Vanity Fair does it at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Blender does it at the VMAs. Publishers are no strangers to piggy-backing parties off of successful events. In September, Conde Nast sponsored Fashion Week's Fashion Rocks concert and hosted the party that followed.
But while most of those events feature official participation by magazine partners, Jeff Gisea, president of digital publisher FierceMarkets, says his company has taken the piggy-back party a step further by launching networking parties around other producers' tradeshows and conference events. "A lot of our customers are business marketers that want to market themselves around tradeshows," he says. "There's no better way to serve our core audience and promote our publications. We also make money, generate buzz and brand awareness, and build our subscriber lists."
FierceMarkets threw one of its networking parties last month in Los Angeles during the CTIA WIRELESS I.T. & Entertainment conference. The company's "Oasis" party at the Marriott hotel's Pool Gardens was attended by 1,300 people, many of whom either read or advertise in FierceMarket's publications, including FierceWireless, FierceGameBiz and FierceMobileContent, and most of whom were also attending the CTIA conference.
The party was sponsored by Mobitv and wireless business mBlox. Gisea says the sponsorships defray the cost of throwing the party and gives FierceMarkets' advertisers the opportunity to market their products in-person. With party attendees required to leave their business cards at the door, the party also generates leads for sponsors.
Although FierceMarkets does make money off the party, Gisea says the profit amounts to ancillary income at best. "Let's put it this way, you'd have to throw 10 parties to make what you'd make off one executive summit," he says. "It's really about generating leads, creating a buzz for ourselves and having fun."
Gisea says he's never received any criticism from the sponsors of the tradeshows and events during which he throws parties, about muscling in on their audience. "We have really good relationships with all the tradeshows we attend and we make it clear that we're not associated with the trade show," he says. "And we always throw the party off-site."