Ditch the conference formula: 3 tips to inspire your next B2B event

This past week, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2016 Experiential Marketing Summit in Denver, CO. Over the course of two days, I was surrounded by the experiential marketing elite and went to nearly a dozen sessions that flooded my mind with inspiration and ideas.

However, this isn’t the case with most trade events. As one presenter stated, “Conferences today have become formulaic with Keynotes, sessions and lanyards.

He continued, “Now, we’re moving into a new conference era where design, function and technology co-exist in the same conference.” Here are some tips to help you create an innovative B2B event that resonates with your attendees.

Ditch the conference formula: 3 tips to inspire your next B2B event

1. Imagine yourself as the attendee

Attendees are more than data points. They are humans whose experience at your event will shape their perception of your brand.

When creating your B2B event, consider these questions:

Who are the attendees?
How do they interact with your brand?
What are their challenges?

Think about how to shape your content to meet the needs of your attendees. We need to stop thinking about attendees as “employees of companies we want to sell to” but as individuals whom we can recruit as brand advocates.

2. Solicit feedback via social media

Leverage the information that your attendees are sharing on social media. Pay attention to their conversations about new industry trends and the kind of content that they’d like to see at your next event. Social media is a great tool for listening to what your prospective customers are saying.

3. Create a community for your attendees

Conference content delivery has changed. It’s no longer enough to do a TED Talk in which one person stands on a stage speaking at attendees. When reimagining your B2B event, think of your attendees not as an audience but as a community. How can you connect them not just to your brand but to each other? What online or in-person forum can you create so that they can share their learnings and have meaningful conversations about their industry?

Think beyond typical conference formats by considering the attendee experience, tools for valuable feedback, and the community that you’re creating.

Now go out and ditch the conference formula!

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