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April 29 2013

The Biggest Meeting Marketing Mistake

By David McMillin, Staff Writer



Have you added an online element to your meeting yet? If you haven’t, it looks like it’s time to figure out the best way to welcome virtual attendees to your experience.

A new survey conducted by the Virtual Edge Institute reveals that meeting planners and meeting marketers are preparing for a continuing increase in the number of online attendees. Among the more than 200 meeting professionals who participated in the survey, 67 percent indicate that their online attendance is trending up.

SEE ALSO: 6 Steps to Take Your Meeting Hybrid

While the VEI survey shows that meeting planners are expecting more attendees to take advantage of virtual education, the results highlight that many meeting marketers are making a very big mistake: they’re failing to capitalize on all the education captured during the meeting. The VEI survey shows that 33 percent of respondents do not have an ongoing marketing strategy to build awareness of their on-demand educational content.

“Content is king,” Mary Reynolds Kane, senior director, experience marketing, PCMA, says. “The actual event may only last for three days, but that content can live on forever.”

“In 2010 we realized that there was an audience out there that we had yet to tap into – people who wanted to learn the latest trends in the meetings industry, but because of budget, workload, and time commitment were unable to join us face-to-face. What a great new market for us it has turned out to be! In January, individuals from 21 countries joined us for the hybrid extensions. We also repackaged our captured content and offered that for onDemand viewing.”

“Some people prefer to learn on their own time and online. Look at the success of the Kahn Academy and venerable learning institutions like MIT, Harvard, and Princeton. I think of it like this – you have already spent months preparing speakers and sessions, why wouldn’t you capitalize on it?” Reynolds Kane adds.

From including call-outs in e-newsletters to social media promotions to banner website advertising, there are plenty of opportunities to promote on-demand educational materials.

“In today’s crowded online world, meeting marketers must take extra steps to ensure their messages stand out,” Reynolds Kane says. “Don’t be shy about promoting all that content. If you can increase your views, listens and downloads, you’ll be taking steps toward reaching your main objective - - increasing your meeting’s ROI and expanding your organization’s reach. Today people are looking for ways to educate themselves – make sure your organization is their go-to both face-to-face and online.”

SEE ALSO: Time for a Status Update: Your Meeting Marketing Strategy

Looking for more insights into how the rest of the industry is approaching online events? Click here to download a full copy of VEI’s Digital Benchmark Report.

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