How to Maximize the Value of Events

People gathered at a corporate conference

By Leisha Douglass, Account Executive, Karbo Communications

Industry events are beneficial for a myriad of reasons. Not only do they let companies connect with potential customers, meet other like minded individuals and learn new things in their industry, but they are also an excellent way to elevate a company’s or an individual’s thought leadership platform and brand awareness. According to Allied Market Research, the global events industry market is projected to reach $2.1 trillion by 2032. This illustrates the significance of events, despite the evolving landscape over the years.

 

Trends in the Event Space

Events in 2024 look different than they have years prior. One large reason for that is due to the pandemic when all events were canceled or postponed due to the global virus. Now, hybrid models for events are becoming the norm, with many in-person events now offering some hybrid component to their packages. In addition to offering flexible attendance, events are now hyper focused on the attendee experience. The main goal of hosting events is to attract people and ensure they want to attend your events in the future. While providing compelling and enticing speakers is still highly important, events today also focus on entertainment and recreational activities to create memorable experiences and keep attendees engaged. Take SXSW for example, an annual event that takes place in Austin, Texas. SXSW is a week-long conference featuring numerous keynote speakers, alongside live music performances, a comedy festival and multiple creative art exhibitions. Events that blend business and fun embody the saying ‘work hard, play hard’, making the event worthwhile for the attendee.

Furthermore, we are increasingly seeing organizations strive to create events that provide accessibility to all – this includes keeping attendees with certain disabilities/needs in mind as well as creating experiences that are inclusive and help create belonging. An excellent example of this approach is SaaStr Annual, a B2B software conference that provides an opportunity to win a free VIP pass to their event for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, including women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals and veterans. Interested attendees must complete a brief application and then will be entered into a raffle for selection. It is essential for events to be inclusive of individuals from different backgrounds including abilities, religions, ethnicities, sexual backgrounds and more.

 

Maximizing the Value of Events with PR 

Events can be very expensive, and companies should plan to dedicate a significant amount of time researching how each event will impact their business in terms of: the audience/attendees, the caliber of companies participating, the awareness opportunities, if speaking will make an impact, if thought leadership or networking is needed, and more. There’s a lot that goes into consideration, however, your PR firm can do all the heavy lifting for you. 

Here are a few ways companies can maximize the value of events with PR:

  • Speaking sessions: Benefits of speaking at an event include capturing attention from a targeted and high-value audience, demonstrating industry leadership with thought-provoking content and elevating your brand/company’s profile with key audiences.
  • Live interviews at events: When partnering with a PR firm, oftentimes they are able to secure the media list of journalists who will be attending that event. After receiving the list, it is crucial to review each journalist to determine if they are a fit for a live interview/meeting during the event. If there is a match, your PR firm can help prep you for the interview. The objective of these interviews is to have a reporter feature your company in their story and to build a relationship with that reporter, increasing the likelihood that they will use you as a source for future articles.
  • Post-show initiatives: Even after the event concludes, there are opportunities to maximize PR efforts around attending an event. One idea is to pitch a byline with the executive/employee who attended the event on lessons learned or top trends stemming from the event. Companies can also utilize social media content from the event for the following weeks/months. This can be throughout pictures, videos, recap blogs, and LinkedIn Live sessions to discuss key takeaways from the event.

 

Biggest Challenges

One of the biggest challenges with attending industry events is breaking through the noise. Of course it depends on the size of the event, but there are likely going to be dozens of other companies attending the same event who are also competing for a speaking slot, media interviews and networking opportunities. The way to stand out amongst the crowd is to have a defined goal when you enter the event. Having a goal will help you stay focused. If your goal is to secure a speaking session or schedule interviews with relevant journalists, make sure that your pitch is memorable and unique. Reporters are bombarded with elevator pitches during events, so it is imperative to make yours attention-grabbing.

 

While there are several details to consider when debating attending an event, it is important to evaluate how the event aligns with your company’s objectives and goals. Consider the significance of the event to your industry, the potential networking/speaking opportunities, and the value of the content and the speakers. Most of Karbo Com’s clients utilize our event expertise to help drive visibility that contributes to their larger marketing goals.

 

 

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