B2B marketing: what are the pros and cons of hosting a seminar?

Seminars are a well used and accepted form of marketing adopted by many B2B businesses, particularly those in professional services.

There are many benefits to hosting seminars but they aren’t right for everyone and any business thinking of hosting a seminar should also consider the negative aspects before making any commitment.

My seminar pros and cons are:

Pros

  • They enable you to demonstrate your expertise in a particular subject area.
  • If the topic is sufficiently interesting or groundbreaking you can use it as a way to approach cold contacts.
  • Inviting a cold contact to a seminar can provide the opportunity for several ‘touches’ (7 touches of marketing/selling).
  • You have several of your clients and prospects trapped in one room  – a captive audience.
  • It might generate positive press coverage.
  • A good seminar provides ‘added value’ for your clients and helps with client relationship management.
  • You get the opportunity to see several clients in one hit.
  • Prospects get the opportunity to mix with your clients and see that your business is credible.

Cons

  • They can be incredibly time consuming and expensive to organise.
  • Often people attend merely to collect CPD hours and have no interest in using your firm’s services.
  • Busy business people might not want to give up time in the office to attend.
  • It can be difficult to get attention in a crowded seminar market (think of all the Budget seminars which the accountants put on post-Budget).
  • You will need to invite many more people than your target number. Assume a maximum response of 40%-60% from people you already deal with, and 15% – 30% from others.

As with all marketing techniques it is about understanding your target market and what works for them. If you think it is right for your market and you are aware of the cons then it can be a successful activity!

Next week I will focus on how to plan and run a seminar to achieve maximum return.

Are there any pros or cons that you think I have missed? To add them to the list please post a reply below.

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