On 27 January marketing professionals representing venues, organisers and suppliers gathered at the Business Design Centre for AEO Forums 2016.
It was a day of talks, discussions and networking provided by professionals in the exhibitions industry, with opportunities to learn more about the latest marketing techniques and trends.
These trends don’t just relate to marketing, they also provide valuable insights into how the entire exhibitions industry can continue to grow and innovate.
Here are EN’s top five marketing tips from this year’s AEO Forums.
Interconnectivity is the future
Various platforms and devices are more connected now than ever before. But speaker Dorman Followwill (below), senior partner at Frost & Sullivan, argues that this is just the beginning.
In his talk on Global Megatrends, Followwill predicted the growth of smart vehicles and household appliances (both of which are in development in the form of the Google self-driving car and apps like Smarthome).
Marketers need to be prepared for this trend by creating campaigns and content that can be easily shared on multiple devices and platforms.
This trend has already passed a significant milestone with the slow-but-steady move from desktop to mobile device, and it will continue to grow as a factor for marketers to consider.
Interdepartmental communication is vital
Speaker Mark Sallows (below), CEO of Turtl, spoke to the forum about relationship marketing, in particular the importance of cooperation and understanding between sales and marketing teams in an organisation.
If different parts of a business understand the roles, challenges and goals of other departments then it can make the company as a whole much more successful.
Often marketers are unable to cooperate effectively with sales as they have incompatible priorities and are unaware of what other departments do on a daily basis.
Instead of sticking solely to our individual roles and departments, it can benefit the exhibitions industry as a whole to learn the value to interdepartmental communication.
The use of personalised content is growing
Speaker Nolan O’Connor (below), marketing consultant at NOC Marketing, demonstrated the growing trend in the retail world of sending personalised content to customers.
He highlighted case studies such as Trip Advisor, who send out emails to customers based on what they have been browsing on the website, and the lessons marketers can learn from their example.
For personal marketing it is important to note that if you are part of the ‘content is king’ school of thinking, then you should also be aware of the context of what you post.
Marketers jumping on the content bandwagon need to maintain an awareness of the intended recipient. Without this awareness there can be a swift customer drop-off as they are bombarded with content that is irrelevant and unappealing.
Market to humans not demographics (and keep it specific)
Speaker Grant LeBoff (below), CEO of Sticky Marketing Ltd, emphasised the importance of building communities online. This means not only reaching as many people as possible with a campaign, but also recognising that appealing to the masses will rarely benefit a marketing campaign.
Crafting a tightly controlled and well-researched campaign targeting a very specific group or demographic can be infinitely more effective than trying to please everyone at once.
LeBoff used the example of online news media, pointing out that the most successful online publications have a very clear stance and target audience, whether it’s the left-wing Guardian or the right-wing Daily Mail.
The marketer who strives to target everyone, interests no one.
Up-to-date knowledge can save your campaign
You can never finish learning, and in marketing the importance of keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and tech can help keep your campaigns fresh and ahead of the game.
O’Connor pointed out a particularly embarrassing problem that has recently affected a number of big-name brands.
Ad-blocking software, which now comes pre-installed on the iPhone 6, has become so powerful that retailers have to adapt their websites to avoid vital content being blocked from view.
O’Connor shared the above image, which shows the website of Sears department store with and without ad-blocking software.
This lesson is vital, and not just specifically for marketers: the tech world is constantly changing and our industry as a whole has to change with it or risk being left behind.