Report:AEV Marketing & Communications working group - 12th July
The Association of Event Venues' Marketing and Communications working group convened for its second meeting of the year at Ricoh Arena on July 12, with Jazmin Beale of Olympia London in the chair. Beale started the meeting by thanking Ricoh Arena for hosting the event and welcoming four new members to the group, Amy Wilkinson and Angela Perkins from Event City, Rebecca Spencer from NAEC, Stoneleigh, and Rob Mitchell from Ricoh Arena.
Following the apologies the group approved the minutes of the previous meeting in March, before moving on to the agenda discussion topics, beginning with the value of trade advertising. There was a general consensus that, in some cases, resources devoted to trade advertising could be better employed elsewhere. Members spoke of their success with trade advertising, whilst others reported switching to B2C advertising in an effort to reach decision makers.
The subject of e-shots and purchased mailing lists was raised as an alternative to trade advertising, and was met with a little skepticism from members who had had experience of poorly curated mailing lists that required significant time spent sanitising them and removing duplicates. It was noted, however, that this approach had been successful in generating quality business leads for some members, in spite of the sometimes questionable quality of 3rd party mailing lists.
Moving on to the next discussion topic, Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) systems, the group rapidly discovered that most of the members present were in the process of transitioning to new or upgraded systems. There were differences in the solutions chosen, and some member venues were still considering their choice of CRM systems. The group agreed to return to this subject with further progress updates.
Beale then led the group in discussion of how members should get best value out of their association memberships, pointing out that Olympia London holds membership in a number of associations, and that those memberships are regularly reviewed. Martin Keane of Alexandra Palace highlighted that multiple association memberships not only support the associations financially, but that each association has a slightly different focus, and in combination provide a greater depth and breadth of services.
Kim Miles of AEV and Paul Richardson of Vividink PR then briefly reminded the group to upload their press releases onto the AEV website, as they can then be pushed out on social media and further amplified.
The discussion then swung round onto the subject of measuring reach and impact, particularly with regard to social media, e-shots and web interactions. Keane reported that his team uses Google Analytics and Hootsuite for social/web measurement and analysis. Richardson recommended the HubSpot system, which provides exhaustive measurements and metrics for online marketing. This aroused some interest amongst the members, and the group resolved to try and organise a presentation for HubSpot. Richardson agreed to circulate a HubSpot case study, explaining the service and the system, with the minutes of the meeting, and to contact HubSpot with a view to arranging a presentation to the group.
There then followed a group discussion about how individual venues dealt with visitor enquiries, especially examine response times and frequency of checking. During the course of the discussion, venues reported very different sequences and pipelines handling visitor enquiries.
When the group turned its attention to the final discussion point, promoting clients shows, considerable discussion was generated. Again, it emerged that many venues have very different approaches to promoting their clients' shows. Some provide a free, basic, email campaign with the option of paid-for extensions and enhancements. Others do it all for free, and keep all communications to a strict house style, ensuring consistency of output, whilst others offer the service as a completely separate marketing offering, and manage it accordingly.
With the discussion points covered the meeting then moved on to a very busy session of round table news and venue updates that featured refurbishments, improvements and new service offerings at BDC, Harrogate International Centre, Alexandra Palace, Ricoh Arena, Event City, Telford International Centre and Olympia, London.
The meeting concluded with the group agreeing on a number of agenda items for the next meeting which will be arranged to coincide with International Confex. With all agenda items complete and no other business, Beale thanked the group for attending and closed the meeting.