Hosting your own events gives you control over the attendees, the agenda and the outcome.
Networking and trade show events for new business is often a total waste of time. Attendees are focused on their own personal agendas. A more efficient and effective way to spend your time is to host your own events.
Hosting events can benefit your agency in many ways:
1. Replenishes and Grows Relationships
Lasting business relationships don’t just happen. It takes a dedicated amount of time and energy to build them. Even though forming relationships is a necessary part of new business success, most agencies don’t have a consistent strategy to build and maintain them. I recommend that agency’s leverage the power of hosting events to consistently engage with current clients, former clients and prospects.
2. Showcases Your Space
Most small to midsize agencies that I’ve worked with have fantastic space for hosting events. What a great opportunity to create your own visibility and feature your agency’s coolness and culture. Give your clients and prospects a reason to visit. It’s better than a brochure for illustrating your agency’s unique space.
3. Fires Up Public Relations for Your Agency
Public relations usually focuses on pitching and placing stories , but an event is different. I think it’s a much better strategy to increase awareness and appeal for your agency’s brand. It also provide personalized engagement with the media and your primary target audience.
4. Creates a Positioning of Expertise and Thought Leadership
Agencies understand the importance of building a brand and creating a differentiated market position, but they seldom do it for themselves. Hosting events provides a way to build a positioning of expertise to a specific target audience.
Here’s an example of how to build a positioning of expertise through events.
The Barkley agency in Kansas City, is the largest 100% employee-owned advertising agency in the U.S. They found a niche sponsoring research on Millennials back in 2011. The research led to the founding of the Share.Like.Buy conference, the world’s first Millennial Insights & Marketing Conference.
The conference is attended by CEOs, CMOs, chief awareness officers, researchers and educators. There are also many prospective clients represented.
They’ve able to attract an amazing list of speakers from national brands, such as:
- Facebook: Eva Hung, Head of Direct Sales Marketing & Communications
- Frito Lay: Rudy Wilson, Vice President of Marketing
- MTV: Jeff Lucas, Head of Sales, Networks, Music & Entertainment Groups
- Sony Music: Dan Pelson, Executive Vice President, Global Direct to Consumer Operations
- Six Flags: David McKillips, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances
- Sonic: Danielle Vona, Chief Marketing Officer
Share.Like.Buy, continues to be the largest, most comprehensive conference for marketing to Millennials. It is a significant traffic generator for new business.
5. A Tool for Community Development
Building an engaged online community is now a core responsibility of business development, but many agencies struggle with building an online community.
Here’s a crucial tip for building your online community of prospects: Stop trying to sell your agency.
It’s not about touting your credentials, capabilities and case studies. You will never build an online audience of prospects without providing value. Hosting your own event for potential clients contributes value as you provide solutions to their challenges and present information that is relevant to their needs.
Connecting with your audience online through content and social media to fuel offline meetings is no longer an emerging trend; it’s an important element in creating a sustainable and consistent new business program.
In 2015, I hosted the first inbound marketing conference that was specific for agency new business, A New Approach to New Business. The event was held in the new $623 million Music City Conference Center in Nashville. The two-day conference featured four keynote sessions and twenty breakout sessions conducted by twenty-two speakers. We were able to exceed our attendance goal because we built an online community of prospects by creating an event that they highly regarded.
6. A Focus for New Business
“If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.”
Those charged with new business often neglect to plan their work and work their plan. Including events into your new business plan helps the new business team to know what they need to do, how to do it and when to do it. You’ll be able to create a marketing calendar that lays out a month-by-month schedule of your new business activities for the entire year.
Over the last 9 years I’ve used conferences, seminars, summits, retreats, workshops and webinars to provide new business training for advertising, digital, media and PR firms throughout the U.S., Canada and the UK. I’ve found events to be an incredible new business tool, not only for me, but also for my clients.
Add EVENTS to your agency’s new business arsenal.