Confex brought together a vast array of international B2B conference organisers, buyers and suppliers to Olympia London this March. The exhibitors ranged from the widely recognised Mercedes-Benz to smaller companies, all promoting their event services and products to assert themselves as contenders within the industry.

These companies showcased their event services with a plethora of original, eye catching ideas. Hiring the HAKA to be present at an event was certainly something we took notice of, with every hour, a large horn sounding to alert you to their performance. It quite literally stopped everyone in their tracks, demonstrating how appealing promoting yourself in an unexpected way can be.

Taking place off the main exhibition floor was a packed schedule of seminars. Coming from a social media agency that specialises in the events and conference industry, I was particularly eager to attend the variety of seminars tailored to social media strategies and business development.

Summing up the Social Seminars

These seminars were extremely thought provoking with questions asked such as, ‘collectively, why aren’t we using social media more for business?’ With far over a billion people using LinkedIn, Google + and Twitter, why wouldn’t you exploit this avenue for networking to a greater extent?

A few seminars gave more focus to the features of each social media site, whilst others discussed the most effective way of marketing using these specific sites. This was extremely valuable. For example Twitter’s role as a social media outlet for brand content and news, can do wonders for brand awareness, recall and positioning. But with many companies adopting a generic, conveyer belt style of pushing out information, how can they expect their content to be entirely engaging? How will it catch your eye and draw you in? The focal question posed was; why not be a little bit different?

Looking out for what’s trending and exploring how you could use it in relation to your business is a good place to start. It ties in to the importance of posting both the relevant but also the unexpected, two features which will make your content much more appealing than general business chatter.

Visual marketing is also a social media must, and since Twitter enables you to post pictures easily, why not put a picture with most or every tweet? Maximise interest and be creative with what you’re posting and your tweets will appear more exciting. Engagement is also bound to follow suit just by doing these simple things.

So what did I take away?

Every booth had something slightly different, but the most eye catching were without a doubt those who made their approach visually enticing, for example incorporating a performance. Mirroring behaviour on Twitter, the brand whose booths had fewer passers-by were those who had a generic visual branding and little else to draw people in.

Getting a holistic sense of someone’s service or product and making it appeal to all the senses where possible is always going to do better. After all, a survey conducted suggests that after 3 days of a show like Confex, you’ll remember 10% of what you read, but 90% of what you see.

Confex showed me the absolute need for creativity, and hey, isn’t this why we got into marketing in the first place?