The Big Marketing Mistake Most Events Make — and How to Fix It

You’ve probably seen plenty of event highlight videos. They’re the three-minute sizzle reels with footage of a few people talking on stage, some attendees having fun at a networking reception, and other typical conference activities — all with high-tempo stock music soundtracking the summary. While this approach seems to be accepted throughout the event industry, Sourabh Kothari, director of advocacy, brand, and content for Signifyd, thinks it fails to tell any meaningful details about the experience.

“Stop trying to make a video about your event and how great it was,” Kothari told an audience of meeting professionals and suppliers at PCMA Convening Leaders 2017. “It’s over.”

All the footage of crowds in the general session might seem like a good way to remind non-attendees that they missed out on the action, but for Kothari, it fails to deliver any compelling reasons for people to consider registering for future events. “The truth is that could all be B-roll,” Kothari said. “I didn’t learn anything from that video about your event, which means I’m probably not going to that event. Why would I? It’s just an event like every other event.”

So what should your marketing team focus on promoting? The content. “People are deciding which events to attend based on the agenda,” Kothari said. “The event is just the packaging.”

Rather than using the lights and the action to connect with more people who might join online or face-to-face the following year, Kothari recommends that event marketers unwrap the packaging — to make sure prospective attendees get a preview of the speakers they’ll meet and the sessions they’ll participate in. He offered a simple formula for success: capture two of the most powerful points from the opening keynote speech, one strong moment from the closing, and two additional points from breakout sessions during the rest of the event. With those five key takeaways, Kothari thinks any event-marketing team can create a video that generates more excitement about the education and inspiration that attendees will find at the event.

“When you get really good at this, you’ll use three points, and it will be under one minute,” Kothari said. “And that video will get watched a lot.”

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