The Inner Circle newsletter is our way of sharing with you, our circle, what we’re up to, what we’re learning about and what successes our clients are achieving. Our goal is to produce timely, interesting and thought-provoking content for the greater good of the industry - ultimately creating “A-ha!” moments for association and event marketing professionals. Here’s a complete listing of Inner Circle topics from the past 8 years, in case you missed them the first time around or just want to reference them as you plan your next strategic campaign.

Let’s Get Digital!

Direct mail isn’t dead. Yet. Savvy event marketers are, however, anticipating and preparing for the moment the direct mail death knell finally rings. As attendee demographics change, the way prospects are identified and nurtured through the buying cycle must also change. As mdg’s director of social + digital, I often guide trade show marketers through the conversion from print to digital, typically with dramatic results.

4 ideas for your next event!

In my opinion, SXSW is the gold standard when it comes to events. It’s the perfect combination of pop culture, innovation, and inspiration that attracts thousands of movers and shakers from across the country and around the world in marketing, tech, music and film. Here are four of the many applicable event-marketing lessons that I learned from my experience this year…

Navigating the Journey to Personalized Attendee Relationships

From personalized online styling services like Stitch Fix to Amazon suggesting items to purchase based on your previous shopping history, our world is becoming more and more personalized. This personalization allows products, businesses or brands to build a relationship with prospects and customers. Recently, mdg has begun applying this approach to building personalized relationships with event attendees for our clients through customer journey maps.

What did UXpect?

UX, short for user experience, is up there with SEO/SEM and responsive design as one of the trendiest web-related terms in the marketing world. And why not? Good marketing focuses on a specific audience’s wants and needs; UX brings that philosophy to bear online, tapping into the hidden preferences site visitors demonstrate. But with any new wave of information comes misinformation, especially when it relates to a topic as capricious as the internet. Check your expectations about UX against this list of common misconceptions.

All the Action from IAEE’s Expo! Expo!

Sunny California was host to IAEE’s Expo! Expo! last month and, as expected, the event was full of innovation and bright ideas for event marketers. The “show for shows” sparked provocative conversations, facilitated new connections, and presented industry professionals with inspiration for 2017. mdg‘s employees, clients and friends have shared a few of their favorite takeaways…

PR: It’s all about content, community and creativity.

As much as we love press releases (you’d have to pry them from our Kung Fu grip), they’re not the only building blocks with which our public relations campaigns are built. Now more than ever, we’re leveraging organic social media; galvanizing local community leaders; utilizing the power of influencers; and thinking more creatively to develop innovative, integrated campaigns for our association and event clients. We thought we’d share a few of our recent successes in hopes that they might inspire your next PR initiative.

Baking a Difference

A consolidating industry. Low-carb diet fads that won’t die. Niche competitors around every corner. That’s what mdg has been up against since we began marketing the triennial International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) in 2007. So, just how is it that attendance has increased by 65 percent since then (from just under 14,000 attendees to just over 23,000)? Here are a few ingredients in our carefully crafted recipe for success.

Predicting the future of events.

CEIR Predict, held September 14–15 in Washington, D.C., attracts senior executives within the exhibition industry for a deep-dive discussion about current economic, political and societal trends with the goal of identifying strategies, tactics, tools and technologies necessary to serve transforming markets. For those of you who weren’t there, I’ve edited and cleaned up my notes for you here…

Best in Show: SuperZoo!

SuperZoo recently wrapped its largest show in history at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, cementing its place as the largest (in both the number of buyers and exhibitors) pet retail show in North America. How did mdg help World Pet Association (WPA) achieve this record-breaking attendance success? Let’s ask the marketing team…

The End of Blah, Blah, Blah

Millennials: that group born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. They’re also the group that is most skeptical of traditional marketing messaging. The usual “Make New Connections! See New Products! Get New Ideas!” draws a collective “meh” from the millennial crowd. But it goes beyond millennials. Many audiences have turned a deaf ear to the same old, same old. So what’s a marketing professional to do—or say? Enter disruptive messaging.

Location, Location, Location

A phrase once monopolized by the real estate industry is becoming the new mantra for marketing professionals worldwide. And it’s all thanks to that little smart device in your pocket. We take it with us wherever we go, and many of us gladly share our location data through the various apps we use—data that marketers can use to serve relevant messages to prospective attendees in real time.

Use Snapchat to Drive Registration + Engagement

At Social Media Marketing World, a conference dedicated solely to the latest developments in social media, live video was all the rage. But I questioned how it could work for associations and events. Isn’t Snapchat just for tweens? Should mdg clients use a so-new-it’s-unknown platform like Blab? Should events really “go live?” The answers, dear reader, are no, yes, and yes. Here’s how to get into the now and drive registrations (and engagement!) using Snapchat.

ECEF Panel to Explore New Event Realities

On June 1 at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, D.C., Galen Poss will lead Charlie McCurdy, David Loechner and Deborah Sexton in a moderated discussion about how new technologies, new competitors and the increased pressure for continuous innovation have shaped the evolution of the events business. As an ECEF sponsor, mdg convinced these three visionaries to give InnerCircle readers a sneak peek at their upcoming session.

What’s on the Menu?

A poorly organized event or association website impedes visitors, wasting their time and increasing the chance they leave without registering, joining or otherwise consuming the content for which they’re hungry. The art and science of website organization is called information architecture (IA), and it’s one of the most important elements of a site build orRead More

Getting Your Data Ducks in a Row

Database marketing is the art and science of taking individuals, grouping them based upon common characteristics and speaking to them with language that feels personalized. It’s getting the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Are your brand evangelists spreading the love?

Do your attendees and exhibitors have such positive experiences that they tell their colleagues about your event? Are your association members so passionate about your organization that their referrals are driving up your member numbers?

Guess what happened at Expo! Expo!

Each year, mdg asks its employees, clients and friends what they learned, discovered and/or enjoyed about Expo! Expo!, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events’ annual meeting.

New Year’s Resolutions for Trade Show Marketers

Trade show professionals are uniquely remarkable individuals – combining expertise in strategic planning, project management and operational execution to flawlessly produce events of great scope and magnitude, year in and year out.

Don’t Write Off the Press Release

In an increasingly digital media environment, you have to get more creative with how you use press releases to reach trade media. It can still be an incredibly effective tool—but only when done right.