This week’s assignment for MMC-5006 was to follow (for educational purposes) the goings-on at LDI 2015, the annual convention for lighting/audio/live event design professionals held in Las Vegas, NV from Oct.19th-26th. I was tasked with evaluating the event’s overall integrated marketing communication plan.
My impression of the tradeshow’s IMC plan and execution of it is something of a mixed bag. There were certainly some successes through the week, but overall, I found the strategy lacking in a number of areas.
First and foremost, I believe the LDI 2015 show promoters’ choices for social media channels were much too limited. Twitter and Facebook. Period. And the team barely used one of those. Worse yet, on the official website they displayed share icons for LinkedIn and YouTube to go along with Twitter and FB as if they were going to utilize them, yet really did not update those channels with new content at all.
Actually they did utilize another channel, per se, and that was their own custom mobile app which was well-designed and mostly effective. More on that in a moment…
The convention had a solid presence on Twitter before and throughout the show. They actually began tweeting and using the hashtag #LDI2015 as far back as last February
and frequently supplied new material right up until showtime. The week began a little slowly as the exhibition floor did not open til Friday and social media content was a little light, but there were sessions (including some for-credit Master Classes through UF!) and gatherings of different types to report on through the first few days. Content ramped up as the week went along.
The LDI Tradeshow official Twitter account was used to inform users of things in a number of categories:
- Things to do on-site like the Neal Preston photography exhibit which was VERY heavily promoted throughout the convention as well as the daily New Technology breakfasts:
- Things to do off-site like the “LDI After Dark” nightly happy hour at various bars around town, Cirque du Soleil shows, etc.:
- Highlighted Product Teasers:
- and Re-tweets of others’ content:
What the LDI2015 Twitter feed also did well was serve as a communication venue for show vendors. Many vendors jumped on the #LDI2015 train:
The event promoters used Facebook as well, but at a much lower volume of material than Twitter. Mostly, they used Facebook, in a way, like Instagram, with behind the scenes photo-teasers:
The LDI2015 custom software app was easy to navigate, mobile friendly, and definitely a big part of the promoters’ communication plan as they used it for mapping/directions, exhibitor information and location, new product information, after-hours promotions, individual agenda-planning, and more:
The software app and Facebook were also used to give recognition to sponsors:
The app also pushed sharing and cross-promotion and Twitter even returned the favor:
The app let users sign up for alerts (which I did):
Another good component of promotion, as we have learned, is running a contest. They did that.
The event even featured some helpful services to younger attendees which surely got shared:
So, you can see, the event’s promotion braintrust (apparently brand new, by the way) did some things very well, utilizing social media and their custom app to highlight many components of the show and serve the attendees and exhibitors’ needs.
The branding was consistent throughout with good logo usage, the frequent hashtagging of #LDI2015 and #LDIAfterDark, and the heavy promotion of the events they must have considered anchor components of the convention experience – the Neal photography exhibit, the Tech Breakfasts, LDI After Dark, and the Awards ceremony. It is obviously an exciting exhibition with a lot of colorful, jaw-dropping high tech displays and products, and I personally thought the still photography throughout the promotional avenues did an excellent job of showing that.
I am a little uncertain to what extent the organizers utilized traditional media. I know email was a factor – at least for registration and early promotion. They do also have a newsletter. I was not able to track down industry trade journals with advertising or promotion of the convention, but there certainly could (and definitely should) have been.
In addition to the successes, however, I also think the planners missed out on a number of opportunities to promote parts of the event and stretch the conversation much further. As I mentioned before, the small number of social channels used seemed very limiting. The failure to use video outlets like YouTube, Periscope, and now even Instagram was disappointing. The products on display at the convention would likely translate well to video and convey some of that excitement. For example, I need go no farther than this from one of the exhibitors:
That guy’s no more than a car salesman and he’s got me excited about his products! Other vendors posted their own videos to YouTube and their sites too. Are you telling me LDI can’t find a videographer and one of the hundreds of professional spokesmodels littering Las Vegas to walk around the convention for a few days and shoot some short promotional/informational videos to post to SM or their website?! Big fail! The only official video I saw was the 2014 convention highlight reel!
The inattention to the LinkedIn site was practically disturbing. I’ve been to giant niche-profession conventions in Las Vegas before – mostly before the advent of LinkedIn – but I’m certain it would have been a red hot resource for professionals up and down the corporate food chain. The organizers of the event would have done well to have a presence in that space.
I am also pretty amazed that, given the heavy usage of Twitter during the convention, that they did not live-tweet the Awards Ceremony. That would have been a great way to connect and engage with their audience and have a chance to extend the conversation out into realm of the personal/professional circles of the winners. Also surprisingly, they did not even announce the names of the award winners after the fact on social media at all.
Actually, they finally did post winners in their e-newsletter.
Other than a few more new product tweets, they seemed to pretty much shut down from the Award Ceremony on. This was about as ambitious as they got:
Really disappointing. Maybe it was because the show organizer was brand new and just didn’t have time to get his IMC plan in good shape before the convention. Or maybe he should go to a few of those UF Master Classes.