If your marketing spend is greater than 6% of your direct conference expenses, your fan base and positive word of mouth (WOM) marketing is lacking. Authentic WOM marketing, received from a trusted colleague, is hands-down the most powerful form of marketing. Conversely, , negative WOM can kill your conference.
We really like the 2nd article below from Forbes. The author does a great job of explaining the shift from marketing's traditional four P's (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) to today's more effective three E's (Engage, Equip, Empower). To successfully implement a WOM strategy, conference organizers need to first earn trust and then provide share-worthy content. The most effective WOM strategies will activate the individual, not the company.
Lots of people think that the rise of social media provides incredible opportunities for growing WOM. The experts are saying that most WOM still happens off-line (one to one). Sure having a high Klout score adds credibility, but don't count on that juice to significantly convert premium conference participants.
This doesn't mean that you should ignore social channels. They'll definitely help improve your reach and amplification through ease of sharing.
How can you better use WOM to grow your conference attendance?