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29 Jan 2024

Empowering marketers at the AEO Forums by Jessica Hockman

Empowering marketers at the AEO Forums by Jessica Hockman

What better start to the year than getting together for a day of marketing inspiration and innovation with peers and colleagues from around the industry.

With the theme “Power in You” at the forefront, the Marketing Stream was designed to provide everyone in the room with tangible take aways they can action immediately, be it on a campaign, with their team or their own personal development.

My ask, as the Chair, was that everyone takes the many opportunities throughout the day to meet new people and make new connections. I am delighted with my 50+ new Linkedin Connections from the day and can’t wait to see the content they share.

With the room already a buzz from the inspirational keynote by Sarah Furness (most wondering where they can get their hands on an adult sized batman T-Shirt), it was time to kick-off the marketing day which welcomed an eclectic mix of subject matter experts specifically selected to help us marketers navigate through our challenges and opportunities – and guess what – no matter which company we work for we have a lot in common!

Some of my key takeaways from the brilliant sessions include:

- Navigating the marketing maze: Mastering marketing agility

Agility and Efficiency matter, by adopting more agile ways of working we can take advantage of opportunities, increase speed to market, prioritise work more effectively and improve quantity of activity.

Small tweaks and changes can make such a difference. We spend so much time in meetings, make them more effective. Consider invitation list (more people, more lines of communication – 14 people – 91 lines of communication – let that sink in), purposeful agenda and respect people’s time.

We just can’t do everything, consider the MosCoW principle – what Must we do, what Should we do, What Could we do and What we won’t have time to do!


-The 5 Why’s –As a team spend time asking yourself why until you get to the heart of a problem. 
-7 So-What’s – Taking a different approach, take time to understand some of the consequences of any solution or recommendation you’re putting in place.

How understanding human behaviour will give your event marketing strategy the competitive edge

Jamie Wallis, Communications Consultant – ASP shared a scary fact to remember - it takes 2.6 seconds for someone to decide whether your website has the information they are looking for.

Perception is Reality – Take time to consider how you want your audience to feel about your brand, rethink your imagery (A busy show floor image may be great for your exhibitors but does it do the same for your visitors)

Website design and layout - Website visitor has 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of your brand…

  • 48% of visitors say website design is No.1 way they determine the credibility of a business
  • 37% users say poor navigation & design are the main reason to leave the website
  • First impressions of a website are 94% design/layout related
  • 38% of visitors will stop using website if they find the layout unattractive

Don’t write words write music – words are powerful – choose them well!

TEST! LEARN! OPTIMISE! And Question Everything!

The power of mentors and accelerating your career

A first for the AEO Forums, in collaboration with Women in Exhibitions and the AEO we were excited to launch this interactive Round Table mentoring session. 

14 table hosts, also Women In Exhibitions members, spent the following hour steering conversations across the below themes.

  • Building your personal brand
  • Getting the best out of the sales and marketing relationship
  • Coping with the event cycle
  • How to build a network

A multitude of ideas were shared, taking inspiration from across the different organisations represented on the tables. The biggest outcome of the session was the opportunity the AEO Forums presents to bring together Sales, Marketing and Operations together for more networking/knowledge sharing sessions instead of keeping the entire day separate so watch this space!

Shaping the future with AI for event marketers

Where do we even begin with AI adoption.

Alex Velinov, CTO Tag, introduced his framework to evaluate and find solutions of implementing AI in workflows:


  • Spot Potential (Evaluate current process, activities and tasks – what can be done by AI)
  • Pick Appropriate Models (Choose best solution, Foundation Models, Pre-built tools)
  • Apply and Adapt (Integrate into your workflow – ensure you include a human in the loop_
  • Ready the Team (Deliver technical training and set the AI Policy)
  • Keep Evaluating Progress (Reevaluate regularly)

And Remember….

You are not going to be replaced by AI

 You are going to be replaced by those who know how to use AI

Putting the copy in copywriting: using the voice of your customer to be more persuasive

2 Universal Human Truths:

-We want to feel heard

-We like people who are similar to us

Diane Wiredu, Founder - Lion Words, reminded us about the Voice of Customer (VoC) – “The way the customer talks about your offer or service and their experiences”

Copywriting is a conversation between you and the reader so write copy the reader can see themselves in.

We have so much data available from so many sources that contain our customers voice – we simply need to:

-Message Mining (social comments, online review, sales calls, support emails, testimonials)
-Surveys (Post show surveys, thank you pages, on-site polls)
-Interviews (Onsite, calls, video)

Look for:
-Pains & Struggles
-Unmet Needs





We are missing such a big opportunity here if we are not taking it and flipping it.

And Finally:

What's in your stack? Exploring the best MarTech arsenal

One of the biggest questions I hear marketers asking each other is about “what tech stack they use.”

I was excited to be joined by some familiar faces on-stage to share they key must-have tech.

For Sam O'Connell, Marketing Director - UK & Global – Easyfairs, his key ones include:
Gleanin (he also hacks it to use for job posting and newsletter sign ups), Line-Up Ninja (Conference production management), (Project Management), Shout-Out (Video Editing), Grip (Event App).

For Felicia Asiedu, Marketing Director - Cvent Europe, other than the wonderful Cvent (event session titles/speaker bios), she also highlighted (project Management), Midjourney (AI Image creation), Canva (AI Image creation), Glarity (Summarises youtube videos), (suggests workflows), Descript (record, edit video and podcast content)

Then looking at it from a non-marketing angle, Adam Parry, Co-Founder & Editor -EIN, shared, DeepL (Document Translation) Text Blaze, (save copy, where you end up sending the same copy)  Dripify (Linkedin automation to help improve profiling), Tango (creates how-to guides/walk-throughs).

There are so many other free AI tools out there to try! Have a go before they start charging.

Thank you again to all my amazing speakers and everyone who took the time out of their day to join. I hope you all left with pages of notes and loads of new Linkedin connections – I know I did!