The term ‘event producer’ is pretty old school. The once straightforward task of managing and marketing an event programme doesn’t really exist anymore. Now, as someone responsible for building an event programme you need to adopt a more editorial role. Furthermore, you are required to be an ‘industry expert’. In other words, you need to understand the content and context of your event and the interests of the B2B audience your event aims to reach.
Why can’t we just put together programmes like we always have?
Event companies that have a single producer churning out unrelated events will suffer due to a lack of specific knowledge on the subject at hand. Producers that are spread thinly across diverse events will not be able to successfully build up a B2B community, as these guys have. Producing a smaller number of tightly related events will help your producers to become industry experts and start establishing communities. This, in turn, will yield several benefits such as delegate retention, loyalty and advocacy.
OK, so what does being an industry expert mean?
To become an industry expert you need to get to grips with the content of your events. This means doing your research. You really need to immerse yourself in your industry to understand the jargon, the key challenges, the painpoints and the key players. Becoming an industry expert also means building strong long-term relationships with significant members of your community.
Ditch being a ‘producer’ and think like an ‘editor’. In your role as an industry expert you should be considered a thought leader, with a strong reputation and you should aim to be respected for your views, just like your publishing counterparts. And just like an editor, you need to become a content engine focused on engaging your audience through quality content.
How do I become an industry expert?
Here’s how you can arm yourself with the necessary tools and knowledge:
Read around your particular industry content in magazines, blogs, whitepapers, ebooks and anything else out there to keep abreast of what’s happening in your field. Consume as much content as possible
Go to events, and be sure to attend the main association's conference, though this might sound like a busman’s holiday!
Get out there and network, talk to key players and find out what’s going on in your industry from those that know it best. And keep a record of it; documenting your interactions on camera is a great idea, as you can repurpose this content to educate your community or to promote your event
Buddy up with editors writing about relevant topics and pick their knowledgeable brains. Being respected in an industry is not simply about what, but also who you know
Engage with your community on social media, listening in at first and gradually starting to join in the conversations. Once you feel confident you could even write your own B2B thought leadership pieces, blogs, white papers, interviews...
To become a true expert you not only need to live and breathe your brand, but you also need to get under the skin of your industry. As a result, you will not only build appealing and current events, but also an engaged and loyal B2B community who will stay with you for subsequent events.
Employers in event companies are fast coming to the realisation that having industry experts in their teams will be critical to the success of their events. Increasingly, they’ll be looking for thought leadership, a good following or network as well as demonstrable event programming skills when recruiting for B2B event producers of the future.