GPJ and Buzzfeed talk ROI and social media at events

GPJ and Buzzfeed have been discussing ROI and social media’s role in event marketing, at a breakfast event at Bvlgari Hotel, Knightsbridge, this morning (17 July).

Kevin Jackson, VP of Sales and Marketing at GPJ, who organised the event, said ROI was about leads and referrals, engagement, ‘brand love’ and cost.
 
Jackson discussed how small fiscal returns are often insignificant if you create word of mouth. He used Secret Cinema – an experiential film experience – as an example. “The investment in these events is sizeable, the financial gains are small but the returns via engagement are huge,” he added.
 
Jackson said it was important to lay out what you are measuring before an event. “There’s nothing worse than the CEO asking ’yeah but did you measure that?’. Know  the plan, and keep people informed from the start.”
 
Buzzfeed’s VP of advertising Will Hayward discussed the history of Buzzfeed, and how experiences lay at the core of the business.
 
“A huge proportion of our traffic comes from social sharing. The primary driver of sharing for us is humour,” he added.
 
Hayward discussed how niche interests often have more potential to be shared. “People often share to prove who they are,” he added.
 
“At Buzzfeed, we believe that social is a layer on which everything on the web sits. Home pages don’t matter anymore.”
 
He discussed ‘content and context’. “We need content and experiences which are good enough that people take the time to recommend you to their friends,” he added.
 
“You wouldn’t go to a party and behave like a banner ad. Think of your audience, think of their objectives.”
 
Gareth Dimelow, Head of Strategy and Planning at George P Johnson, went on to discuss Cisco Live, which was organised by GPJ.

“It’s a fantastic encapsulation of all our thinking. There was a feeling five years ago that the event was loosing its mojo, but since it came back it keeps getting bigger – up to 7,500 people – with more senior people attending, and information owners turning up.”
 
He added that social media had been transformative for the event. “We’ve gained greater access to who these visitors are. Social media allows us to know their concerns, their inhibitors. We know where they shop, where they dress.”
 
“The event allows us to have a year long voice. Social media conversations mean you can not only talk to, but manage, that community. It takes a sophisticated and confident brand to do that.”
 
Using an analogy for live events, and social, Dimelow said: “We want to laugh at the content on Buzzfeed, but then we want to meet with our friends down the pub later.”
 
Dimelow went on to discuss how Cisco Live’s website allowed access to content that delegates may have missed on the day.
 
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Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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