Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Effective Conference Promotion Requires More Than a "Contra" Media Partner Deal

Many conference promoters request a free listing in the Web version of the Pharma Marketing Network (PMN) Conference Calendar, in exchange for "Media Partner Recognition." The latter usually includes placing the PMN logo and link somewhere on the conference site -- either at the bottom of the conference home page or on an internal Media Partner page. Sometimes, such recognition also includes a short paragraph description and inclusion of the PMN logo in the printed conference brochure that is handed out to attendees.

These "contra" deals are valuable to conference producers who often must promote their conferences on a limited budget and PMN is happy to help our clients reach their goals while at the same time informing our Web audience of interesting pharmaceutical industry conferences.

But let's look at some numbers to see if  a pure "contra" deal is the best option for your conference.

The Web version of the Pharma Marketing Conference Calendar receives over 2,500 unique visits PER WEEK. Usually, for strict swap deals, the listing of your conference begins 45 days prior to the event. Thus, your conference listing is potentially seen by over 16,000 visitors! So, getting your conference listed in this calendar is very valuable.

A version of the PMN conference calendar -- Conference Calendar Update -- is sent via email to all 8,000 Pharma Marketing News subscribers every 2 weeks. It is the emailed version of the Update that generates the greatest number of clickthroughs.

If you just promote your conference via a Media Partner contra deal, your conference only appears in the Web calendar and NOT in the Update email version sent to all subscribers. The result is fewer clickthroughs on your conference listing.

Here's a typical timeline showing the clickthroughs on a conference that is listed in BOTH calendars:

Notice how many more clicks this conference gets from the email Update version of the calendar (the tall bars). A pure Media Partnership contra deal only gets you about 25% or less of the potential clickthroughs you would get with a paid, discounted Media Partnership deal that includes the listing in the Update.

Obviously, neither PMN nor its clients can reach their financial goals via pure "contra" Media Partner deals alone. Sometimes you need a more integrated, paid campaign that is more likely to get you results. What you pay for this -- at a discounted Media Partner rate -- can be a fraction of the return you are likely to get in increased registration fees.