A: Rafi Mendelsohn, Head of Ketchum Speaker Bureau
I get this question a lot.
In addition to such tactics as securing media coverage, organising launch parties and arranging celebrity participation, an increasing number of companies are asking how they can achieve thought leadership through participation in industry events. Many companies spend a considerable amount of their marketing and communications budgets on staging events and exhibiting at conferences, but receive little in return.
While measurement is the hot topic for PR and marketing, many organisations approach conference involvement in a non-strategic way and, as a result, are unable to define whether their budget on such activities is wisely spent.
Additionally, with numerous other exhibitors at the same conference, exposure and footfall can limit the opportunity to reach your target audience.
A matchmaking approach
One solution to this challenge is to explore securing speaking opportunities at industry events without going along the sponsorship route. Ketchum’s Speaker Bureau is a dedicated service that places clients directly in front of their target audiences and expands their profiles by securing them as speakers at events, without paying sponsorship fees.
Ketchum’s Speaker Bureau is almost like a matchmaking service. We use relationships with conference organisers, our experience in placing the most appropriate speaker at the most relevant event and, of course, our PR knowledge of crafting stories to confirm speaking opportunities.
With an event on every type of theme in the food and drink sector (anyone for the UK Onion & Carrot exhibition?), public speaking is a great opportunity to reach multiple audiences in a cost-effective way. For example, for one recent client campaign, we were able to save £79,000 over five conferences by securing non-sponsorship speaking opportunities.
Whether through the speaking or sponsorship route, a more strategic approach to conference participation can go a long way towards achieving your goals of reaching your target audience, driving opinion of issues that are key to the business and building leads and contacts across the industry.