I promise this post won’t be riddled with official mumbo jumbo.
::insert grin here::
That being said I do want to talk with one of my MPI colleagues who manages our expanding hosted buyer program, and our efforts to make sure that it measures up to our member standards and to the expected ROI of participants. And when it comes to hosted buyer the official party line here at MPI is:
“MPI encourages members and industry professionals evaluating their 2011 live events opportunities, and whether to participate in hosted buyer programs, to take a strategic approach to what's best for their business and suits their needs now and in the future. “
And we really do. Business is picking up and budgets are tight. At the same time we hope that all the hard work going into planning for our hosted buyer program with our World Education Congress (WEC) really pays off and we impress our members.
I think I’ve lost count of the planning meetings, versions of package plans, room layouts, budget reviews and drafts of communications pieces, brochures and just general “stuff” you need to get a program like this off the ground. But I think we all can feel that way some times. Right?
Veleisa (Leisa) Patton on our team here at HQ in Dallas, recently sat down with Meaghan Ferrazza, events manager for the WEC Hosted Buyer Program. Meaghan (pronounce mee-ann), explains what makes the MPI program unique in the industry and a leader in developing business strategies for our members.
Leisa: Most people know by now that the traditional WEC tradeshow is gone, and is being replaced in part by the Hosted Buyer Program. What are the advantages of the Hosted Buyer Program?
Meaghan: Our Hosted Buyer Program has the specialized attention needed for those who focus on North American business and beyond.
Leisa: And by specialized attention, what do you mean?
Meaghan: I mean you get my undivided attention and all the support of the MPI events team. In this program, buyers are pre-qualified to bring business from various markets directly to eager suppliers who are ready to discuss business. The Program also speaks to individual ROI.
Leisa: ROI is a popular buzz word nowadays. How is this program delivering greater ROI than before?
Meaghan: For suppliers, primarily because there is no longer a tradeshow tethered to the HB Program. So we’re delivering qualified planner/buyers who we know need your services without all the costs that go into designing, building and staffing a tradeshow booth.
Leisa: Okay, so what sets the MPI program apart from other association programs?
Meaghan: The main thing is that you don’t have the expense of a tradeshow in order to participate in our hosted buyer program. That frees up supplier participants to invest in other networking areas of WEC to expand their presence and brand recognition.
Now the difference for planners is that buyers are pre-qualified, and must bring at least two (2) pieces of business to discuss during their appointments. Pre-show communication allows both planners and suppliers to view profiles and create a schedule of appointments based on mutual business needs.
Leisa: So what if someone is hesitant about going the hosted buyer route? I’m talking about the skeptics. Are there other opportunities to meet qualified planners?
Meaghan: When a participant looks at their overall WEC experience, they should see that participating in any of the 12 other networking opportunities being hosted by MPI, the MPI Foundation or event sponsors allows them to meet talented professionals. The Hosted Buyer program goes the extra step by creating a space in which one-on-one conversations happen that lead to real business with someone you know is already matched to your business objectives.