Specialist publishers are actively planning live events as extensions of their media brands, writes Carolyn Morgan, and are already experimenting with digital versions such as online networking, webinars and virtual events.
Early results from the survey of 200 specialist publishers carried out by the Specialist Media Show in partnership with InPublishing, PPA, University of Leicester and Wessenden Marketing show that publishers are already active in live events. This demonstrates that publishers are increasingly realising that there is a real value in getting their readers together and creating shared live experiences.
Respondents to the survey were largely MDs and publishers in niche consumer and B2B markets, with a bias to independents with less than £10m turnover.
64% of publishers answering the questionnaire already run live events, with B2B conferences and exhibitions the most popular events. Interestingly, 31% already run face-to-face networking events for their communities.
The story of Media Pioneer nominee Stylist Network showcases a great example of bringing readers together to learn and network, thereby strengthening the community and connection with the publication as well as providing new opportunities for advertisers in the form of sponsorship and data collection.
Consumer events, paid-for reader events, awards nights and face-to-face training are also popular among publishers completing the survey.
Many publishers are considering running live events in the next 2 years, with the most popular formats being:
* face to face networking events – 70%
* paid-for reader events – 60%
* B2B exhibitions – 56%
* consumer events – 53%
* face to face training – 49%
* B2B conferences – 48%
More surprisingly, there's already lots of experimentation with online events and services: 20% of publishers answering the survey are running online networking, 18% webinars, 8% virtual events and 7% distance learning.
Recent Media Pioneers bear this out; with the launch of Virtual Event World showing the potential of interactive virtual event technology, with 15,000 visitors to date. Advanstar’s establishment of the distance e-learning service Chromacademy shows the opportunities in professional and business markets.
Whilst 31% of publishers are already testing out these online events, networking and services, a much higher proportion are considering them for the next two years:
* online networking – 70%
* webinars – 63%
* virtual events – 53%
* distance learning – 39%
So, smaller independent publishers are being increasingly inventive in how they serve their communities, in print, real-life and online.
Full insights from this research, including how this activity splits by consumer and B2B, and by larger and smaller publishers, will be presented by Jim Bilton of Wessenden Marketing and Professor Barrie Gunter of University of Leicester at the Specialist Media Show Conference on 25 May 2011 at Exec Peterborough. Delegates will get a full report.
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