Richard John is particularly Industrious this month
It’s been common for years to hear conference organisers talk about building “communities.” Well, that makes sense. Does it happen in real life? Probably not. Organisers start their email campaigns usually when a competitor’s events are on, and the content is rarely compelling, all “me, me, me”.
Then there are a few “come and see our speakers” and “register now” emails, and then, post-event, a desultory, “thanks for coming, here’s a picture of us in the bar.”
One of my favourite marketers is Jon McCulloch, who sends out a daily email full of gossip and ideas, often with quite fruity language. If he forgets, I actually miss it. You see, there’s no such thing as “too much contact” if someone actually has something to say. Oh, and he has a few things to sell, some of which I’ve happily bought, because of the “relationship” we have.
So my meeting with Ananth Ramanathan proved this point. His company, Industrious, has created simple but effective processes for curating and distributing highly relevant third party content to help you build your elusive ‘community’.
The idea isn’t new, of course; platforms like Amazon and eBay and Google have been filling our screens with adverts and messages with an accuracy that suggests a psychic hand at work.
But the meetings industry hasn’t been great at exploiting this technology. Too often the irregular ezines around an event are full of tedious articles that point to the dead hand of some junior PR.
But by providing the choicest, pithiest, most controversial, articles, and getting an informed response from readers, organisers can start to create genuine engagement. Couple that with effective listening tools and readers can start to enjoy curated information that delivers what they really want to know – even before they ask for it! Cue Industrious.
It’s back to the word I’ve banged on about before; segmentation. It’s always been the key to business success, except now your segment can be as small as one person. That means your audience is happy to exchange their details for hot news, tips and information. They become subtly pulled into the quicksand of your sales machine, to become potential delegates, visitors, exhibitors, sponsors or advertisers.
And the lack of any ‘hard sell’ means you’re more likely to not just keep them, but turn them into active participants, rather than passive consumers.
The secret is a combination of big data analytics, complex algorithms, trigger development, neuro-scientific curation and lots of other long words.