We're all about events at Steel Media. Bringing hundreds of industry leaders from all over the world in to one place to share their expertise is absolutely invaluable. It's also a fabulous excuse to drink on a school night.
With Pocket Gamer Connects London coming up next week, we decided to ask our Viral Visionaries what the benefits of attending consumer and B2B events are for both influencers and marketers.
We also asked what tips they have to ensure you're making the most out of an event.
Philip Hickey is a former professional basketball player turned award-winning marketeer. Currently, he is responsible for marketing and communications at Seriously.
Networking and knowledge sharing is a huge benefit of attending B2B events for influencers and marketers. There is a lot of value in understanding what has and hasn’t worked for campaigns run by my colleagues in the industry.
It is always beneficial to share notes on past initiatives and learn about new trends coming up in the space to gauge where the industry is heading.
To get the most out of these events, my recommendation is to look at the guest lists or speaker lists and keep a few people in mind that you would like to meet or hear them speak. Whether you admire their work or you’re looking to make a connection, it’s beneficial to do your homework well before you walk through the door.
I’d also recommend being open to meeting anyone and everyone, because you never know if that person could be the next connection to your prosperous partnership or a long term friendship.
I have noticed that attending influencer marketing events outside the gaming industry gives you a lot of perspective on what other industries are doing at the moment.
You can get crazy ideas from listening to what coffee shops and cruise lines are doing with influencers, and you don’t necessarily hear those stories in gaming events.
And of course if you are not in the gaming industry, you might want to visit a gaming event with influencer track and speakers to learn what we are doing.
To get most out of events I would just focus on listening and asking questions. Everyone is doing this business in their own way, and have made their own unique mistakes and found success in places others have not, so learning from these stories is super beneficial.
And of course be ready to share your learnings and experiences in exchange as well. I’ve noticed that offering others help and tips is way more lucrative way to build a network than holding on to your learnings and info.
When meeting influencers, listen to them carefully. They are full of great ideas for how to make campaigns and how to improve the influencer marketing business overall, and they also know what is frustrating about it or what is not working at the moment.
You can learn from these discussions and design your next campaign so that you avoid the pitfalls and find the next big thing instead of doing the same old. Most importantly tho, have fun and relax! If you are strictly about business, you might miss some great opportunities to make friends.
In any business you’ve got to know your customers, and if your customers are at an event, then that’s a great place not just to give your pitch but also to listen and learn.
I’m going to PG Connects and Games Forum (B2B events in the games industry) to spread the word about Hatch and our games-on-demand service, yes, but for me the most value comes from meeting with our game developer partners, both current and prospective, and finding out the latest news, how things are going with their projects, what concerns they have, and so on.
It helps me understand where Hatch can fit in and create value with our way of delivering mobile games. It puts us in a much better position to keep building and iterating on our service and ultimately making Hatch better for our players.
Plan ahead, and book meetings in advance - most events have a matchmaking tool, so use it. Also, decide ahead of time which panels or presentations you want to attend, with a priority on the topics that you don’t fully understand or are just not sure about. Listen well and take notes.
And approach speakers afterward if you want to delve deeper — people get satisfaction from passing on their know-how and you just might strike up a good friendship.
Another thing - it depends on the event and the context, but be careful about going in with an aggressive sales mindset. I try to avoid people at events transparently only interested in selling me something, even if it’s something I might actually be looking for. We’re there to build and maintain relationships, learn from each other and do better business.
Preparation for events is key: Knowing the guest list, researching new companies, and blocking off time for the talks that you find most interesting are all great ways to prep for the next event.
It may sound straight forward, but you'd be surprised how many people deprioritize this ahead of conferences and show up without much prep done.
As Philip mentioned, every connection matters. Don't write someone off because they work in a part of the industry you aren't interested in, or at a company you have never heard of.
The opportunity we all have to attend industry events and engage in the knowledge-sharing that happens there is hugely beneficial, especially in such an evolving niche as influencer marketing.
Pocket Gamer Connects: London, and other conferences, also bring influencers together so it's a great way to meet or catch up with your favorite influencer friends.
Lots of people thinks that going to an event is all they need to get something out of it.
I really disagree on this... if anything, deciding to go to an event is the moment when you have to start doing the hard preparation work.
Set the goal first pending if this is consumer or B2B events, explore the guest list, registered visitors and be all the homework in booking meeting in advance, fill the schedule and keep two hours free as a buffer for last minute changes, emergencies or incredible opportunities.
Every event is surrounded by other meet up out of the event hours, do not miss those as sometime they offer the chance to networking more than the event itself. No rest for the wicked, be late if necessary and put all your energy in creating those connections everywhere, is worth it! Believe me!
One more thing I believe is super important: network with people, not with a brand, build a relationship with individual and do not dismiss someone that you think is not “good enough” or “big enough”… one day things will change and people will remember you for what you did.