Jenni Jacques, AEO & FaceTime marketing director discusses the importance of providing quality value to attract your audience’s full attention.
"Listen up – nobody’s interested in you," were the words that one of the speakers at the AEO-funded FaceTime Exhibitor Masterclass said to a room of more than 500 exhibitors.
Harsh words for anyone to hear but, unless you have an ego thicker than an elephant’s hide, once you’ve let it sink in, you realise how true it is.
It’s a well-known fact that during interaction we naturally think WIIFM (what’s in it for me?).
That’s the point when you see eyes glazing over or if you’re on the phone and you hear the phrase ‘uh huh’, followed by heavy tapping on the keyboard or some other clear indication that your audience is no longer giving you their full attention.
If customers start glazing over or mutter ‘uh huh’, they’ve already asked themselves the WIIFM question and not found the answer. If you’ve not grabbed their attention, not solved their problem, entertained them or given them something that makes them look good with their friends or colleagues, then they’re not getting what they want and will no longer be interested in you.
At AEO, we want our members to ask that question. It’s by working in collaboration with them that we develop our services that are so valued not only by members but also their customers. FaceTime is one initiative that’s purely in it for event profs as part of AEO membership. The resources FaceTime offers are designed around customers and more and more AEO members are recognising the value they deliver to their exhibitors.
The National Exhibitor Masterclass in July, for example, attracted 510 exhibitors who all came along to learn how to improve or understand what they can do differently at their next show. This demonstrates the desire they have to make the most out of their investment at events and their feedback showed how much they valued being invited to attend by the organisers.
At each masterclass, we answer your customers’ question: ‘what’s in it for me?’ by tailoring and developing the programme around topics they have said they want or need to learn more about.
Another major FaceTime initiative that answers the WIIFM question from our AEO members is the research FaceTime commissions.
There are two research projects this year, the first one has compelling statistics that prove the power of live events so that you have the evidence at your fingertips when talking with customers to help them understand the benefit of investing in events. This is a repeat project that was first carried out in 2010.
The results in 2016 show that live events improve the perception of a brand by a massive 21 per cent and 69 per cent of visitors go on to recommend your customers after experiencing them at one of your events. In addition, 76 per cent of visitors make purchasing decisions at exhibitions, which are proven to be twice as effective as TV advertising and three times more impactful than display ads.
The second, larger piece of research, focuses on visitors and the psychology behind what makes them an advocate of events. The aim of this study is to identify high value visitors who, after attending an event, talk positively to their friends, colleagues and people in general about the event and what they’ve experienced. Once this research is complete, we hope it will help our members develop a blueprint strategy for targeting and attracting high value advocates to future events, therefore providing further value to customers.
The outcome of these FaceTime initiatives, along with guides, webinars and videos, helps support organisations in planning for their next event. They are designed so that AEO members can re-brand them and use them to promote their events to new and existing customers. As a result, FaceTime is a compelling sales and marketing tool that adds weight when responding to the WIIFM question.
All AEO members can invite customers along to these events, the next one is on 6 October in London. Contact the team at email@example.com if you’re interested in learning more about how you can get involved.