Are Marketing Seminars for Small Businesses?

By in Event, General

I recently attended a seminar event on Digital Marketing. It was an interesting experience and made me think about the myriad marketing options available to me.

Integrated Live, held annually, is at the Excel Centre. Originally entitled ‘The Digital Marketing Show’, it invites relevant speakers to talk about Digital Marketing: Content and lead generation among others, as well as a selection of exhibitors showcasing their products to assist the marketing world. It really is a great event and worth attendance. But I felt there was one small problem: how do I know what is relevant for small businesses?

Seminar talks can be very useful. They help explain, from industry experts, the tips and tricks to help people achieve more within that area of their business. Of course, many of them do this, yet conversely a number of speakers, in my opinion, are just there to promote their own products. And from these, many of them may have products that will assist you in your operation. But I think there is quite an obvious line between a 20-minute informative talk and a 20-minute sales pitch.

I went to a talk entitled ‘How To Create Truly Engaging Content’. A title like that sounds good. Useful. It sounds like a solid 20 minutes of tips and tricks on how to engage an audience. The speaker was from a well-known digital creative video marketing company, so there should be some great ideas here, I thought. Alas not. Instead, we were treated to a 20 minute advert about how great their videos are. How good it is to have a person wave at you when you walk past a pharmacy. How clever their Walkers crisps campaign was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s innovative, certainly. But there was no explanation behind the motivation. I came away understanding very little at all. And it wasn’t the only misleading experience. For instance ’21 Great Ideas to Promote Your Business’ was, in fact, a talk on utilising branded merchandise. Thankfully, the speaker had the foresight to check we understood this beforehand.

That all said, there were also some excellent talks. Very inspiring stuff. Some invaluable info on utilising social media (short answer: as with everything in the world, pay for it to get results. – Incidentally, if you don’t already do so, follow @katyhowell on Twitter for that, and more nuggets of information. She really is inspiring), and a couple of marvellous talks on lead generation and growing your brand. Also, a few celebrities explaining their stories and how they went from a ‘man with an idea’ to a global brand with a peerage. And these grand ideas and people can also work for SMBs. But how do you get the real information, relevant to yourself, at a seminar?

Well, any new ideas are good ideas, and for that, I would continue to attend such events. My recommendation is to come armed with a sound plan of relevance. Research the speakers, research their subjects, and keep your ears open for that one key point that might just make a big difference to you.