Recruiting attendees for your next marketing event may not be as simple as it looks. The tendency here is to assume that you know how to do this, and when everyone seems too busy to get involved, to assume that a call center is a great alternative. The problem is, I have yet to see this work. Since event attendees really need to be management level, and if possible, senior level – asset owners, there is more selling required here than might be obvious. A track record from past events suddenly becomes irrelevant when you look back and realize, most of your events have been sold out to IT and other non-asset owners.
In a recent event, where the invitation process was contracted out, I was told by the manager of the call center, “We are professionals and don’t require any input.” Wow! That’s great, so I can stop worrying about attendance, and just show up to speak on the appointed date? Far from it. Instead, their response turned into a last minute fire drill, with rooms rented, food ordered, speakers paid for, and only 2 qualified attendees signed up. With two weeks to go, this solution provider was forced to either cancel and take a loss of the committed expenses, or open the doors to unqualified IT-level attendees. The lesson here is this; the call center can fill seats, but it takes a higher level of expertise to reach people who can actually buy something. Our event went forward, with predictable results. A long list of attendees, high attrition on the day of the event, and very few resulting sales. Event marketing can be highly effective, but when approached incorrectly, can produce “nothing” at a great cost.
© 2011, David Stelzl