Interview with Mait Palts
Why are conferences necessary?
How successful are conferences in making a brand or product known?
Organizing a conference gives you a good opportunity to show your audience, may it be your clients, partners or employees, your competence and credibility. It is important to carefully plan the theme, schedule and extra curricular activities in accordance with the various audiences, as leading expectations is key when organizing a conference. A disappointed participant is one who nobody wishes to have and regaining trust may be tremendously hard. Hence organizing a conference can be a very good method to get noticed and reach various target groups, but if you haven’t thought it through it can immensely backfire.
What is there to gain for the organizer?
Mainly attention, but their reputation will definitely become stronger and better as well.
Who has more to gain – the participant or the organizer?
Hopefully they will both gain just as much, but if the conference is constructed well then the organizer has definitely more to gain. This only happens of course when that is their wish and they have made it their purpose. The organizer must remember however, that the participant has to always feel that they are respected and well taken care of. Only then can the organizer be successful.
“A well thought through preparation is key.”
How important is to target international markets when having a conference?
You always have to think through who your audience is. If your clients and partners are outside of Estonia, or you wish to expand there, then you definitely have to market your event internationally. If you wish to target Baltic States or Scandinavia then that has been made quite easy. The transportation links are good and Estonia is well known. An international conference definitely requires a more thorough preparations and there are much more questions to answer, but it’s nothing too complicated. It’s necessary to think about all the practical details, even concentrating on your own needs – accommodation, transport, translations, conference materials etc.
What kind of an influence does a well organized conference have on export and international partnerships?
It depends on the company’s actions and ambitions. A well organized event will definitely have a positive and long lasting effect. Much is dependent on how well the company can take advantage of it. For example if you wish to become a competence-center in a certain field, then it would make sense to make follow-up events and move towards your goal, to become a yearly meet-up place for your fields specialists. It’s also reasonable to think about organizing events with partners and gaining supporters.
What is usually achieved with organizing a conference?
It depends on the goal – who wishes to promote a new product or highlight a new service, a conference can be excellent for that. Who wishes to gain attention or better their reputation then a conference can help with that too. One very viable aim can be to motivate – either of clients, partners or employees. One should definitely not forget that in addition to finding new customers you have to hold on to your current ones. Expanding your client base can also be one of the aims.
Why should a small business think of organizing a big conference?
Even though a small company must always think about expenses and evaluate what there is to gain, they always can expand their client base and put emphasis on branding. If a company is small, it doesn’t necessarily mean it low capability. Also a small company can have an international reach, be very well known and have products that are world renowned. Everything is possible.
What kind of success stories can come from a well organized conference?
Every company aims to be noticed and a conference will fill that need. A small company who has just started can always hold a conference together with someone else or just begin smaller. If you think it though then you can achieve a lot more with that than with just sending out a press release.
Why are holding conferences in Estonia important for Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry?
If an outstanding conference will help Estonian companies to become successful and put them on the map, then Estonia as a whole has something to gain from it. Every international conference in Estonia means many international tourists, who will spend money here, but more importantly as a result Estonia will become more known. As a small country we must always contribute more than big nations to make ourselves seen. You can never know how many of the participants of a conference will also come here later on to spend their vacation or to do business. It is important to remember that people, entrepreneurs, not companies, do business. People have emotions and feelings, and everything depends on that.
What should a company, who has never organized an event, think about if they wish to do so?
Most important is a well thought through preparation. You have to think and play through all details. If you are organizing a conference for the first time then hire the help of professionals, this way you can spare yourself some serious head ache and guarantee that the result is worth the effort. One negative detail, however trivial it seems to yourself, may be very important for the participant and influence the general emotion. People with experience will help to avoid such mistakes and will make an event that you wish to have. This way you can in addition to the pressure enjoy the conference itself and don’t have to think about all the technical details.