Tactics for Building Profitable Events
“It’s also important to know that many folks who commit don’t show up. They might get a call the morning of an event with news of a meltdown at the workplace, and there’s just nothing a publisher can do about that,” says Howell.
The staff at North American Publishing Co.—which manages the Publishing Executive Conference and Expo and the Book Business Conference and Expo—says they consider themselves lucky if they lose only one or two speakers the week leading up to the event or once the show has started. With approximately 150 speakers between the two events (which are co-located and run simultaneously), the chance for work or personal emergencies to occur is fairly high.
If You Build It ...
To maximize attendance, Schwartz urges publishers to focus on irresistible topics and speakers. She says if you have the right keynotes and content, the audience will come.
“This means b-to-b publishers should stay away from presentations that just pitch products,” Schwartz says. “Instead, bring in relevant experts with appropriate backgrounds.”
Schwartz’s group holds summits—such as its annual CIO Summit—conferences, road shows and more, which bring together IT executives, editors and analysts. As far as who is targeted for attendance, Schwartz says various subscriber lists—which, all told, consist of 3.5 million names—are utilized.
Cohen’s company uses e-mail blasts as well, in addition to mailed invitations to its list of advertisers and relevant and influential members of the press.
LPI Media puts on in-store shopping events for which stores such as Macy’s, Levi’s and Armani Exchange will pay a fee. For example, LPI did an event with Levi’s in Union Square, N.Y., for which 200 guests arrived and more than $5,000 in merchandise was sold in two hours. For the in-store events, LPI hands out its magazines. Also, large posters of magazine covers are mounted throughout. Banners, posters, magazines and DVD loops can be seen at many events.