‘In terms of experience, you can achieve that bit more with a live event.’

Image is the perfect platform for anyone wanting to know something about marketing, communication, social media and technology. Dozens of articles, infographics and videos are posted every day on the versatile platform by hundreds of different experts. Since 2013, the organisation has taken another step forward and now also shares its knowledge at live events. We talked to Alieke Ingerman, Events product manager, about their largest event at Jaarbeurs.

Sharing knowledge offline  

An online platform that chooses to share knowledge offline doesn’t sound particularly logical, but according to Ingerman, it’s all about the experience. “You can share a huge amount of knowledge online, but in terms of experience, you can achieve that bit more with a live event. It will always be the best way of connecting with other people. There are some great applications, such as ‘chatting’ and videocalling, but talking face-to-face is different.”

Media Plaza: suitable for a large plenary session

Last February, Media Plaza at Jaarbeurs was packed for Frankwatching’s largest event: SocialToday. The event is devoted exclusively to social media and everything associated with it. Frankwatching deliberately chose Media Plaza. Ingerman: “We usually use Media Plaza or Supernova. The room we choose depends on the type of event. Supernova is perfect, for example, for an event with different partners and stands, whereas Media Plaza has a large plenary room (the Polar) where we can present to large numbers of visitors simultaneously. This event had approximately 650 visitors, which is why we chose Media Plaza.”

Variety of information

Visitors to SocialToday draw inspiration from different tracks & topics and interesting keynote presentations. The keynote presentations took places in the Polar room and were followed by all visitors simultaneously. On the day itself, visitors could also choose which expert session they wanted to attend. Ingerman: “We have one theme, but the programme is extremely varied. For example, there were expert sessions about commercial videos, influencer marketing, taking photos with your smartphone and the influence of psychology on social media. Our goal is that visitors can set to work the very next day. In between the keynote presentations and the different sessions, individuals could visit the foyer for inspiration. We kitted out the foyer in a festival style, with all sorts of cool things associated with social media. There was even a photo booth, where you could create a GIF and share it online, and lots of people did that.”

Knowing what the target audience wants

It’s no secret that the Frankwatching events were a resounding success: the event sold out in no time. In part due to the positive reactions, the organisation decided to expand its events portfolio from four to eight events a year. Ingerman: “Over the years, we have consistently evolved in terms of live events. Nowadays there is a high demand and we have a good understanding of what is needed, so we are going to organise several events at which specific topics will be tackled.’

Unique location

Ingerman has decided to organise all of these events at Jaarbeurs. “Jaarbeurs is a fantastic location. Our visitors come from all over the place – from Texel, but from Belgium too. Utrecht is ideally located. It is easy to park at Jaarbeurs and it is close to the railway station. The Jaarbeurs venues are so large that we can still offer good solutions, even with today’s ‘one-and-a-half-metre society’. We can also modify and expand our programme, because we have years of experience with virtual events, for example, webinars. We enjoy the relationship that we have with Jaarbeurs. You are assigned your own contact person, who is aware of everything. That creates an affinity and makes the cooperation pleasurable. That is why we will also choose Jaarbeurs for our new events.”

Photos by Michiel Ton

Article Claire van Berkum