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Attention Tradeshow Exhibitors: I Am NOT Your Target Market!

The 2014 Meetings Industry tradeshow season has begun.  Before I get into this post, yes, our company will be attending and exhibiting at numerous conferences this year. 

As a business members of several organizations, Greenfield Services' sales team (Meagan Rockett and Doreen Ashton Wagner) works hard to attend as meetings industry events, thus we end up on the delegate list, as well as the exhibitor list.

The problem is that there are still companies out there who are sending us offers, including free trips, to stop by their booth at a tradeshow.  It happened again in the days leading up to the CSAE Tete-a-Tete Show.  We were invited to "explore how our association can benefit from XYZ..."  BUT WE ARE NOT AN ASSOCIATION….

We have talked about this issue in the past, focusing specifically on how exhibitors should not waste their time, why member profiles are important and how to ask the right questions to get the segmentation you need, and how lazy sales reps bank on emails making their brand a success.

Thankfully, in a few months, with the application of Canada's new Anti-Spam Law, we'll be able to tell these people, "stop it, you're breaking the law!" 

We are not even sure how we got on the distribution list for the two most recent emails we received.  The delegate registration list for this year has not been provided.  Where did you get our name from?  Must be from last year’s list….

At least the first email received did not assume that we would be in attendance.  It clearly stated that “IF you plan on attending, come see us…”, BUT their message was drafted and sent with association executives in mind.  Nothing to do with us.

The second email did not even go that far – it was a “Win a Trip/Looking forward to seeing you” email, as if they received the list pre-show.

Why annoy the industry with these messages in their inbox?  Instead:
  •  Move this type of messaging to Twitter, using the event hashtag.  Stop by our booth, or Win a Trip types of messages can reach a wider audience there.  AND, you can do the event organizer a favour and include the links to register and get more info
  • (PLEASE) Segment the List:  IF you were lucky enough to receive the delegate list pre-conference, or pre-tradeshow, REVIEW it.  Half of the list may not be your target market, so remove them.  Why decrease your brand reputation?
  • If you MUST send email, give value.  You may think a free trip is valuable, but you will likely get a lot of traffic with no potential for you, and are just having a meet & greet that will enter them in the draw.  These shrimp eaters as we lovingly call them likely will not do business with you in the future.  Instead, offer tips, best practices, demonstrations, bring a planner or client who can offer testimonials on the client experience, etc.  Shake it up a bit!
We encourage ALL companies attending meetings industry conferences and tradeshows this year to elevate the conversation, instead of, or in conjunction with, a flashy offer.  What will YOU do differently this year?

What to Do When Mike Lipkin Asks You to Connect?

Have you noticed an increase of questionable requests to connect on LinkedIn? I'm not talking about the spam requests from people halfway around the world you've never even talked to. I'm talking about the ones from people with whom you are connected at a second or third level, whom you have heard of, but have never met or even spoken to.

Recently I received an invitation to connect from Mike Lipkin. I was flattered to receive that request; I hear he's a great public speaker, and he is the president of a very large market-research company. But we've never met, and I am not sure WHY he would want us to connect.

Maybe I'm old-school, but I'm very careful about the people I do or do not connect with on LinkedIn. I've written about this in the past; stop the pollution on LinkedIn.  

It occurred on me that perhaps someone else was managing his account, an outsourced social media person. How else could I explain why he didn't write a note with his invitation to connect, stating how clever he thought one of my articles had been, or how he had heard about my work through a mutual friend?

So I wrote Mr. Lipkin a message:

Dear Mike,
Thank you for your request to connect.  My LinkedIn policy is to accept requests only from people I know; colleagues I have worked with, done business with or interacted with through a group or association.  Can you please remind me how we know each other? Otherwise, please forgive me but I must decline. Perhaps we will have opportunity to meet in the future.

With Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation coming into effect July 1, 2014, your LinkedIn connections will become very precious conduits to get your message out to the prospects and clients who trust us enough to want to connect. So treat your requests and acceptances to connect with care. Otherwise we may push this very useful tool to become as overused as our email inbox.

P.S. I haven't received an answer to my inquiry.  So Mike, if you read this, please let me know your thoughts!

Canada's Anti-Spam Law Demystified at CanSPEP Conference

On July 1, 2014, a new Anti-Spam Law takes effect in Canada.  Organizers who market events to Canadians may find themselves at odds with the new rules unless they take steps now to shift their electronic communication to potential attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.

The law says email or text marketing messages can only be sent if the sender has the recipient's consent, or if there is a pre-existing business relationship with the recipient (and the definition of “pre-existing” is a limited one).

Greenfield Services' Chief Strategist, Doreen Ashton Wagner, will address members and sponsors of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) on this very issue at the association's annual conference the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa on February 21, 2014.

Addressing the do's and don'ts of Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation, Ashton Wagner will help third-party meeting and special event planners to understand the impact of the new law, provide practical steps to comply with the legislation as well as better market to potential attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors.

Questions to be addressed will include:

  • How is this law relating to privacy rules?
  • What is express vs. implied consent and what does it mean for events? 
  • How will marketers publicize their events if consent is not obtained?
  • How will data management change to ensure compliance and continued privacy?
  • What elements will be required in email marketing messages in order to comply with the law?
For more information on the event please see the CanSPEP 2014 Conference website.

M&IT University, a New Education Series for #Eventprofs

The team at Canada's M&IT Magazine have announced a new series of events dedicated to meeting and event professionals.  

Because so much of the meetings industry's activities are centered in and around Toronto, M&IT University events are to be held in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal.  Organizers say M+IT University aims to give meeting and event planners "high quality networking and CE credit education in just one amazing day!" 

Doreen Ashton Wagner, Greenfield Services' Chief Strategist, will be speaking on March 26 in Montreal. Her presentation entitled, "10 Meeting Trends To Watch This Year" is based on a research review of international, North American and Canadian studies in the meetings industry as well as related industries such as travel and tourism, adult learning, and human resources.

The session will be highly interactive, with a follow-up discussion allowing participants to "dig deeper" and tackle the most important trends and how they relate especially to event marketing.

The day includes breakfast, lunch and a cocktail reception to allow for formal and informal meeting time. For more information or to register please consult

Could Your Employer Shut YOU Out of Your Social Media Accounts?

Recently a dear friend and colleague found herself "reorganized" out of her job.

Aside from the shock of finding out she was no longer gainfully employed, she felt lost without her trustee smartphone and laptop which until then had been provided by her employer. These devices housed all her contacts and passwords to social media sites, including her LinkedIn account.

It was difficult for her to rebuild her contact list so she could let her connections know what happened. In this era when LinkedIn is your Rolodex, your resume, and your daily dose of business news, losing access can be devastating, not to mention time-consuming if you have to rebuild another profile!

That maybe why some people of my connections use a personal email address for their LinkedIn account. That way, if anything happens, they are not prevented from accessing this very important business tool.

If you want to see notices in real time, you can still use your work email address to access; just make sure you keep a record of your passwords outside of your computer or portable device. It's probably a smart thing to do from a security point of you anyway.

Fortunately, my friend remembered her password and was able to get back into her LinkedIn account. She is now happily ensconced in a new venture involving things she had, up until now, put on the back burner.  And she vows never again to be shut out of her social media accounts.