5 Ways Advocates Can Help You Make The Most Of Your Next Event

Each year, it seems like there are more and more conferences, trade shows and other industry events to attend on every possible topic you can think of – especially in marketing. As a result, the trade show and conference planning industry generates $14 billion in revenue each year in the U.S. alone.

5 Ways Advocates Can Help You Make The Most Of Your Next Event

Once you factor in ticket prices, travel and accommodations, the cost can balloon to at least a few thousand dollars per person, putting a sizeable dent in your budget.

It’s not surprising, then, that 39% of chief marketing officers say they find managing the escalated costs associated with events and trade shows challenging.

And yet, 89% of CMOs still say that these events are important and valuable to their organizations.

Through speaking and sponsorship opportunities, trade show floor booths, networking and other strategies, sales and marketing teams can make these events worth your while, and actually come out in the black instead of the red.

But there’s one revenue-generating tool that marketers often overlook when planning to attend conferences, trade shows and other events: your advocates.

Here are just a few of the ways that mobilizing your company’s advocates can help you create buzz, build relationships and acquire new customers before, during and after the next event your team attends:

Showcase your advocates in your presentation

Crowd-source content from your advocates to include in your presentation (and give them credit, of course) or share customer success stories in a way that recognizes individual advocates for their hard work.

You’ll make your customers and other advocates look like rockstars in front of their industry peers!

Check the floorplan to see which advocates are nearby

Are any of your customers or other advocates near your booth? You may not be able to control where you are placed on the floor, but if your advocates are within sight that’s a huge plus.

After Dreamforce last year, a technology journalist I know couldn’t stop raving about a founder who, after being interviewed about his company, walked the journalist across the trade show floor to introduce him to a happy customer at their own booth. The customer was ready and willing to be interviewed about their experience, so the entrepreneur simultaneously made the journalist’s job a whole lot easier (making it much more likely that he’d cover the founder’s company in the future) and received a solid press hit.

Attendees filing into a conference roomSpread your advocates’ excitement for your upcoming session

There’s nothing like a packed room to cement the fact that people should be paying attention to your company.

Leading up to the event, send the details of your session – date, time, room number, title, abstract, speaker Twitter handles, conference hashtag, etc. – to your advocates who will also be in attendance.

When they share with their networks that they are specifically excited to attend your session, they’re passively recommending you and encouraging others to check it out as well.

Invite your advocates to hang out at your booth

Passersby will be expecting to learn about your company from founders and employees, so you can impress the pants off of them by bringing one of your advocates into the conversation.

Invite each of your advocates to spend as little as 10 minutes at your booth talking to people about what they’ve achieved while working with your company.

Collect content from your advocates

How often do you get to meet face-to-face with a number of your customers and other advocates in one place?

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to record video testimonials and case studies or take photos with your advocates – great content you can use and reuse long after the event is over.

What are some of the ways you’ve made events more valuable by getting your advocates involved? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Photo credits: Geri CoadyNiels Heidenreich