potential delegates are deciding where to attend. In a saturated market, knowing where and when you should reach your delegates is essential to optimizing your marketing plan.
Morressier: What are some lesser-known ways to market a conference?
Picov: Many people are inclined to think that marketing focuses mainly on direct ads, where the event is being pushed towards the potential delegates. An extremely important element of any campaign is pull marketing, where we find influencers from our loyal following to recruit new delegates amongst their friends and colleagues.
Morressier: What are the most relevant platforms for marketing your conference?
Picov: Each conference has stronger and weaker platforms, but in general the bulk of website traffic will come from email marketing, online advertising and organic search results. It is important to make sure that in all these platforms, your messaging and branding is in line with your event identity.
Morressier: What are the most common marketing mistakes you see conference organizers make?
Picov: Often enough, conference organizers assume that their name is enough to carry them forward. They are not interested in investing in their brand or developing their product. They are happy to just stay as they are. You must always be working to move forward and improve your event. You must maintain your brand identity and update every few years to stay at the forefront of your field. There is no such thing as standing still, you are either moving forwards or falling back.
Morressier: Describe your day to day work as the Marketing Director at a Professional Conference Organizer?
Picov: My job is really fun and challenging, mainly because each day brings something new. A typical day includes answering emails, providing guidance, deriving new strategies, analyzing different data, reviewing budgets and targets, attending meetings and signing off on a variety of initiatives. I have weekly meetings with my marketing managers where we go over each client in detail, discuss project milestones and targets and brainstorm new ideas and strategies. As a department, we specialize in marketing medical conferences globally both online and offline through various channels both direct and indirect. From strategy to implementation, we spend each day managing our robust campaigns and tweaking them based on results.
Image credit: Simon Callaghan