MPI Perspective - October 2009 - (Page 13)

member p ear l s By Janice Cuban The Recipe for High-Impact Event Communications Pre-event, on-site and post-event promotion is one of the most important parts of a successful meeting, yet this essential ingredient can sometimes fall short on freshness and innovation, or worse, go on “auto-pilot.” Great, versus average and poor, communication for your meeting can make the difference between a loyal customer and an unhappy prospect turning to the competition. The meeting itself is, of course, center stage, but it is a mere empty shell without attendees. A positive communication experience mixes high interest in going to the event, strong engagement on site, followed by personal attention after the event. Whether the focus is on customers, prospects or a mix of both, there are effective and easy ways to optimize communication throughout the event cycle. to who they are individually; it will be worth the time and they will remember ber the effort. Incorporate Social Media into Your Strategy Wisely It may seem like everyone is on Facebook and Twitter but event planners should use these social media tools strategically, not just because they are popular. This also goes back to segmenting your audience — are they Twitter followers and want communication this way? Are they Facebook fans? Determine balanced intervals to relay teasers and event information on these tools. Beware of social media overload and refrain from blatant company promotion. Create a Path for Success Sharp focus on the attendee means a detailed plan with a strategy and set of deliverables before, during and after the event. Even if the meeting is annually held or repeated often, it still demands new and fresh messaging and communication vehicles. Meeting communication starts with a solid foundation and shouldn’t be relegated to a line item on a spreadsheet as a “logistic.” Nothing Replaces In-Person Connection As important as formalized communication is before and after events, having face-to-face interaction during the event is your best source of memorable and positive perception of a company — and potentially future sales. Be sure to include mini-group and one-on-one meetings along with the regular agenda. Plan for offsite events, meals, hospitality suites, cocktail parties and other opportunities to leverage in-person contact. Encourage the client to keep you in the loop with side meetings (ideally informing you well in advance of the event, not five minutes before!) so you can offer any promotional or logistical support. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Once your event theme, messaging and graphic look are “baked,” use those elements in all of your promotions throughout the event so customers can quickly connect to the company, whether it’s an email they received or glancing at on-site signage. Using cluttered or unrelated company messaging and graphics can result in attendees feeling confused and even annoyed. Ensure that any sponsors and partners are aware of the communication plan and deliverables and provide them materials for their invitees to ensure consistency and to avoid duplication. It’s Not About You — Completely Most importantly, the event experience should be focused on your attendees, not the company. Of course the client has objectives for the meeting, but put yourself in your customers’ shoes and their different priorities. Attendees are at various comfort levels, interest and loyalty with the company — and are attending to achieve one or more goals themselves: gathering information, considering evaluation, networking with colleagues, and more. All communication tools should be focused on their needs pre-, onsite and post-show. In other words, not only is the customer king, but communication is king. ● Janice Cuban is principal of LiveWire Communications, a marketing communications consulting firm in Sunnyvale, Calif. Her expertise is in developing and executing communications solutions for events, corporate and product launches, and direct marketing programs. She can be reached at or (408) 739-8446. MPINCCperspective | VOL. 28, NO. 2 | 13 Just Say No to Generic Targeted database marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive attendance to an event. Your client’s best database is always going to be their internal one. Don’t waste this opportunity to lump all prospects together. Every customer has a different history and is at various stages in the purchasing cycle. Scour web analytics for history and behavior markers to customize communications to groups and show you know them. For example, customers who went to the user conference last year should receive a letter welcoming them to attend the event again instead of treating them as a “newbie.” Show that you are paying attention

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - October 2009

MPI Perspective - October 2009
President’s Message
Continental Shift
Team Building Events with a Philanthropic Twist
MPINCC – Shaping Careers Throughout the Years Getting to know … Matthew Schermerhorn, CMP
Member Pearls
CMP U — Experience, Knowledge, Support
Chapter Chatter
Team Building Activities in Winter
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - October 2009