Plan to be smart at IBC


Peter Savage 2 TV-Bay Magazine
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While chatting with a good friend last week, he told me he was full of foreboding about the coming IBC. It needs no introduction: this conference/exhibition is the largest gathering of broadcast professionals in Europe, and the second largest in the world, and everyone in our world knows about it. Ill give you some statistics later but, for now, lets look at why my friend was dreading it.

I havent missed an IBC for ¦ is it 25 years? I cant remember. Maybe someone could email to tell me when it was last held in Brighton, before Amsterdam became its permanent location. That was my first. After all these however-many-years it is, I think Ive cracked the nut of how to make it pay its way and I dont just mean in terms of what it costs to attend plus our time there, and time lost while away from our desks or studios.

Every year we gear up to go but I can guarantee that the majority dont really work out what they want to achieve from it. Of course, I cant tell you what to expect technically of an exhibition where 95 per cent of those attending are stronger on that than I am (and, to be honest, if you wanted to know my views on HDR, UHD OTT or VR IPTV I might as well get Badger to ghost write the article for me). What I can tell you is how I exploit it and, hopefully, some of my insights will help you get the best out of this (or any) exhibition.

The first and most important must-do before any exhibition is to have a plan. And, as my team knows from how often Ive said it, that plan must be SMART as in Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and have a measurement of Time.

The next step is to understand the demographic the attendees and work out what you want to get from it. My company is a broadcast leasing company financing kit and has customers who normally buy direct through dealers and/or from the manufacturers. We have total European coverage. That is our unique selling point its a big USP and it gives us a clear focus. We are by far the largest broadcast finance company in Europe, and in the UK, and we understand our industry. We dont exhibit. What? But we are sending five of our team from Friday through to the end of Monday. Why? And what is this SMART plan?

Ok, so its time for the promised statistics. About 55,000 people attend IBC. As I said, its the second largest gathering in the world of broadcast professionals. NAB gets just under 100,000. However, and this is what I mean about understanding the demographics, nearly three quarters (73%) of the people at IBC are from North and Central Europe. In other words, just over 40,000 people are from my target market. In contrast, only 31,000 people at NAB come from outside the US. So, there is nowhere in the world where I will get all my target audience in one place at one time, but there is one place where more of them will be and thats IBC.

Of those 40,000 people, two in five (40%) are exhibitors an important target for us. The rest are either dealers and/or end users of equipment, whether technical and/or creative also important for my company.

So, whats my SMART plan? Its almost like a battle campaign a softening up procedure first, then rallying the ground troops.

First, we run a well-targeted email campaign, we blog and we Tweet to create awareness of our presence. Dont start too early as you will be forgotten; begin around two weeks before. Manufacturers are exhibitors and easily identifiable; our email informs them that we are the only leasing company who can genuinely cover Europe and asks if theyd like to meet one of my team to discuss. Each person in my team is then tasked to meet a certain number of manufacturers a day and to Tweet that they have met X who is exhibiting at Y. This all ties into IBCs social media campaign and drives cyber-traffic and real live people to those exhibitors and to us. One of our aims is to increase our Facebook, Twitter and blog followers a very Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and specific to a Time plan.

Second, we target dealers across Europe, inviting them to meet and greet us. Our guys (mainly girls, since you ask) are targeted to meet and Tweet a certain number of dealers at specific places and times during the show. Again, this is SMART with the ultimate measurable of signing up a new potential programme and/or getting a new dealer on board. Finally we try and tease our customers to also meet up, maybe with an incentive¦ FREE BEER and time to relax with us after a hard day walking around the halls.

If you are a manufacturer, dealer or end user, it would be great to see you between Friday and the end of Monday. Please tell us if you were inspired to meet us because of our SMART plan ideas and if you put a SMART plan in place for your own IBC. Hopefully, you and we will both be able to measure success by the results of all of these marketing activities.

I hope this puts a different perspective on what IBC means to companies that are not technical, that do not broadcast, and that only has an intangible commodity that makes the world go round. And lets not forget that IBC is one of the best social network meetings possible. Yes, we have a SMART plan but our other aim is to meet lots and lots of our IBC compatriots and friends, have a beer and enjoy it. After 25 years, plans sometimes do have to go out of the window.


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Contributing Author Peter Savage 2

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