PCMA Convening Leaders 2019: Redefining your events approach

Credit: Kritchanut/Getty Images
Credit: Kritchanut/Getty Images

The business events industry, as with many industries, has much in common with a factory assembly line, which is the unfortunate drive to "do what you did yesterday, but faster", according to speaker and marketing expert Seth Godin.

Speaking at the opening of PCMA's Convening Leaders 2019 conference in Pittsburgh, Godin returned to the basics of the industry: to make a difference through connecting people. 

But conferences today often miss the mark, and have become what Godin considers to be "very strange artefacts of days gone past" that waste the "extraordinarily precious assets of prime, unsquandered attention".

Beyond merely improving on how an event is being marketed, organisers need to re-think the entire process, starting from the audience it seeks to serve and how it executes these at an event.

A common pitfall for conferences, says Godin, is that they typically "try to avoid creating tension within the event among attendees because it is scary to do so." 

But for conferences to succeed in this age of information explosion, the new standard that event marketers should think about is how to create the "fear of missing out". Forget merely focussing on the promise of good speakers, beautiful venues and  checking all the boxes such as a RFP-focused approach.

"Think about the smallest viable group of people to thrive on and ignore everyone else," says Godin. "Try to do well by everyone and you will fail."

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