“A picture is worth a thousand words” an age-old phrase, but one that has never felt more relevant to us marketers than it does today. Used strategically visual marketing is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools available. Yet it is also an approach that’s massively underutilized by the conference industry.

Appreciating the unparalleled power of visual media, social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are continually evolving their interfaces to leverage its appeal. Just last month Twitter introduced its native video feature, while back in 2014 Facebook treated its sponsors to larger visual adverting spaces (with which it boasted up to 3x more engagement), to name just a few cases! Off the back of this B2C businesses are already reaping the benefits, but why is it that B2B event marketers seem hesitant to join?

Perhaps it is due to our industry wide assumption that, when it comes to B2B marketing content has to appeal to the organisations needs, rather that those of the actual purchaser or user. With this in mind, conference marketing sees a heavy focus on the fact and figures, and more precisely how the conference compliments the delegate or sponsor’s professional responsibilities.

While these are indeed vital elements to the decision, there’s definitely more to the equation, and knowledge of this might just set you aside from those close competitors.

 

Preach to the person, not the professional…

The facts and figures approach makes perfect sense when we consider how these methods of verbal communication appeal to the left side of the brain, the side responsible for rational decision-making. Following our earlier assumption, this is how all B2B decision-making is done, right?

Well let’s just think about that for a moment. You may remember an earlier xibo article, which revealed that 21% of delegates see events an excuse to get out of the office. A little disappointing, but far from unsurprising, and furthermore it’s also not exactly rational from a purely professional standpoint!

It turns out delegates attend conferences for a multitude of reasons, including the opportunity to travel and to meet new people. What’s important for us marketers is that we appeal to these emotional desires as well as the rational ones! In order to do this, it is the left, emotional side of the brain we must target, the side that is more susceptible to visual incentives.

 

We’re all human after all…

Whether you operate in B2B or B2C markets, the purchaser is always human. Just because he or she may have their business hat on, doesn’t mean their brain is working any differently. 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual, and it’s then processed at a rate that’s 60’000 times faster than text. So it is any wonder then that visual social media posts receive 94% more engagement than those without!? Scientifically, by sharing visual representations of your event whether that be a video of a speaker, or a picture of the venue, it’s much more likely to be picked up by, and catch the attention of, a prospective delegate or sponsor and entice them to your website.

 

Selling without the sales pitch…

Let’s face it. No one likes the cold sell! Having someone else tell us what we want isn’t appealing. Instead of making us want their service, it often does the opposite and makes us want to run a mile. Your problem then lies in communicating your message effectively without a whiff of a sales pitch. Tricky right? Images offer a much subtler way to get your message across without putting pressure on the customer. For instance, instead of telling everyone that your event boasts the largest expo hall in the country, show them on Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest! By doing this you can share much more information with you audience, with a much more likely outcome of interest rather than recoil.

In the cutthroat industry of B2B events, it seems physical and factual points of differentiation are only part of the parcel when it comes to attendee decision-making. Not to mention, as our lives become more interactive and fast-paced marketers must look to further and more appealing methods of cutting through the noise. Visual marketing could be the answer. Along side your traditional marketing efforts; visual media will form a more alluring conference from a psychological and emotional standpoint. And with social media platforms gearing up to become increasingly optimised for this form of media, you’d be a fool not to sow the seeds early to reap the biggest rewards!