Do you remember your first ESOMAR Conference!! – The first one is always MAGICAL!! – There is a flurry of activities – creating marketing material – ordering for more business cards – pushing the admin for timely hotel booking – GOSH! Time always seems to fly. You are always looking forward to ESOMAR Conferences as they are the BEST platform for networking & knowledge sharing. In recent times I have seen companies have become BORING in their approach – same old gifts – flashy brochures (which anyone hardly reads) – same plastic smile. I have always wondered is there any foolproof way to calculate ROI on such excursions? The article today illustrates 5 secrets of maximizing your efforts in an ESOMAR Conference.
Secret 1: Speaking Opportunities!!
Everyone wants free undiluted publicity for themselves as well as their companies and what better way than speaking at an ESOMAR Conference. For 35-40 minutes all eyes are on you – the crowd hears you attentively.
Speaking at an ESOMAR Conference is the BEST way to build your brand!!! It projects you as a Subject Matter Expert and imprints a long lasting positive effect on the audience.
Speaking opportunities are not that easy to get – you need to be a person of authority in the domain!
I will suggest you to start small – participate in the local chapters of ESOMAR in your respective countries.
This will give you confidence to move on to bigger conferences.
If you are starting fresh you should aim for at least 2 speaking opportunities – equally spaced in a year.
Go visit ESOMAR Website and see the upcoming conference schedule – select the ones which are relevant to your service domain for e.g. if you represent an Online Panel Company try not to miss the Online Research Conference ESOMAR is conducting.
Register/Subscribe with ESOMAR Newsletter this will help you keep updated on the latest activities.
Speakers are sought by ESOMAR well in advance (5-7 months) before the actual event. This will give you an ample opportunity to prepare thoroughly – but your synopsis for submission should be ready when you are applying for an ESOMAR Conference.
Speaking at an ESOMAR Conference should be your target it might take some time before you get the call from them – but you need to move towards this goal!
Secret 2: Marketing Material!!
No matter what trick do you apply to make your brochure readable – sadly people are not going to read it!!
Accept this harsh reality – no matter how FLASHY your marketing material is – there are 100 companies at an ESOMAR Conference doing the same things.
High probability is that your marketing material at the end of the conference will be lying lonely at a corner.
I personally believe that marketing material is a pure WASTE of time.
People don’t have that much time to go through your services!! – In most cases it is difficult to identify one from another.
At an ESOMAR Conference there is a limited attention span – the problem is that companies want to fill the minds of the potential clients with everything they have to say.
This is a wrong approach – your goal must be to ensure that your brand name rings a bell even after the conference.
To make this happen – AVOID too much information!!
Do not and I repeat myself DO NOT give any marketing material to your clients!!
Well you may say it is BLASPHEMOUS!!! No marketing material –ARE YOU CRAZY!!
Hmmm I am not crazy at all (at least that is what my shrink says!!).
Think for a moment – what you are giving to your potential client is a bunch of flashy designed papers – LIKE 100 OTHER VENDORS!!
Where is the ORIGINALITY??
Why will a potential client remember you??
You did nothing out of the box to grab his attention!!!
Now for the next conference you try this method:
Write a BOOK 300-500 pages – interesting topic – hard copy with top of the line design – sign it – give it to your potential client!!
Ensure that the topic is interesting enough to be read in the flight back home!
The book will have short info about your credentials at the back – put a small logo at every page of the book.
Just imagine – the 400 times your potential client flips the pages of the book – he sees your logo!!
Even if your potential client loses his memory – probably he won’t forget your company logo!!!
Writing such a book will probably take 2 months of your time but it is worth the effort.
Probably you can put this book on Amazon and get some good cash on the side.
Don’t copy what everyone else is doing – THINK DIFFERENT!
Secret 3: Gifts!!
In 2011 I was at the Insight Show in London – foolishly on my part I forgot to bring my laptop charging plug – the charging socket in London are different from that in India. Now my laptop battery was running low – my mobile is long gone – I have no idea or time to purchase a new one.
Suddenly while passing by the CINT stall they offered me the ‘solution’ – it was not costly – it was not fancy – but it served my purpose – I still remember with fond memories how CINT’s gift saved the day for me!!
The moral of the story is – give a gift basis on its “USABILITY”!!
We all are so stuck up with the idea of giving ‘out of the world’ gift that we forget that a gift is meant to bring smile on the face of the receiver!!
In any ESOMAR Conference no matter how much preparation you have done – you will forget some small things to bring along.
Any company offering such ‘forgotten’ items will have more impact than offering wine/chocolates!
The central theme of your gift items should be – ‘ARE THEY USEFUL??’
Secret 4: The TEAM!!
People have often wondered how big the team should we take to an ESOMAR Conference!
For me it is not the count but the people you are taking along with you!
I still remember at one of the ESOMAR Conference in Singapore there was this Indian company which has brought along 8-10 team members – all huddled together – not talking or making any effort to chat up with potential clients.
The result of such excursions is ZERO.
Whatever your team strength may be – have at least one senior member from the Operation team and one person who is technical enough to save the last minute glitches!!
Every team member should have specific clear cut tasks – you don’t get ample time to fool around!!
Be SHARP – Be SPECIFIC!
The 10-15 minutes window you get in between every presentation is all you have to network!!
Every second counts at an ESOMAR Conference.
Secret 5: The FOLLOW UP!!
The real secret behind the success of any ESOMAR Conference participation is CLIENT CONVERSION – it can be only achieved via proper follow up.
Wait for a week after the conference ends – to ensure that clients have reached back home and have cleared their own pile of outlook mails.
The follow up mail should not be a mere thank you note.
Offer them a case study or a research report – to be available after they subscribe to your news letter.
Provide them a small paragraph of your upcoming activities.
Do ask them about the next ESOMAR Conference they may be attending – this way you have head start to prepare a customized tailored made service offer for them.
We all have short memories – out of sight; out of mind.
Participate actively at ESOMAR Conferences – it is worth every single penny spent!!