New Movies Have Preview Trailers: What Does Your Upcoming Conference Education Have?


Does your conference education have coming attraction previews?

No, not those stale electronic and printed marketing pieces with descriptions, bios and pictures.

Does your organization provide smart, savvy, provocative short video clips of upcoming education designed to attract buyers?

The Movie Trailer Promotion

When you go to the movies, the first 10-15 minutes before the movie starts is spent on preview trailers of upcoming movies.

Movie trailers serve as short advertisements, commercials and previews for a feature film typically shown at that theater. Historically, those trailers were shown at the end of a movie but patrons were leaving the theater immediately following the film. Trailers were moved to the beginning of the movie and can now even be found on DVDs, Blue Ray and pay per view movies.

Those three-minute trailers are usually high-energy, cleverly edited videos designed to attract us to attend the full length version. Many production companies spend millions on crafting those previews. They even go as far as securing different directors to give it the best spin possible.

Most of us make a quick future purchasing decision based on those three minutes. We look at the emotional tug of the movie, the action, the humor, the context, suspense, setting, the plot, actors and more. There’s a lot riding on those three short minutes.

When an upcoming new movie does not have a coming attraction preview, we question if it’s worth our time and money. We want to see the sneak peek.

Ultimately, we want and need to see coming attractions in order to close the deal. And film producers want and need us to see those previews.

Creating Excited Anticipation With Conference Education Previews

Rarely do we provide learning previews of upcoming attractions notes education researcher Elliott Masie.

Your potential conference registrants seldom, if ever, view an education preview of what they will receive from your conference. What if they could hear the presenter before they made the decision to register? What if they could get a quick context of the content and how it applies to their profession? What if they could see a rapid sequence of the content and the relevant connections?

If they could see an education preview of the conference presentations, it might encourage, or even discourage, them from attending.

In today’s rapidly changing world, potential registrants have a lot of education choices. They can attend live and asynchronous learning opportunities. So how can we help them make the best choice?

Viewing a preview of the conference education could give them an understanding of the experience. They might be able to judge the education’s intensity or restraint. It’s emotional connection or lack thereof. Supervisors might have a clearer understanding of which education opportunities to approve for their subordinates besides a written description and bio.

Is it time to go beyond the conference content description to a richer set of previews? It’s time to create and foster what adult learning expert Malcolm Knowles calls “excited anticipation” prior to the start of the conference education.

Is marketing the conference education something that rests with the marketing department, the meetings department, a combination of both or something different? What do we need to create more education coming attraction previews?

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  1. Terry Coatta says:

    I love the idea of movie trailers for conference sessions. But I would only see it as a small part of an effort to extend the activity and benefit of the conference both prior to and after the conference itself. Because of this, I don’t think that it’s primarily a marketing effort, but instead it’s about building community.

    In addition to movie trailers, imagine that the session leader and potential attendees were able to interact with each other prior to the conference. There would be an opportunity to focus the material for the session on the specific needs of the attendees. Attendees and the session leader could learn about each others’ backgrounds so that when the actual session occurred they’d be ready to hit the ground running.

    I’m sure everyone has had the experience of a really interesting topic coming up during a session, but there not being enough time to really delve into it. An ongoing community structure around the conference would provide the ability for those discussions to live on long after the conference itself has ended.

    Those are just a couple of examples, but in general a conference is a concentrated burst of “community” and I think we’re losing opportunities to take that and make it extend both before and after the conference.

  2. Jim Kelley says:

    The concept of trailers/teasers is a great idea…what makes this really interesting in my opinion is that there are easily applicable through the use of social media. Considering the definition of a trailer, a timely placed update on Facebook or Linkedin would certainly help preview upcoming content. A great example of this was done recently by Neen James who spoke at the PCMA Capital Chapter Planner Forum and about 10-14 days prior to the event she placed a short video on Facebook and the chapters Linked in page. There are many successful best practices outside of the meetings industry that have worked well and helped grow business, maybe we need to be more open and bold about stealing (in the legal sense) these ideas and let them work for us. Godspeed!!!

  3. Jim Kelley partially answered my question, which is where do you get the captive audience for these trailers? In movie theaters, they work because you already have a room full of people interested in seeing movies. I’m not sure how many people would find it on an organization’s social media sites, but it’d be a start. Ideally, though, you’d want to be able to run them at similar industry events to really simulate the success of movie trailers, wouldn’t you?

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      I think the education movie trailers could play at events, webinars and meetings. Why not show a preview of an upcoming education program during a current workshop or training? It makes a lot of sense especially when the organization’s education program is integrated and connects through out the entire year.

      Thanks for adding to the dialogue and raising a good issue too.

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