The New Retreats: Mommy Conferences
Conferences like Blissdom, Mom 2.0, The Startup Princess Academy and BlogHer are attracting hundreds of moms and a significant group of sponsors as well, including Wal-Mart, Weight Watchers, Quaker, Disney and Sony.
"Despite the economy, we're expecting record attendance and sponsorship at this year's conference," says Jory Des Jardins, co-founder of BlogHer. The two-day conference expects over 1,100 bloggers and marketers to attend, and has added a one-day agenda for businesses focused on best practices for reaching women in the quickly evolving social media world.
So, how can marketers best position their brands at such events?
1. Be Creative: Many marketers are looking beyond conference sponsorship opportunities and working direct with attendees. At last year's BlogHer conference, McDonald's sponsored a late-night cheeseburger party in one attendee's hotel room which turned out to be a huge hit.
2. Sponsor a Brand Advocate: A number of conference attendees don't go on their own dime - they are sponsored by a brand. The key in sponsoring an attendee isn't to expect them to show up emblazoned with your logo and constantly pitch your products. Rather, have them advocate on their own in natural ways both at the events and on their blogs. "By participating in events like these, marketers are spreading their messages via trusted messengers in ways that are far more cost-effective than traditional media," says Ciaran Blumenfeld, a brand consultant.
3. Listen: Listen to the attendees. Take the opportunity to interact with your target consumers, gauge their thoughts on brands and get feedback.
So why, when businesses are scaling back on attending conferences, are these niche events seeing a surge? For the moms attending, it not only gives them valuable insight but also a retreat-like setting to get away.
Blumenfeld and a few others are taking advantage of this fact by creating a pre-Blog Her pampering event for attendees. Participants will take home swag bags filled with sponsor products from the event, which features massages, hair styling and manicures.
"Brands are lining up for a chance to be a part of our event because they are connecting with the women in a meaningful way --by giving them a much-needed opportunity to be pampered," adds Blumenfeld.