While digital tech grabs the headlines, what with AI and VR and AR et al, one of the strongest growing revenue sources for media brands is low tech, face-to-face, in person events.
Over the last year I have had in depth conversations with several B2B leaders convinced that live events are a strategic part of their future, as part of a joint research project with Helen Coetzee of MPG. This article explores why events work so well and how they can add value to your media business.
Why live events can enhance a media brand’s strategy
Events enhance a media brand’s reputation in an industry and can be used to build important partnerships with industry bodies, governments and sponsors. Live events are excellent for building a community within a sector, augmenting data and generating valuable, exclusive content. Many media businesses use them to enter a new market, to expand geographically and establish partnerships.
What are the main challenges of live events
Events are continually exposed to competing launches by new entrants, so organisers have to keep innovating and ensuring that delegates and sponsors see good ROI. It takes a significant investment of time to establish the partnerships and broad industry support for a new event. There’s an inevitable tension between meeting sponsors’ marketing objectives and delivering learning and peer networking for delegates. And delegates are increasingly time poor and prone to booking late.
Building a portfolio of event businesses
A flagship event, such as Centaur’s Festival of Marketing (held in London), can be supported by multiple publications and can build the scale to justify investment in speakers and marketing, creating a strong position in the industry. A series of more targeted conferences can cater to niche groups. And awards events meet a distinct need.
Picking a neutral brand, for example the British Farming Awards, organised by Agribriefing, who also publish Farmers Guardian, can make it easier for the industry to unite. Building a portfolio can involve both acquisitions and launches; the prevailing view is that exhibitions take longer to establish so acquisition is often best, while conferences and awards can be launched with the support of a strong media brand. Whatever the approach, investing in in-depth research, establishing an advisory group and soliciting early feedback from prospective sponsors all up the chances of success.
About the author
Carolyn Morgan has launched, acquired, grown and sold media businesses across print, digital and live events. A co-founder of the Specialist Media Show, which was sold to SIIA in 2013, she has wide experience of niche publishing businesses, and advises many independent media owners on their digital strategy. Carolyn regularly speaks and moderates panels at media conferences.
Follow Carolyn on twitter @carolynrmorgan
Connect to her on Linked in at https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolynmorgan
Read her blog at http://www.penmaen.media