Emotion: the Missing Link in Too Many Event Promotions

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I get a lot of marketing and promotional materials for the various different conferences. And a lot of those organizations have e-newsletters and magazines that they use to promote their events. But little of it charms me quite the way something that landed in my in-box this morning did.

It came from CME consultant Derek Warnick, founder and co-producer of something called CMEpalooza. It started as a free two-day, 22-session, Google Hangouts-based program Derek ran out of his office because, frankly, he looked at what was currently available for continuing medical education providers and thought, hey, I could do that. The live and archived sessions were a big hit, so Derek partnered with one of my favorite former Medical Meetings columnists Scott Kober, senior director of educational strategy at the Institute for Continuing Healthcare Education to up the ante a bit for CMEpalooza Fall. This will be a one-day event in October that will feature a series of panel discussions focused on timely, relevant education for the CME community, again streamed live and available on demand afterward. For free. The presenters are all the top people in their fields, and the topics look awesome.

So what's different about the CMEpalooza promo?

• It reflects the actual personality of an actual human, who signs it with his name and every possible way to get in touch with him.

• It links to an online newsletter, which offers some pretty compelling Google Hangout video of one of the moderators and Scott talking about some hot topics she'll be covering in her session, along with snippets of transcript for those who don't want to watch the video. So you get to sample how the format they'll be using in October will work, and get your appetite whet for what's to come.

• The tone and style of the promo and the e-newsletter has a this-is-for-us-by-us groove that makes you want to root for the event. An item about website stats that normally would be a bit of a turnoff for me, since it's all about the organizers, not the potential attendee, makes me want them to reach their goals.

• There's a quiz that's just fun, though I'm now aware that my knowledge of all things Palooza is sorely lacking.

So it's fun, friendly, informal, and provides some advance idea of the content you'll learn and the technology you'll learn it through. You know it's marketing, of course it is, but it also gives you a preview of how the event will make you feel, which is sorely lacking in most promos. Yes, it's good to know there will be a bazillion speakers at XY event and it will cover the hottest of topics, but will it bore us to death? Or will it make us curious? Or will it make us feel like peers learning from peers in an open and non-judgmental way? Will we get to hang out with the cool kids and have some of their coolness rub off on us? How will it make us feel when we get there (virtually or face to face)?

While the emotional appeal may not be what will help sell your boss on paying for you to attend, but it is what will make you try your best to sell said boss on the idea. Or just show up, in this case.

What makes or breaks an event promotion for you? What have you found to strike a chord with your potential attendees? Drop a comment below or e-mail me if you have any suggestions to share.

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