Want Ideas About a New Market? Read a Conference Website.
Want a quick, exploratory read on a particular vertical market? Maybe you’re new to a job and want some ideas to kick start a strategy. Or it could be you’re working your way through a job interview and want to sound knowledgeable about the hiring company’s playing field.
There’s a great, free resource waiting online that gives you instant insights into almost any market. Just “read” a conference. That is, identify a major trade show in the target industry and read the show website “cover to cover.” You can learn a surprising amount about the market, its interests and its influencers — press, bloggers, analysts and customers — without even attending the show.
Study the trade shows if you need ideas for
- blog content
- guest bloggers
- white paper topics
- newsletter articles
- webinar topics
- insight into competitors’ positioning
- snapshot of industry trends
Conference Deep Dive Turns Up Pearls
When I first start working with a new client, one thing I ask is what conferences do they and their customers attend? It’s the starting point for a rich research deep dive, and it doesn’t cost a thing.
The materials that industry conferences publish online are a fingertip goldmine of information and ideas. As an example, I looked up a SharePoint tech conference, SPTechCon 2012. (Sharepoint is a Microsoft collaboration, knowledge and productivity platform for enterprises.)
This one turned out to be a motherlode of marketing ideas, far more than I expected when I chose it as my example. I didn’t know much about the SharePoint market, but I came away with many good ideas for marketing to decision makers and influencers. And if SharePoint isn’t your thing, you can still use these ideas, too.
Let the Conference Do Your Research
This SPTechCon show had dozens of sessions, so I tried to spot common themes. That led to the conclusion that hot topics for this audience include development, next gen SharePoint, and how-to advice.
Also pay attention to what isn’t being covered. If your product focus is on proofing or document composition, but there’s nothing like that in the SharePoint conference agenda, that could mean an opportunity for you to claim that niche.
The courses yield ideas for developing content of your own, such as articles, white papers and webinars. Use the session descriptions as the starting points for outlines. The session speakers and their bios offer people to interview for newsletters or to approach for guest blogs.
But Wait, There’s More
Believe it or not, this is only a portion of what you can learn from a tradeshow website. The next WordScience blog explores cover another useful area revealed by conference research: the market influencers. So come back next time, okay?