A3 Communications reviews the main European events for storage companies

PR agency discusses pros and cons of IP Expo, Powering the Cloud and VMworld Europe

A3 Communications, the leading storage and virtualization PR agency, today released its historical review of the main three events for the data storage industry in Europe: IP Expo, Powering the Cloud (SNW Europe, Virtualization World and Datacenter Technologies) and VMworld Europe. While all three events now take place in October, this is where the similarities end as there are marked differences that organizations should carefully consider when drafting their event strategies.

While traditionally companies have tended to weigh a trade show or conference on the strength of the number and qualities of leads it has the potential of generating, over time a number of additional elements has entered the decision-making progress and these have now become key selection criteria. Among these are the focus of the event on specific markets or technologies (in order to connect with the right prospects, customers, partners, etc), the quality of the independent speakers (that will attract delegates) and the PR opportunities (that will allow exhibitors to be noticed and to increase their brand awareness).

Looking at the latter, the three events could not be more different:

•    IP Expo: this show has been growing year after year and so has its press programme and this year bills itself as the UK’s number one enterprise IT event. Taking place in London it tends to attract UK-based influencers only but for companies whose PR programme stays within the nation’s boundaries this trade show is certainly a good platform. It must be said however that the quality of the press and bloggers in attendance is quite varied, with tier one targets flanked by very small outlets that tend to carry very little weight for most technology companies. Also, given the fact that most of the registered influencers are relatively local to the venue of the event, the rate of non-shows needs to be borne in mind. Having said that if an organization is looking for a UK-focused show, with an appealing turnout of writers, IP Expo is a very good bet.

‘As a UK company this is one of our principal markets and therefore IP Expo represents a great opportunity for us to showcase our brand,’ said Peter White, director at Storage Fusion. ‘It allows us to talk to prospects, meet with existing customers and network with colleagues, while also letting us update our most important press targets.’

•    Powering the Cloud: this event, which started as SNW Europe, first appeared over ten years ago and has been evolving to include the Datacenter Technologies and Virtualization World conferences over the past five years. Taking place in Frankfurt the event attracts a large number of German-based targets although over the past few years the proportion of journalists, bloggers and analysts in attendance from other countries has grown significantly. The quality of PR attendees as well as the very small percentage of non-shows make Powering the Cloud the most suitable event for any company looking to reach targets from multiple regions under one roof while the number of writers from each country is lower than at local shows (i.e. the number of UK targets at Powering the Cloud is lower than it is at IP Expo), this is the most cost- and time-effective event for organizations wishing to carry out a pan-EMEA launch for example. Its PR programme receives extremely positive feedback year after year from both sponsors and targets.

‘Our event strategy is of paramount importance to our growth in EMEA, and it is critical to understand the strengths of each show in order to focus our resources where it most makes sense,’ said Luanne Dauber, Director of Marketing at Pure Storage. ‘For us VMworld Europe is an opportunity to concentrate on securing leads, whereas Powering the Cloud is where we also carry out a large number of briefings.’

•    VMworld Europe: this is the only vendor event of the three and this gives rise to the main distinction. Most of the press and bloggers present at this show are there courtesy of VMware and therefore the vast majority of their time is spent in briefings with this vendor. This means that while the number of journalists, bloggers and analysts present is very high, it is quite difficult for the exhibitors to secure a significant number of briefings.

‘VMworld Europe is a vendor event and therefore it is VMware’s prerogative to invite influencers to attend and to maximize their presence on site with multiple presentations and one to one interviews. This is not an independent show where access to these attendees is part of the exhibitor package’ said Paul Trowbridge, managing director of event outsourcing company EVITO.

However if a vendor is looking for just a handful of briefings with specific targets VMworld Europe might be the right place given the large number of press, bloggers and analysts in attendance to choose from.

Carly Stephens, events manager at Angel Business Communications and responsible for appointments including the Information Infrastructure Conference, the Managed Services and Hosting Summit and Powering the Cloud said ‘A successful event must follow the industry as this develops or it risks losing its appeal this means that we need to constantly seek feedback from vendors, independent speakers, end users and other delegates in order to put together an event that they all want to participate in.’

‘We have been working with our clients to schedule briefings at IP Expo, Powering the Cloud and VMworld Europe for years and there are definitely pros and cons for each event from a PR point of view that should be carefully considered by any organizations as they review their event strategy,’ said Federica Monsone, founder and principal at A3 Communications ‘For us the conference in Frankfurt remains the strongest appointment having secured over 200 meetings for our clients at this year’s event.’

Disclaimer: A3 Communications is responsible for the PR programme for Powering the Cloud.

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