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2022.7.25 Interview

How to succeed with B2B Conference in Japan

Today, Colin and Yuko talked about holding conferences for B2B business in Japan. At this article, we introduce the current status of COVID-19 in Japan, how the process is to do physical conference events, follow up activities, and case studies.

Video Summary index:
- Current status of B2B marketing events in Japan, and physical vs online event.
- Process of conferences from planning to follow up activities and major differences between Japan and the US.
- Follow up activities. Prior to the event, you need to plan what follow-up activities you will conduct.
-Case studies

introduction - Yuko Fukuyasu and Colin Snow

How is the current status of B2B marketing events in Japan in the COVID-19 situation?

  • - B2B physical events are returning, and there’s a lot of energy from people who like visiting events.
  • - People are feeling a little tired of online events.
  • - Both Colin and Yuko got inquiries and talk about doing physical events this year.

They feel that things are pretty much back to normal. Everybody is still wearing masks however people are allowed to travel.
They thought a lot of B2B activities are coming back in Japan even though we're still in the COVID-19 situation. A lot of global people are coming over from overseas to Japan as well, and a lot of global people are coming to lecture and speak at events right now. Things are changing, and things are becoming more active than we had been before. They said that they feel a lot of energy from people who like visiting events right now.

Colin went to an exhibition event this morning, and he saw a tons of very energetic people despite the fact that they can check out all of the information online. He was surprised to see foreigners. Exhibitors and visitors, they must be thinking that they want to do an in person event or physical event.

- What do you think is the key point of doing physical events compared to online events? -

Online events have their online advantages, however they said that they thought people are kind of tired of attending online events right now because they had only one choice; to attend online events.
Physical events are actually good for meeting people face to face and giving them the chance to talk to each other, exchange their information and talk more about business. The two thought about how people are more interested in actually visiting or participating in physical events right now. Yuko said that she has been getting a lot of inquiries and discussion about doing physical events this year with her clients.
Online events were the only choice under the COVID-19 situation, however now, it is one of good solutions to talk to more people no matter where they live.

Process of conferences from planning to follow up activities

- Are there any differences in the conference process from planning to follow up activities between Japan, Europe, and the US? -

They said that the process is the same for globally.
What is the goal of the event? Who do we want to reach? What do you want attendees to get out of it? Planning the theme and contents, selecting an event venue, considering how to get business partners to participate as sponsors. Planning customer attraction, media or SNS marketing activities. Also, to plan how will we follow up after the event, etc.
We may discuss the above with our client, or client may have already confirmed them. Anyway, once these things are decided, we discuss and decide many things together with the customer. Therefore, preparation takes time for a large-scale event.

- How do they think about differences between organizing events in Japan, Europe and the United States? Are there any major differences? -

  • - Timeframe
  • - In Japan, the host company would like to be really nice to visitors.
  • - Last minute changes in preparation are the same as in other countries.

Yuko said that in Japan, it takes time for large-scale event execution. The host company would like to be really nice to visitors, speakers and sponsors.
For example, at the reception desk, staff waits for visitors, greets them with "Hello" and "Thank you for coming today," and hands them badges and materials.
In the U.S., on the other hand, visitors themselves do both check-in and take their own badges. Another example, in Japan; there are guide staff in many locations so visitors can ask for directions and places to go. In the US, visitors check the map themselves and move around the venue.

Last minute changes in preparation often happen in Japan. We will do our best to accommodate as much as possible, and if it is difficult, we will propose an alternative plan. We believe that if we know why the change is necessary, we can propose a good alternative. And one of the important things is to manage the scope of impact.

Follow up activities

Yuko shared her experience and knowledge of follow up activities. She said that there are also a variety of activities for follow up. For example,

  • - To create something like a website page or have the video posted on the website for those who were not able to come to the event or who want to see some presentation again.
  • - To use these contents to approach prospect customers or target audiences afterwards.
  • - To arrange a writer on-site going through a lot of sessions and writing reports, so, after the event attendees have something to read and understand what the session and the event was about.
  • - To write a brochure or website blog page for case study content.

The important thing is to plan before the event who you want to follow up with and how you want to follow up with them. Once that is determined, we will know what we need to prepare before the day of the event.

Case study

Bigbeat has over 25 years of experience in B2B marketing communications and advertising. We have worked with head quarter members based in the US and Europe, or worked with APAC member for their APAC conference tours. Colin worked with a client. The person was in charge of APAC marketing. He said that the client had already arranged the venue, but he and his team did everything else. They set up the smoke show for the keynote, as well as the recording for the video broadcast.
He said that it was a rewarding job.

Yuko said that she has done a lot of local versions of global events. The global event is done in the US or Europe, and in many cases it was required to re-design the event or contents for the Japanese market. In the COVID-19 situation, we continued to support inbound clients in our Japan office and online to organize localized events.
Re-design for the Japanese market is one of our strengths, as we have staff who can speak English and who are familiar with both the Japanese market and Japanese culture.