Many companies and organizations still attend and participate in tradeshows around the world on an annual basis and it is still an integral part of sales and marketing. But, more companies today are producing their own events that are targeted specifically at a cetain demographic, decision maker, and/or consumer. Some may say though that this is not a smart thing to do, yet others say this is the better way than a traditional tradeshow and yes, it is debateable. You have to look at it from different angles though and for some, it is the smartest thing to do with your marketing budget.
This week in Stuttgart, Germany, Nokia held the Nokia World 09 in the Messe Stuttgart ICS. The event was a conference with an area referred to as the experience lounge, various forms of entertainment, and numerous product launches and announcements. Nokia themselves refer to this as an event on their website and not a tradeshow or summit. Like many private events, this was an open invite to all with a fee for attendance. If you view the various video highlights, presentations, and keynotes posted on the site, you will find new products, partnerships, services, and announcements. Nokia has some great examples of how a great event should work. A simple, easy to understand agenda is posted for public viewing to garner attention and excitement, profiles of speakers and participants, videos from the week and keynotes, new product previews and write ups, social marketing links and options, and information that is easy to get to.
Nokia may have hit a grand slam with certain elements of the event, but not all. If you have ever been to Stuttgart and the Messe specifically, you know that this is not the ideal location for an event. Location is a key element in a direct event and it can sometimes be a deal breaker. Stuttgart is hard to get to; you have to connect in from another major airport. The Messe is not close to the city center and there is not much in the immediate area. Although, the Messe is right next to the airport which makes that convenient. To bring a large group into a small city is great for industry and tourism, but makes it tough sometimes for attendees. Perhaps Nokia could have chosen a location with ammenities and services closer to the Messe? In a conversation with a Nokia representative yesterday, the question was asked, “why was this in Stuttgart and not in Barcelona?” The short answer related to the economy and perception. Perhaps that is correct, that doing an event in Stuttgar is less expensive than Spain, but does in the long run does it make it cheaper for the attendee?
What can we take away from this event though? Does it work? When produced effectively, a private and direct event can work. Key elements to a successful event include location, timing, advertising and marketing, messaging, pricing, draw and attraction, and support. Nokia still participates at industry tradeshows throughout the year, but by holding their own event, they targeted specific people, to come and have a more intimate experience. There are many great keys to a successfule event and Nokia did utilize some of them. If you too are trying to determine if a tradeshow or direct event is the right course for you and your company, let us know. Our experiences and knowledge can help you in this determination and perhaps, create an event like Nokia’s to help grow your business.