In the next couple of weeks, two of the biggest events in the offshore wind and maritime calendars are taking place – Offshore Wind Energy 2017 in London on 6-8 June, and Seawork International in Southampton on 13-15 June.
Thankfully, this year they’re not taking place in the same week, which will no doubt be a relief for the many firms that have interests in both sectors – Tamarindo included!
But it’s nonetheless going to be a busy fortnight for new business development, sales, marketing and communications teams as they seek to ensure that their voice is heard amongst the ‘conference noise’, that diaries are filled with as many meetings and introductions as possible, and that these conversations turn into promising leads.
Provided attendance is good, the major industry trade shows and conferences are still a strong driver of deals and new business. Seawork, in particular, is an established fixture for UK and European vessel operators and maritime service providers, remaining a focal point for the industry. Likewise, the more specialised RenewableUK / WindEurope conferences such as Offshore Wind Energy continue to see good footfall.
That said, maximising opportunities at these events has arguably become more of a challenge in recent years, and this is not only creating a need for effective research and preparation, but also encouraging firms to really scrutinise their marketing budgets and identify where to focus their conference spend.
Working the room…
When it comes to preparation – and making the most of the conversations you do have – in the heat of the moment it can be remarkably easy to forget some of the basics of event networking. David's guide on the subject might just come in handy at ‘beer o’clock’ in the afternoon when the exhibition hall turns into a free bar!
However, as a rule, most of our readers will no doubt already be veterans in the art of ‘working the conference floor’. What is perhaps less well appreciated is how to continually refine the way your business typically operates in and around a major trade show – and how to make the most of your events budget.
…Even when you’re not in the room
Last year, Roland wrote about the role your communications team can play at a major event, and why Tamarindo continues to support its clients throughout the conference season. However, increasingly, we’re hearing that it’s not what happens at an event that really makes a difference to our clients, but what happens around that event.
While many larger firms continue to experience good results by committing budget to a flashy stand at an exhibition, sometimes just attending will be enough, and sometimes, with the support of a timely communications campaign, you might not need to attend at all to get your message across.
What that means in practice is that, on some occasions, a press release or a media interview, timed to coincide with a conference, might have a greater impact with your target audience than buying exhibition passes for your whole team.
The DIY approach
Going one step further, we’re seeing an increasing drive amongst our clients towards organising their own seminars, forums and networking receptions. These can be delivered as a sub-event within the wider conference programme, but are often more effectively managed as an entirely separate initiative, either on the fringes of a larger event, or at a completely different time and place.
While it might not be suitable for every business, the advantages of this approach are fairly evident. Assembling your clients and prospects in a room together provides direct, undiluted access to the people you are trying to influence.
What is clear is that, in rethinking the way the budget for events is assigned – whether directed towards a supporting media campaign or a sub-event – opportunities can be created for greater, more in-depth engagement.
We’re always happy to have a conversation about the work we do organising specialist seminars and events for our clients. In the meantime, we look forward to meeting as many of you as we can over the next couple of weeks!
Ready for a chat?
If this has gotten you thinking – you have some questions – or you want to talk to us about what happens next, then please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.Get in touch