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Luke Bilton at Confex: how to grow digital revenue to 25%

A marketplace solution which can be rolled out across an entire client base is the first step in boosting digital revenue, ExpoPlatform has told International Confex.

Luke Bilton, our chief growth officer, was speaking at an opening session of the event in London on Wednesday when he said the “long tail” segment accounts for around 70% of customers and could raise virtual income to 25% – if handled properly.

The major and mid-tier accounts should then be offered higher-value sponsorship of new products which have been developed, he added.

Event digital revenue

Luke, speaking at the Digital Event Theatre, said: “To grow revenues from 2% to 25%, you should start with the long tail of exhibitors, which can account for more than 70% of digital revenue.

“Only then should you offer higher-value sponsorship of the new products you’ve created to your bellwether and mid-tier clients and get their buy-in to help you develop and grow.”

Confex is the leading exhibition for the events industry, bringing together the largest gathering of its professionals in the UK.

One of the major topics at this year’s show has been the move towards community marketing.

This approach has flourished over the last 18 months, when organisations were forced to rethink how they connect and inform their audiences.

It now provides a model for organisers to create year-round revenue and heighten their brand awareness using digital tools.

Luke shared how this development was helped to be facilitated with the progression of event technology providers.

These platforms are able to gather an estimated 20 times more information than a traditional face-to-face show – and then be used to personalise experiences.

Speaking in his How to Accelerate Digital Revenue Growth session, he added: “By moving to a 365-day engagement model, new revenue opportunities can be created around branding and sponsorship of continuous content.

“With 20 times the data points you get online compared with face-to-face metrics, you can create more personalised experiences and tailored programmes.”

Many leading event producers have seen the benefits which can be brought through digital offerings.

This does not mean that physical shows will become a thing of the past – rather they will remain the highlight, but can be enhanced through virtual events and engagement.

Those who have been willing to remodel their businesses are now shaping their budgets to be made up of around 25% digital – whereas it is reported to have been closer to 2% in 2020 – to increase monetisation opportunities.

Luke’s previous comments set out how an organiser should target the “long tail” segment of clients, however he also believes staff should be upskilled to understand the new offerings available.

He added: “Retrain your teams to sell a monetisation journey and offer an a la carte menu of simple packages with more detail should the client require it.

“If you can re-educate sales teams to focus on pre-event, in-person and post-event digital opportunities year-round, you will achieve digital success and grow revenues.”