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May 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 61 THE CONSULTANTwalked off stage, you fi nd me there waiting, arm outstretched. You stop, grasp my hand, and smile. And I say; "I enjoyed your presentation, and fi nd you very attractive. I wondered if you'd like to come back to my hotel for some really hot sex?"Now, I'm guessing (but prepared to be surprised) that this approach would probably have you stepping backwards and looking around desperately for help. I have to confess that it's an approach that's had limited success for me in the past. (Although there was this conference in Mainz.)I digress. Take Two: This time you walk off stage and there I am, but this time you hear the words, "I enjoyed your presentation and thought you raised some really interesting points. I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss it further, and wondered if I could buy you a coffee?"I can reveal that approach has never failed to start some kind of relationship, and it's what conference and event marketing should be about. We're not selling double-glazing (a purchase made every 20 years, so why not go in hard), so we should be thinking about a long-term relationship, rather than a one night stand. Yet every day I see (and am often subjected to) that kind of 'wham bam' marketing that rarely succeeds. Glossy brochures landing on the desk usually go straight into the recycling; whereas emails that contain genuine news or research will get more than a cursory glance. Invitations to download White Papers or share survey results are also all grist to my mill.So, the moral of the story is that you need to be thinking of how to engage in the AIDA model of communication: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. And that's unlikely to be simply one message, or piece of marketing collateral. It's about playing the long game, wooing and waiting. Or, in chat-up vernacular, a striking opening line, cup of coffee, fl owers, and time for foreplay.The so-called 'funnel', so popular in presentations, works the same way. Many organisations will tempt you by offering a free report before gently reeling you in with a low-cost item and then building up to something with a huge price. But once you've created that essential trust, you can get away with (almost) anything.As for the sudden, unexpected sexual encounter, offered brazenly upfront, they remain few and far between. Even Mrs John will only admit to one surprising session over the washing machine. And that's meant we could never, ever return to Comet.Fascinating AIDAYou need to be thinking of how to engage in the AIDA model of communication: Attention, Interest, Desire, ActionRichard John re-writes the Rules of Attraction to get the right message acrossRichard John is an events industry trainer and consultant. He can be contacted through the Editor.Richard JohnTake a few minutes to bask in the loveliness of my new picture, and imagine this scenario. You've just spoken at a conference, and I've been sitting in the front row, nodding, making notes, smiling as you perform. And after you've Action AttentionInterest Desire

62 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012May THE LECTURERWhether it's antique dolls, beer mats, Titanic memorabilia or sick bags taken from airplanes, collecting is the chosen hobby of millions. My own collection of shower caps taken from hotel bathrooms is legendary. So unique, that I've never met anyone else with the same hobby (although I do occasionally get emails from a chap in Scottsdale, Tasmania who has over 200 sewing kits taken from hotels. But, between you and me, he's a little bit weird).While some collectors, like our friend from Tasmania, pursue their hobby on a fairly solitary basis, most like to get together from time to time to compare their collections. American venues and convention bureaus have long recognised the importance of this market segment, and many have individual members of their sales teams specialising in seeking business from collectors clubs. And the consequences of winning events business from these clubs can be signifi cant. For example, the 2011 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa, 27-30 July, brought together 1,000 collectors of all ages and backgrounds for four days of presentations, competitions and fashion shows, all based on the famous Barbie Doll merchandise. (No, before you ask, I wasn't there).In the US, the task of fi nding these clubs is made easier through the Association of Collecting Clubs (ACC). Its website is compelling, is there anything that Americans don't collect? There are clubs for people with collections of blow torches, doorknobs, Beach Boys LPs, whistles, inn signs. In short, everything from Abbott and Costello memorabilia to Zippo lighters. Before you dismiss this phenomenon as yet another bizarre American endeavor, ask yourself whether there is any evidence that in the UK we are less enthusiastic about collecting? Googling the words 'British + collectors + society' instantly reveals a world of clubs, societies and groups whose members are building up collections of an incredible range of objects and, more to the point, meeting on a regular basis. To choose one at random, what about the British Compact Collectors Society, whose members meet annually to display their collections of powder compacts? Over the years, their annual conventions, open to their 200 members and guests, have been held in Windsor, Solihull, Blackpool, Slough, Warrington, Bristol, Ipswich, Sheffi eld, Cheltenham, Warwick, Bracknell and Peterborough.When you think of the many thousands of collectors' clubs in the UK, it begins to look like a substantial segment of the meetings market, but one which is all too often overlooked by sales staff in venues and convention bureaus. Yet, the annual conventions of groups like these offer a few important advantages to the hosts. For one, these events more often than not take place at weekends, when you most need to fi ll your conference centre or hotel seminar rooms; the attendees usually come with family members who are off spending money in your shops, restaurants and tourist attractions while their other halves are getting all steamed up about their collections of Victorian postcards or Hornby train sets; and, for reasons of economy, these events are often held in second-tier cities. It's not an easy market segment to reach, as most of these clubs are run by volunteers. But no venue or conference destination can afford to leave any stone unturned in their search for business, it may just be worth taking a look at collectors clubs as potential clients.These events more often than not take place at weekends, when you need to fi ll your conference centre mostCollect call Rob DavidsonRob Davidson is a Senior Lecturer in Events Management at the University of Greenwich.Rob Davidson looks at the lucrative market of collecting