Lead Generation Strategies for Live Events

Lead Generation Strategies for Live Events

Participating in live events can infer a number of benefits for companies, whether they are hosting, co-hosting, or simply attending.  In a hosting or support capacity, an event organizer has the opportunity to gain visibility and prestige, improving a corporate image within the industry, among peers, with guests, and perhaps even with the public to some extent.

This, in and of itself, could open doors to lead generation, but companies that want to make the most of live events need to have a more comprehensive strategy in mind.  Being the convention planner or sponsor infers some measure of status at an event, but it doesn’t necessarily foster personal connections that may be necessary for effective lead generation.

On the one hand, event organizers already have an entire mailing list of prospective leads because they’re at the meeting, conference, or event, which means they’ve handed over contact information in order to participate.  In other words, you’ve already taken the first step – they’re acquainted with your brand.  The real question is how to get them to the next level.  How can you build the personal relationships needed to turn them into paying customers, business partners, and/or lasting connections?

Generating leads at live events is a little different from doing it online, especially since attendees are already connected to you digitally.  How can an event organizer, host, or sponsor create stronger connections that lead to long-term relationships with event attendees?  Here are a few strategies to consider.


If you want to generate leads, it’s important to prep your strategy well in advance of your events, and you have a decided advantage on this front as an event host or sponsor because you have access to the email list.  As a meeting or convention planner, you can covertly creep event attendees.  By stalking their social media accounts, you can not only pinpoint good prospects but learn the best ways to interest them in your brand.

If you think this is all a bit weird, just consider how online marketing works.  It’s the same basic principle.  With Facebook ads, you’re able to look for consumers that fit a very specific demographic, including age range, gender, profession, income, geographic region, and even personal likes and preferences.  The only difference here is that you’re approaching your prospects in person and using information gleaned from their online profiles to make a connection.

Says Paul Steinmetz, Director of The American Meetings Network, “Prep work is essential to generating leads at live events.  Your strategy can’t be to approach everyone and just wing it or throw down a sales pitch.  Most people will not respond to these tactics.  You need to narrow down the best prospects beforehand so you can find ways to create positive, personal, face-to-face interactions and successful outcomes.”

With help from an experienced creative partner in meeting planning and organization, such as American Meetings, Inc. (AMI), you can come up with strategies best suited to approaching your top prospects.  This will ensure positive interactions and boost successful lead generation.

Work Existing Convention Planner Connections

As an event organizer or host, you have a decided leg up on lead generation because you already know a lot of people attending the event.  Your existing connections can be a valuable resource to tap into when it comes to expanding your network at a live event.

If there are specific attendees you want to focus on for lead generation, simply do the legwork to uncover mutual connections.  Then approach your connections and ask for a personal introduction to the people they know.  Having a trusted go-between on your side can help your prospects to relax and make them more open to building a stronger relationship with your brand.

Pick the Right Partners

When you’re hosting a meeting or event, the partners you pick could pave the way to lead generation.  This means choosing partners that increase your visibility and prestige among attendees.  Whether you’re teaming up with other brands to host the event or you’re nabbing industry darlings to speak, participate in panels, or lead group discussions, you want to make sure your partners elevate your brand and attract leads to your conference or event.

Of course, you also need to leverage your partners to facilitate introductions.  The right partners could bring in a new audience through existing connections, providing a link to ideal candidates for lead generation.  Use that to your greatest advantage.

Grease the Wheels

Timing can be key when it comes to lead generation, and there are few better times to approach attendees than after seminars, workshops, and other events have finished for the day.  Dinners, cocktail hours, and parties are perhaps the best place to work your lead generation strategies because the guests are, well, lubricated.

After a long day of gathering information or workshopping, event attendees are tired and ready to unwind.  Once they have food and drinks, they’re ready to relax, have some fun, and interact more openly.  In other words, their defenses are down, which gives you the best opportunity to strike up a conversation and make a good impression.

Increase Engagement as the Event Organizer

One of the best ways an event host or convention planner can strike up a conversation with prospective leads is by asking questions and getting them talking.  This strategy can actually serve a dual purpose if you plan correctly.

You could, for example, ask prospects to provide feedback on the event in general or specific activities they’ve participated in.  This could be your foot in the door to discuss relevant topics that naturally help you to develop leads and even soft sell.

Build It, They Will Come

Lead generation is only partially about shaking hands and getting face time.  You also need to instill the building blocks of strong relationships.  You should create activities and opportunities to promote a community that centers on your brand.  You need to build awareness of your brand and your culture to give attendees the sense that they’re missing out on something by not engaging with your brand.

AMI is an ideal partner when it comes to finding creative ways to engage event attendees and come up with winning strategies for lead generation at live events.  With the right strategies, you can see the greatest return on investment.

American Meetings, Inc. (AMI) recently sponsored the 15th Annual Pharma Forum in New York City

American Meetings, Inc. (AMI) recently sponsored the 15th Annual Pharma Forum in New York City

As a global meeting services organization, AMI represents many clients in the pharmaceutical industry, planning hundreds of meetings and events including Advisory Boards, Congresses, HCP Meetings, Internal Meetings, Investigator Meetings, Product Launches, Speaker Trainings, and more. We constantly seek out opportunities to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, discover new resources, and develop relationships that will enhance our ability to create winning strategies and best serve the needs of our clients.






The Annual Pharma Forum provided an excellent opportunity to gain valuable knowledge, insights, and connections for the benefit of our pharmaceutical clients. What’s it all about and what do we hope to gain from sponsoring, exhibiting, and attending this event?

What is the Annual Pharma Forum?

The Annual Pharma Forum is “the world’s leading life sciences meeting management conference”, featuring industry-leading speakers; expert panels; topics exploring new technology, compliance challenges, and best practices; and of course, breakout sessions and opportunities for one-on-one networking with medical and pharmaceutical clients, suppliers, and third-party meeting and event organizers.

What Were Some of the Highlights This Year?

This year’s Pharma Forum included a variety of notable speakers and timely topics like industry best practices, notable technologies, and collaborations between corporations and third-party planners. AMI would like to extend a special thank you to all of the Meetings Industry Suppliers who attended The American Meetings Network’s Partners Reception, held at The View on the 48th floor of The Marriott Marquis. The breathtaking panoramic view of New York City provided an ideal backdrop for networking with the Meetings Industry’s leading Suppliers.

How Will AMI Clients Benefit?

AMI is excited to learn about challenges and innovations affecting the pharmaceutical and adjacent industries, as well as the impact of collaborations with third-party service providers like meeting and event planners.

How to Improve Intergenerational Interaction at Meetings and Events

How to Improve Intergenerational Interaction at Meetings and Events

There are significant differences between the generations now participating in the working world, from millennials to Gen Xers, to baby boomers.  Each generation has its own ideals, expectations, proclivities, and modes of operating, and sometimes, they are at odds with one another, each thinking itself the wiser or more intelligent branch.  This can make it very hard for meeting hosts and their partners in event management to cater to different groups and create an atmosphere that appeals to them all.

Even more difficult can be finding effective ways of convincing members of different generations to interact with one another, networking, and sharing ideas in creative and constructive ways.  For example, you and your event company might be keen to add group gamification challenges via social media as a way to facilitate interaction in a fun and casual way.  While this will likely play well with the younger, tech-savvy millennials, you can’t reasonably expect the same level of participation from baby boomers.

How, then, can you take strides to help these different groups connect in meaningful and productive ways?  Here are just a few strategies to employ in the interest of improving intergenerational interaction at your meetings and events.

Gain Insight into Different Perspectives

Says Josie Rubio, Director of HR and Global Acquisition, “The place to start when encouraging intergenerational interaction is by realizing that nobody adheres to a stereotypical group dynamic 100% of the time.  Individuals make up any group, and instead of ascribing broad attributes to members of a group, you need to find ways to help people connect as individuals, regardless of the generation they belong to.”

The best way to find out more about individuals attending your event is to have them provide more than just standard personal information when they sign up.  Knowing whether attendees are millennials or baby boomers only paints them in broad strokes.

For example, baby boomers lived through the Vietnam War while millennials were probably deeply affected by 9/11.  This tells you about a shared experience, and maybe even provides a basis for common ground, but it doesn’t tell you how individuals feel about these events or the impact to their lives.

Experienced event management professionals can help you to come up with targeted questions that provide important insights into how your event attendees see the world, how their experiences have shaped their expectations, and ultimately, what they have in common with attendees from other generations.  This can provide new insights and give you the tools to plan for successful interactions between generations and individuals attending your event.

Consider the Impact of Environment

While the majority of working professionals could be considered relatively mobile and able-bodied, it’s important to understand that different environments will appeal to their sensibilities and cater to their particular needs.  For example, twenty-somethings can be on their feet all day, roving exhibit halls and jetting from one activity to the next.  Those in their fifties might not be as keen take on the same physical challenges.

How does this impact your ability to encourage intergenerational interaction?  You’re going to have to create an environment that is exciting enough for younger attendees but also provides adequate comfort and consideration for older professionals.  Where is the intersection that appeals to all groups?  You and your event company will have to consider how your environment strikes a balance that helps to facilitate productive interactions.

Find Common Ground, Then Focus on Unique Contributions

Although generations are set apart in a number of ways, there are also many ways in which they are alike.  There are universal commonalities that span generations, from the search for love and meaning in life to the value of financial security to the desire for work that is not only financially rewarding but also personally fulfilling.

Because all generations want these things, there is common ground for connection.  However, creating a value proposition for intergenerational interaction means more than bringing people together – you also have to determine what individuals can add to the equation.  You and your event management team can only do so much to bring people together and then they have to find a way to engage and share their unique experiences and perspective.

Collaborate with Event Management to Create Opportunities for Mentorship

Everyone can do at least one thing well, and often myriad things.  In other words, they have something to share with others.  Creating opportunities for mentorship goes beyond asking the older generation to share the wealth of their long experience with youngsters.  Mentorship can go both ways.

While a baby boomer or Gen Xer could help millennials work on appropriate face-to-face interactions with coworkers and bosses, millennials could turn the tables and help older generations better understand mobile apps that add convenience and connectivity.  Your event company can not only help you find ways to learn about event attendees but also to help them connect in meaningful ways and offer unique and valuable contributions.

Get Strategic to Maximize Your 2018 NGLCC Conference Experience

Get Strategic to Maximize Your 2018 NGLCC Conference Experience

Almost 1,300 professionals working in the supplier diversity space will be attending the 2018 National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) International Business & Leadership Conference, August 14-17, in Philadelphia, PA. Hosted at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown with the support of the local CVB, Discover Philadelphia the event is the premier global LGBT event focused on increasing business opportunities for the community.

For organizations, the conference is an invaluable opportunity to incorporate more LGBT-owned businesses into your supply chain and build your professional network. Because we’re top supporters of the NGLCC and the annual conference, we’re sharing our top five tips to help you get the most out of your conference experience this year.  As AMI proudly prepares to be a presenting sponsor for the 2nd year in a row we’d like to share ways to maximize your experience while in Philadelphia, PA.

1. Preparation is key

Review the schedule of events ahead of the conference, and, where available, the companies and speakers that will be attending. Ask previous attendees in your network what they found most helpful, or check out the conference hashtag on Twitter (#NGLCC18) to see what organizers and attendees are already talking about. Set goals for what you’d like to focus on and achieve.

Also, make sure you’re bringing what you need to do some heavy networking. Do you have enough business cards, collateral, and promotional items to get you through all four days of the conference? Do you have a good way to keep track of new contacts for follow-ups?

2. Get strategic with your networking

Introduce yourself as is comfortable before the event to attendees you’d like a meeting with to ensure that you get on their schedule during the conference. Don’t be afraid to ask LinkedIn connections to make the introduction or give a friendly cold call.

During the conference, divide your time up strategically based on what you’re hoping to get out of the conference. In addition to one-on-one meetings, put yourself in group networking scenarios to meet more people. Don’t forget about existing business connections who will attend—it’s a good time to build upon your existing relationships at the conference as well.

3. Take advantage of the conference offerings

There are both pre-conference and opening-day receptions that you won’t want to miss, amazing performers and keynote speakers, as well as NGLCC events every evening. Select your breakout sessions wisely—not just by the title, but by the credentials and experience of the speaker. The Marketplace Expo is a great time to visit the booths of Corporate and Supplier attendees.

NGLCC’s Supplier-to-Supplier and Corporate Matchmaker sessions are ideal for making B2B introductions in your industry, or connecting LGBT businesses with opportunities in your supply chain.

These are by appointment only, so schedule in advance.

4. Pace yourself

Conferences can be exhausting, and no matter how hard you try or how organized you are, you won’t be able to do everything. Prioritize what’s most important and what can wait until next year’s conference. And make sure you have moments of planned downtime to avoid burnout. To keep up your stamina, consider healthy eating and drinking, and try to take part in the organized Morning Group Exercise, or Corporate/Supplier Walk & Talks.

Don’t forget to have fun, too!

5. It’s all about the follow-up

After taking notes on a breakout session, list three key takeaways before moving on to the next presentation. It’ll be easier to scan later if you capture essential points while they’re fresh.

Keep careful track of any new connections, noting meeting context or details on business cards. Timely and specific follow-up with the next steps via email or phone will be instrumental in securing new relationships after the conference.

Stop by the AMI booth in the Marketplace Expo at this year’s NGLCC Conference to meet our team and pick up a free gift that will keep you charged throughout the conference.

Let’s chat before this year’s event.

We’ve arranged a virtual meet-up call on July 26, 2018, for NGLCC attendees and those who want to know more before registering. Your hosts are SR VP, Marketing and Strategic Alliances at AMI, Aurelio DeMendoza and Manager, Supplier Diversity at CVS Health, Raul Suarez-Rodriguez.

Contact us at bd@AmericanMeetings.com to register for the call and get dial-in information.

How to Find Businesses to Sponsor Your Events

How to Find Businesses to Sponsor Your Events

To say that meetings, conventions, and other events can be a pricey affair is an immense understatement.  This is why event hosts hire a convention planner to help them hash out the details, including finding suitable sponsors for events.

The difficulty lies in convincing sponsors that they’re going to get something in return for the dough they’re ponying up.  You can address this to some degree with promises of promotion, such as shout-outs and branding opportunities throughout the event space and event activities.

However, you and your event organizer also need to pull off engaging, memorable events that keep attendees and the media talking about you and your sponsors.  Of course, the first step is drumming up interest from companies that could be the perfect match for event sponsorship. Here are a few steps to put you on the right path.

Tap Your Convention Planner Network

If your own network of contacts has run dry, it’s time to turn to your event organizer in search of new avenues of exploration.  A professional event management company works on events for a wide array of clients, and they likely work with tons of corporate sponsors in the process.

Even if they won’t give you a peek at their little black book, so to speak, they might be willing to reach out to potential sponsors in their network that they think would be a good fit with your brand or your event.  The worst that can happen is you get a no, but this could improve your chances of meeting suitable sponsors.

Attend Other Events to Meet Sponsors

Most business sponsors invest in events for a couple of reasons.  The first is usually the chance to promote their company to a new segment of the consumer market in the hopes of raising brand awareness and encouraging patronage.  However, they might also be interested in supporting certain types of events, such as charitable endeavors that mesh with their ideas and help to elevate their standing in the public eye.

For this reason, attending similar events might allow you to arrange meet-and-greet opportunities with business sponsors that could be a good fit for your upcoming event.  Your convention planner should be able to help you scout events that are similar to your own and seek out potential sponsorship by attending.


In most cases, you’re not going to get something for anything.  Even charitable sponsors will want some form of recognition for the money they donate to a cause.  That’s just good business.  If nobody hears about it, it never happened.

If you’re having trouble finding sponsors for your event, consider working with your convention planner on unique cross-promotional opportunities so sponsors can get more bang for their buck, so to speak.  If you get creative, both brands can see an uptick in interest, reach out to a new audience, and still spend less than they might on singular promotions.

Ask Your Event Organizer About Sponsorship Platforms

These days, connecting with the right people is often done through targeted online networking platforms. When it comes to seeking event sponsors, your event organizer can probably help you to utilize established platforms like SponsorPitch, Sponseasy, or SponsorMyEvent, or they may have some knowledge of emerging platforms that could deliver results.

Know What You Have To Offer

Seeking sponsorship is about selling your event.  This means you first need to understand exactly what you’re selling.  Are you able to connect sponsors with an audience that would be interested in their brand, but that they don’t necessarily have access to otherwise?  What sort of access are you offering?

What does sponsorship buy?  Is it merely the placement of logos throughout your event or will sponsors receive prime floor space in an exhibit hall and opportunities to interact with the audience directly?  Will their employees get passes and access at your event?  Further, what are the anticipated returns?  What data can you show to prove past event success and ROI for previous sponsors?

Network, Network, Network.

According to Aurelio De Mendoza, Senior VP – Marketing & Strategic Alliances at AMI, “The importance of networking cannot be overstated when it comes to finding suitable sponsors for your events.  Whether you’re reaching out through social media connections or asking your convention planner to cough up a contact list of known sponsors, you need to work every angle and leave no stone unturned.”

Sponsorships should not be a one-and-done proposition. If you’re going to bother with networking to get businesses interested in sponsoring events, make sure you take the time to build and maintain relationships.  If you host successful events, promote your sponsors appropriately, and deliver returns, you’ll gain allies that you can more easily tap to sponsor future events.

Meeting Planners and Suppliers Converge on Indianapolis at MPI WEC 2018

Meeting Planners and Suppliers Converge on Indianapolis at MPI WEC 2018

AMI recently visited Indianapolis for the 2018 MPI WEC (World Education Congress). Over 2,200 meeting planners and suppliers were on hand at the 2018 MPI WEC to learn new ways to impress and amaze their clients, review the meetings industry best practices, experience the latest meeting technologies, and discover the best new destinations and venues from around the globe.

MPI more than delivered on the tagline of the event at the 2018 MPI WEC, by not just planning meetings, but designing experiences. From the 120 MPH test lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to having lunch (and kicking an extra-point) on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium – #MPI18 went BIG (and fast) and created unique experiences for guests won’t soon forget.

“Let’s be honest, planning an event for meeting planners is no easy task. We’re a pretty tough crowd to impress.” said Paul Steinmetz, Director of The American Meetings Network at AMI, Inc. “MPI WEC somehow found the perfect way to combine one-of-a-kind experiences, top-tier educational sessions and maintain the high-energy environment needed to keep more than 2,200 attendees revved up for the entire event!”.

The completely reimagined open floor-plan layout featured various experiential and educational “villages” located on around the perimeter. From the high-energy pep rallies to the thought-provoking programming (even providing a behind the scenes to the production and AV worlds—allowing access to planners who wanted to see and hear the A/V team in action) and as if that weren’t enough, attendees even had the opportunity to cuddle with puppies at the Paws for a Cause area, sponsored by Visit Norfolk.

When it came time to do business, MPI’s Hosted Buyer Program conducted just over 1,800 business appointments in two days! The logistics of such an undertaking are no small feat, and kudos to the MPI team for making the event run seamlessly. Cloud Touch’s impressive touchscreen display units were on hand to provided scheduling info and serve as the large format timers. It was easy to see how these highly innovative display boards can both optimize and monetize (sponsorships can be sold on the display) your next meeting or event.

Some of the other standout meeting technologies we discovered included:

Immersive a cutting-edge production company that creates dynamic environments for events. Incorporating projection mapping, custom content creation, state-of-the-art AV equipment and a highly skilled team, Immersive creates engaging spaces that transform general sessions and events into memorable experiences designed to ignite your senses.

TLC Creative Special Effects, Hypervsn 3D floating video displays were truly remarkable. Floating video images displayed on LED fan blades create impressive holographic video animations, with real-time functionality allowing it to be changed on the fly. Kevin Bilida, CEO, and inventor of this unique technology said he has recently seen an uptick in use for medical and pharmaceutical meetings, as this technology provides a highly effective way to display DNA chains and molecular level drug attachments.

MPI WEC 18 took home the checkered flag this year by allowing its host city, Indy to provide the perfect backdrop. From the welcome night concert in White River State Park, featuring Indianapolis’ own A Cappella group, Straight No Chaser, to hosting a block party in Monument Square – No opportunity was missed by the MPI team to showcase the best of Indianapolis. Those who attended MPI’s President’s Dinner at the famed Indiana Roof Ballroom were treated not only to one of the most historic and ornate rooms in the city, but also had the chance to watch his colleagues honor (i.e. roast) travel industry legend, and U.S. Travel President and CEO, Roger Dow. The event raised more than $250,000 to support MPI Academy programs. An additional $450,000 was raised through ticket sales to attend Rendezvous, at The Pan Am Pavilion, where Las Vegas’ own DJ Warren Peace kept the high-intensity party rocking late into the night.

For more information on The American Meetings Network and AMI’s Global Procurement Day, please contact Paul Steinmetz, Director, The American Meetings Network at (954) 440-1274 or email PSteinmetz@AmericanMeetings.com.

MPI’s WEC 2018 Recap