Sunday, July 29, 2007

As attendance levels drop, the opportunities don’t need to.

Every B2b brand owner and every agency is worried about the increasingly larger numbers of “dropout” audiences at their business / lead generating events. On the surface the concern seems serious; the brand spends a lot of time (and monies) targeting, reaching out and securing registrations from its potential customers, channel partners and more. It then spends monies in staging an event, where-in, the dreaded attrition sets in.

Agencies and B2b brand owners are now battling a 50-60% attrition at most business cities across Asia and the reasons are multiple ranging from the prospect receiving too many invitations to attend forums (and getting pursued too hard by the agencies), to not enough content in the forum and also to deadlines at work back at the office.

So as the attrition percentage increases, is this the beginning of the end of the business events?

Far from it! But it is the beginning of the need to attract and retain attention. It is not enough to host an event in a fancy hotel with an excellent F&B spread – the serious prospect does not dig it anymore. The ability of these events to generate good ROI is increasingly reducing.

Content is king. It is better to host fewer but more powerful forums. While the logic is simple, very few seem to get it. Delegates complain to having to spend time on a subject which deserves nothing more than a white paper. Brand owner’s need to go easy on blatantly & naked lead generation oriented sales pitches at events.

However, attrition is the part of the game and hence the logical thing to do is to ensure that you have a plan to address the “drop-outs”. The plan has to integral to the overall plan to host the event. The techniques of addressing the drop-outs are plenty but thy need to be an integral part of the campaign.

Some of the more efficient tactics include a CRM program which is designed to address the drop outs, by way of access to whitepapers, presentations, courseware and methods of communicating to presenters like a well moderated discussion forum. Access to a delayed web-cast of the forum is another great way to reach the delegates who are interested, but are unable to attend the physical event. The analytics linked to the web-cast allows an excellent filtering mechanism to zero down on the interested potential customers. Review a good example of a web-cast here.

The law of percentages and a 50% attrition level; ensures that a well crafted and an integrated campaign to address the “drop-outs” will increase the ROI by 100% from its current levels. Don’t fret attrition, learn to ride it.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Shatter the classic servicing dilemma.

Over the years and through hundreds of client meetings we have observed the various issues which are of great criticality for the client, and his / her key expectations from the agency and have tried plotting them together to unearth an interesting trend – there are only 3 expectations which a client has from his agency. (esp his marketing services agency)

Of a lot of expectations which a client might discuss (which he believes he has from his agency) when giving a brief, they all boil down to the three most critical once:

1. Need to make the concept / idea “Bigger” and “Better” than what has been done in the past.
2. Need to do the same at “lower” or “effective” costs.
3. Need to have the proposal/ideas/concept/solution at the “earliest”.

Think it thru’ – Is there ever a 4th major issue ?

This is where the dilemma begins; (A state of things in which obstacles present themselves from every side, and is difficult to determine what course to pursue, a vexatious alternative or predicament; a difficult choice or position.)

However, like the corners of a triangle which cannot meet, this dilemma cannot be resolved by regular procedures.

Tell the client he does not have the privilege of 3 options but of 2 - any two, in order for him to resolve the dilemma and for the agency to give him a solution which meets the objectives.

He can choose:

Option 1: Better & Faster but not Cheaper
If the solution has to be great and it needs to be turned around in a short time, it will need a lot of energy and hence it cannot be cheap to provide that service. This solution would be expensive.

Option 2: Better & Cheaper but not Faster
If the clients wants a solution which is great but has major budget problems and also want it to be cheap, then a solution could be presented but the same would take time to conceptualize.

Option 3: Faster & Cheaper but not Better
If the client is in a hurry to implement a solution and wants it cheap then the solution cannot be great.

Use the simple triangle, to help resolve the issue for yourselves, the client and the agency. When you are able to BUST this dilemma and clarify the position to the client you will have the ease of communicating the requirements internally and present to the client the solution which he or she is really looking for.