Monday, April 28, 2008
What have you got to lose - go ahead and take it.
This makes a great team builder too. Have every one on the extended team take this to determine where you guys agree and disagree about how well your company goes to market through events. Call us if you think that might make a great meeting or off-site topic.
Join us at TS2 for this exciting seminar. Wednesday July 30, 4:30 - 5:30 PM.
Sign up now. See you at TS2!
This is a great move both for her and the organization. Margit is a true industry veteran. Margit worked with Ed Chapman at Sextant. Ed was a bit of an icon, having run all of the programs for AT&T when it was still among the world's largest companies. Ed wrote one of the definitive books on Trade Show Marketing and was a great influence on me. He asked me to contribute several pieces for the book. Ed died last year.
Margit is a "get-it done" kind of person. She knows her stuff, is firm and completely likable at the same time. I think she will be a great influence on TSEA. I plan to help Margit in anyway possible.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
For Immediate Release
Constellation Introduces New Look, Information Resources
“We have a new look and feel to celebrate our 21st anniversary in the event strategy, measurement, and ROI business,” said
The new logo preserves Constellation’s established identity and conveys the clean efficiency associated with measurement and improvement for events. The frequently asked questions (FAQ) section of the website is particularly useful in helping those who are new to event measurement understand how to get started and what to expect.
Constellation provides case studies, examples, articles and papers in the "Solutions" section of the new website.
“We feel we have more to share than ever before! We are glad to have all of you as readers,” said Jones.
Constellation is a leading event planning, measurement and ROI consulting firm serving the tradeshow and events industries worldwide.
For questions, please contact Kristen Towler at +1.770.391.0015.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Five Game Changing Ideas for Getting Payback on Events - Continued
Five exciting game changing ideas are playing a major role for our clients and those interested in improving payback on their events in 2008. These ideas have evolved from our research and evaluation of events to determine what factors most influence success or failure, and from collaboration with our clients on event planning and measurement.
What is exciting is how these ideas make a tremendous contribution to justification of event expenditures, play a significant role in changing the perception of events among wary, top tier executives, and simplify planning and reporting not only for the events you may manage but also for those members of your extended team who may be running smaller, remote events independently.
So what are they? Five game changers are introduced below. Some apply to market facing events and some apply to all types of events. We will write more on each of these concepts in our blog and in papers and articles in the coming year.
Game Changer #1 - Make one on one, face to face meetings with high value contacts a top tier objective for market facing events.
I have concluded, after twenty years of analysis, that there is no greater or more consistent influence on positive ROI than that gained from pre-arranged, face to face meetings with high value contacts during a marketing event. Why? These are the people that write checks to your organization, and the cost savings of meeting lots of customers, prospects and partners at one event, at one time can often off-set the entire event investment. If one of your main goals for event marketing activity is not a targeted number of pre-scheduled, face- to- face meetings between your executives and high value contacts, then reconsider your next plan immediately.
Game Changer #2 - The surprising value of event the related PR. Plan for “PRO Value” to justify you staff T&E, if not the entire event.
Most events, even internal ones, can generate PR, before, during and after the event. We refer to these PR outcomes simply as "PRO.” Tracking the PR hits and estimating their value has produced some surprising findings. For example, PRO is often large enough in value to cover the expense of all staff T&E, even for a large event. In some cases, PRO value may justify the entire event budget. Making PRO a top tier event objective has served to bring advertising, PR, corporate communications and events teams into much closer collaboration and focus on events as a communication opportunity. Highlighting PRO and the value associated with it has also resulted in enhanced perception of events among cost sensitive executives. One of our clients attributed $10 million dollars in media value to the PR associated with their annual conference.
Game Changer #3 - Use simplified reporting to simplify planning
We developed a "dashboard" approach to reporting event results last year. We think the more important result was the influence it had on simplifying event planning using the same structure. Our client identifies seven or eight key accomplishments applicable to most events. Smaller events may incorporate only three to five of the key objectives. The largest "diamond events" usually incorporate all of them. This helps define the “tiering” of events for the company. Each major objective is further defined by usually two subordinate objectives that demonstrate accomplishment of the key goal. The executive summary report (usually one page) shows a gauge for each measure, indicating our performance against the goal.
Using this simple structure for planning has given many event managers a really sharp tool with which to focus their internal clients on things that matter most. This has been particularly helpful for those who have little or no events background and are responsible for reporting results.
Game Changer #4 - Overhaul your communications, messages and signage to be persuasive
One of the greatest reasons for failure to deliver a return on investment on an event is ineffective communications. Meeting participants leave without a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Many times, trade show visitors can not determine what business a top tier exhibitor is in or how it might benefit them even through careful study of the exhibit. In either case, ROI is elusive if not impossible to obtain. Why, because no one is persuaded to act. Businesses invest in communication activity for only one reason, to influence behavior of targeted individuals. Business communications must therefore be “persuasive” by definition. This is the supreme test and the ultimate design criteria for all types of events. (I teach a new course on event communications that addresses this topic in complete detail.)
Game Changer #5 - Establish a performance baseline for managing and improving your events
Tracking the performance of most or all events over an entire year produces a performance baseline that you can use to great advantage. This set of totals and averages proclaim the aggregate accomplishments of your event program for an entire plan period and provide targets for comparison and improvement. For example, “we made 1,600,000 impressions among targeted individuals with our product and brand messages”, or “we produced 126,000 square feet of exhibition space at an average cost per square foot of $187.30.” Good stuff! These baseline numbers provide the best targets for managing and improving performance at future events.
Bonus Game Changer - Analyze the target market available for each event and implement a pre-event marketing program to attract high value individuals. Tailor your event communications to their interests and needs.
This is somewhat related to idea 1, in that in order to invite high value contacts to visit with you and your executives at events, you must know who is addressable through the event. This idea is not really new, but our observation is that too many companies are not doing this on a regular basis. This concept needs to be applied to internal events as well. A recent case study demonstrates how including too many lower level participants diminished an important leadership meeting. More to come on this topic!
For more details on these topics and more, visit our blog (constellationcc.blogspot.com or access the blog directly from our homepage.) Our website contains case studies and articles on these topics and more. Visit us at http://constellationcc.com and look in the “Solutions” section.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Subject – Course Updates “How to Create Event Communications that Attract and Sell Customers. . .”
(I am repeating this here because I believe these points have general value)
I hope you all are doing well.Update and Clarification of a lecture point -
Brand, Sales and Events –
On the course evaluation a student appropriately questioned why I suggested that brand was somehow less important in sales of a product or service. He pointed out that brand is, in fact, a significant influence on sales and I completely agree. I misspoke, in an effort to emphasize a point.
My intent was to emphasize that marketing events should link directly to the sales process and require a mix of elements of all sorts, including, but not limited to brand. Brand is an essential element of content and design in all cases and is a top tier objective in most cases. In fact, on many client programs, brand building was the primary objective for certain events.
Brand guidelines should not interfere with effective event communications, but event communications should adhere to and reinforce the brand. Don't let the tail wag the dog when the objective is to directly create sales opportunity.
Information on branding and positioning were included in the final slides and your handout for just that reason. In those slides, branding is defined by Walter Landour and others and positioning is defined by Al Ries and others. These concepts are an important part of event communication strategy. You may want to do additional research independently on these topics.
I hope this course proves valuable for all of you. I heard back from several students who made immediate changes in their approach. One even called back to the office after the seminar and revised a work in progress! Good luck and call me if I can answer any questions for you.
Also, Some of you asked me or in your evaluation about how to go about setting up an on-site seminar or facilitated workshop for your extended team. If you have that need, please contact me directly. firstname.lastname@example.org, 770-391-0015.
More on Estimating ImpressionsThis refresher was sent my students in the "How to Measure the Value of Tradeshows" courses at Exhibitor Show 2008. That course is a core requirement for Certified Trade Show Manager certification. I thought some of you may benefit from this information:
Clarification of a lecture point - How to Estimate Impressions and the Relationship Between Gross and Targeted Impressions –
- Gross Impressions are those that fall on the eyes and ears of anyone, target or not.
- Targeted Impressions are those that are seen or heard by those fitting one or more of your target marketing profiles. Therefore target impressions are more valuable, but gross impressions still have a value.
- Targeted individuals are generally a subset of overall event attendance (usually in the 30 – 50% of reported attendance range. This can be a much higher concentration in medical shows for example, where MDs are the participants. Any event with a registered base of attendees makes it a lot easier for you to identify who is target and who is not and to estimate the types and number of impressions.
Estimating Impressions at an Event
Impressions are made in four main ways:
1) Direct marketing before and after an event (how many people in how many waves)
2) Media associate with an event such as website, video, magazines, show guides and dailies.
3) On-site promotion – such as your speakers at seminars and workshops, publicity for those workshops, sponsorships of various program elements, banners, billboards, bags, credential lanyards, etc., etc.
4) Exposure to your exhibit or space.
Most often advertising is funded in a separate budget. If not, then it falls in item 2 – media.
How do we estimate – we simply count, estimate or guess depending upon the circumstances. (Don’t freak out, event the best advertising and PR teams do the same for event related exposures and circulation hand-offs etc.)
Let’s consider one example for each of the four elements above.
Our case study event is attended by 40,000 people, of whom 50% meet one or more of our target profiles. (These are new examples not the examples used in the original course.)
1) Direct Marketing – before the event you sent 10,500 mailers to targeted individuals registered for the event. Gross impressions = 10,500, of which 10,500 were targeted.
2) Media – Your company was featured on a show website banner ad for three months leading up to the event. The estimated daily traffic was 3,000 individuals (usually given in hits). Your banner was so prominent as to not be missed. Your banner was seen approximately 25% of the time (1 in 4 rotation.) Gross impressions = 90 days x 3,000 individuals x 25% exposure for a total of 67,500 gross impressions. 33,750 of those impressions were targeted (50%).
3) You sponsored the on-site registration area at the event. It was utilized by approximately 50% of the 40,000 attendees. Your presence was so strong as to not be missed. Gross impressions = 2 to 3 impressions per individual (due to multiple graphic elements) x 20,000 individuals using the area (50% of attendance) for a total of 40- 60,000 gross impressions. 20 – 30,000 were targeted.
4) Exposure to the Exhibit or Space - Your exhibit was off to the right but near the front of the hall. You had superior height and neon backlit identity graphics. Your exhibit could be seen by everyone who entered the hall. Most of the 40,000 came by your exhibit, some not, but others did multiple times. An estimated 40,000 people saw your exhibit and brand and product messages. Due to the superior height and backlit presence, we would estimate another 40,000 exposures were gained (this is a pure SWAG “swinging wild- assed guess!” – but you can discuss it with your communications folks and use whatever they were comfortable with. Or your can utilize research and pin down statistically what your level of awareness and recall or share of voice was for the event.) Gross impressions therefore total = 80,000 (probably a low ball because of the multiple exposures that were likely), of which 40,000 were targeted.
These impressions have value. Get your communications folks to tell you what the cost of gross impressions and targeted impressions are for trade advertising in your business (if you are B2B) and through consumer advertising if you are in that market. B2B impressions are generally worth (i.e. cost) more. Use $240/1,000 (CPM) for gross impressions as a starting point, and $570/1,000 (CPM) for targeted impressions. These are averages I have noted among our clients in various B2B markets. Consumer impressions can be very low value/cost and sometimes have a lower average value of sale associated with them. Use $.05 to $.25 each for gross impressions ($50 - $200 CPM.) Targeted consumer impression values can be a little tricky as targeted impressions may equal gross impressions when almost anyone can buy your product, such as is the case for Home Depot for Ford.
You may want to do additional research independently on these topics and I strongly encourage you to talk with those who do the advertising and PR within your organization.
Thanks to the students who asked for more clarification, giving me the opportunity to clarify it with all of you.
I hope this course proves valuable for all of you. Good luck and call me if I can answer any questions for you.
P.S. Some of you asked me or in your evaluation about how to go about setting up an on-site seminar or facilitated workshop for your extended team. If you have that need, please contact me directly. email@example.com, 770-391-0015.
Monday, April 14, 2008
1) Simplified Measurement using a "Dashboard" approach - typically eight major goals with two objectives for each goal. The big benefit, a considerable increase in executive understanding and acceptance, and a big improvement in planning clarity.
2) PR Outcomes (PRO as we have deemed it) emanating from events. This value is surprisingly large! and is a big part of cost justification for market facing events.
3) Staff and Stakeholder reviews after every event. Those who have the biggest stake, those who fund and those who participate in an event have extremely important, first hand feedback to share, and can identify most easily the improvement needs going forward.
4) The extraordinary value of pre-scheduled and ad- hoc 1:1 meetings as a major goal for all market facing events. After twenty years I have concluded there is little activity more valuable than 1:1 meetings with high value contacts, from customers, to prospects, partners, alliances, press, analysts, delegations and others who can affect your business by millions of dollars.
5) Improved communications. Another conclusion after twenty years of observation is weak, ineffective communication strategy is one of the major reasons for failure to attain a profitable outcome from events of all types.
So, if these topics interest you or may help you manage your efforts to make your company more successful tune in here, and share your reactions and ideas.