Roger Wilson, President of The Conference Department, thinks much like a chemist. In the study of the composition of matter – a chemist analyzes its properties with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms. With a professional foundation in publishing, Wilson refers to content, events, and digital media as if he were speaking of molecules. And in listening to his analysis, you realize the ‘electromagnetic force’ that brings them all together is ultimately highly- human.
The Human Media Mix
As a publishing executive at Inc. magazine, Wilson helped the property evolve from a one-dimensional print property to one that engaged audiences through a variety of media including events. “People are social animals. We like social interaction, which is one reason digital social media is red hot today.” The media world has been transformed by the internet and the pace of this transformation will accelerate. Human nature, however, has not changed.” In this vein, Wilson relates the event experience as pivotal to the application of marketing strategy. “Events are compelling. Can you recall a recent experience you’ve had, as part of a crowd? Do you remember how you felt? Chances are that your memories are visceral. People react to what they see, hear, smell, and feel. “Face-to-face events, the original social media, developed over thousands of years of human experience, will remain one of the best communication tools for business.”
Unique Digital Content Delivery
One way in which The Conference Department has put this philosophy to work has been by creating virtual presentations for live audiences. This unique approach to content delivery allows a luminary to address a group remotely or from a previous time while the audience is physically together, sharing the experience. The experience is made more memorable and influential by genuine face-to-face participation.. “Participation motivates and mobilizes people by powerfully stimulating the social senses.”
Humans, Digital Events, and the Bottom Line
Wilson talks passionately about the opportunity and necessity for b-to-b marketers to learn from their b-to-c counterparts. In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace and digital media landscape, many believe we are encumbered by too much information. The key element, according to Wilson, is trust. “Trust is essential to building loyalty for your organization and brand. Trust motivates positive action. People believe what they experience first-hand. The rich experiential environment of face-to-face and virtual events can be the key to building trust. People are highly receptivein an appropriate event setting.”
With a career in publishing, one would assume Wilson acknowledges the cliché that content is king. He doesn’t. “Content is noble but cash is king in the media business” he proclaims. “It starts with a sale. Participants in conferences , sponsors, and exhibitors come back year after year because they got their money’s worth the year before. I have had sponsors tell me that a single conversation with the right person can lead to business of a scale and profit level sufficient to justify their commitment.” And in this new digital world, the incorporation of digital media into event operations reinforces event marketing’s focus on communication results. “New kinds of talent are required on event teams to get the communication jobs done.”