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Marketing Public Conferences

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 14 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Marketing Public Conferences

A public conference is one where members of the public are invited and the success or failure of the event is largely governed by the number of people who attend. There are other types of conference that are closed, for example a single company conference or a political conference, where the public are not invited and attracting people to them therefore ceases to be a problem.

Marketing from a Solid Standpoint

Marketing and advertising are the major methods of getting people to sign up for a conference, although of course these will only work if they are built on a solid foundation. This means that the conference agenda must be attractive to the target market, the subject matter relevant, the public speakers prestigious and respected and the venue attractive and easy to reach.

Assuming that's all sorted the next problem is to let people know about it. Exactly how you go about doing this will depend on the type of conference it is, the size of the market you are aiming at and the links that you have with existing methods of getting at that target market.

Magazines and Newspapers

For example many technology conferences are sponsored by magazines operating in the relevant segment. The magazine will be looking to expand it's readership through it's involvement in the conference and you will be hoping that they will attract many delegates through advertisements and editorial in the magazines. If you don’t have a tie-in with a relevant magazine then perhaps it's worth approaching some in the relevant sector and asking if they are willing to enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement.

For a wider audience advertising in the media may well do the trick, although this is usually more effective with a conference that has an exhibition attached to it., particularly if it is the general public that you are appealing to. There are directories available that list all publications in the UK and around the world, no matter how obscure the specialism.

Internet Advertising

Newspaper and magazine advertising can still deliver the goods but increasing Internet advertising is eating into their markets. If the subject matter of the conference is one that will work with Internet marketing, start plugging away with ads, blogs, entries and groups on social networking sites and videos and pictures on sharing sites.

Using cross-site networking you should be able to get a relatively high profile for the event, although the amount of work involved may not make it worthwhile and can distract from other work. It's worth considering asking an Internet marketing company to do this work for you if you think there's a chance it might deliver.

Invite Previous Conference Delegates

The last advertising avenue to mention here is the first one you should resort to – previous conference attendees. They are your best bet, people who have previously made the effort to attend the conference.

If the conference is a new one, try and get a delegate list from a similar conference or a sister conference in a slightly different subject matter. It might cost a lot but it will probably be worth it.

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