I’ll admit it – when I first heard about the Media Production Show, I had my doubts about another industry trade show. I was quite certain that BVE and MPS couldn’t both draw attendees, in the same city, within three months of each other. But, two years later, the second Media Production Show has been hailed as a bigger success than the first, and BVE doesn’t seem to have suffered any major setbacks.
So, how did the MPS organisers get a trade-show weary audience interested in yet another technology exhibition?
Actually, they didn’t.
Anyone who tried to get near the seminars at the Business Design Centre can tell you that most of the attendees came to MPS2016 for the content. The show organisers - publishers of Broadcast, Screen International and shots – understand their target market and the content they’re interested in, and they used this knowledge to put together an offering that would attract their audiences to the show.
MPS isn’t the first, or the only, industry trade show to use content to draw attendees – but they’re better at it than most. The seminar content at the Media Production Show is integrated with the exhibition, all of it is free and of the highest standard. And every session is packed. In-between seminars, and as attendees make their way from one theatre to the next, the exhibitors have an opportunity to engage with this captive audience.
This technique - of attracting an audience with high quality content that isn’t sales-driven - isn’t only effective for building trade show support, it’s an increasingly popular marketing method known as inbound or content marketing that almost any brand or company can use to attract customers.
Rather than interrupting your audience with advertising and sales messages, inbound marketing is based on providing information your audience is looking for.
So, instead of writing a blog about how your product can be used, you might create a piece of content that helps your audience solve a typical industry problem, explain a complicated concept or provide them with tools that will help them be more efficient.
The idea is that, by consistently providing valuable content, you build your audience’s trust and, when they need the services you offer, your company will be their first port of call because they already have a relationship with your brand.
One of the beauties of content marketing is that it’s not another activity that busy technology marketers have to add to their to-do lists.
Many of you will have a company blog and be responsible for posting on social media - adopting an inbound strategy just requires a different approach to the content you’re already producing. Less broadcasting your own messages, more providing information your audience is looking for.
The crux of inbound marketing is, of course, to know your target market really, really well - so that you can create content that attracts and engages the right audience – and to provide excellent content, consistently. Because that is what will keep attracting your audience to your brand.
See you at MPS2018!
This post was originally published in British Film & Television magazine in July 2017