BETT is the UK’s largest education technology show. Taking place every 12-months, the show is attended by teachers, school leaders, ICT administrators, local government, suppliers, policy makers and even students. It has in excess of 30,000 visitors during the 4-day event. Timed to fit perfectly with school budget periods, the show presents a great opportunity for suppliers to win new business. Each year, our client Stone Group aims to secure revenue return well over seven figures from its participation and use of exhibition stand space at the show.
Working with Mantis since autumn 2012, Stone Group tasked Mantis with providing PR support for its 2013 BETT show activity. It was a broad brief that would eventually encompass brainstorming ideas for Stone Group’s stand design, recruiting mobile app developers to a “hackathon”, using TV legend Johnny Ball to attract media attention to the hackathon, creating and distributing multiple corporate news announcements and supporting Stone Group’s in-house social media efforts.
The BETT show is a trade show like few others – busy on an epic scale and attended by an eclectic mix of prospective customers from the UK’s policy makers to teachers and students. The days of burly looking sales personnel “manning” an uninspiring exhibition stand with a few glossy brochures are long-gone. Attendees are demanding to be inspired, educated and immersed in the very best that technology can offer them.
The Mantis team approach was simple:
- Take a flexible approach to the campaign so that we could react and respond to any requirement – either derived from the Stone Group marketing and sales team, conversations at the show or by trending media or social media developments
- Create content that was unique and interesting – newsworthy enough to rise above the enormous amount of competitor clamour
- Use our existing media and influencer relationships to drive people to Stone Group’s exhibition stand for networking, relationship building and coverage generation
- Make full use of our own social media connections – own our Twitter, LinkedIN and Google+ followers – to maximise interest in Stone Group’s news and developments, complimenting Stone Group’s own social media activity
The Mantis team brainstormed possible ideas for Stone Group’s 255m2 exhibition stand
- We provided support for Stone Group’s idea to create a live ‘hackathon’ – a session where software developers could come together to create modern useable teaching applications ‘apps’ for classes and teaching. At 3-days, it was the longest hackathon of its kind ever attempted
- Working closely with Stone Group’s hackathon organiser, Milverton Wallace, Mantis sourced app ideas from our existing teaching and education contacts, plus used Twitter to generate interest and app creation requests
- We also posted details of the hackathon to app developer forums; we researched, contacted and recruited developers directly
- In addition to the hackathon focus, we supported Stone Group’s work with Tony Parkin from SSAT who organised a fantastic agenda of industry speakers on the Stone Group exhibition stand. We schedule media interviews with a number of different speakers – including TV legend Johnny Ball, teachers and school pupils
We created, approved and pitched seven press announcements promoting Stone’s presence at BETT, the hackathon, and attendance of TV-legend Johnny Ball at the exhibition stand, partnership with Iansyst and Stone Group’s commitment to offering new technology using the Windows 8 operating system.
Mantis used its existing media relationships to secure interviews – at the exhibition stand and by telephone – with eight important journalists:
- Sam Trendall, CRN
- Judith Burns, BBC
- Charlotte Jee, Government Computing
- Eric Doyle, Channel Biz
- Peter Gothard, Computing
- Laura Barnes, PCR
- Riyad Emeron, ITPROPortal
- Kat Hall, Computer Weekly
The Mantis team secured a meeting for the Stone Group team with Richard Hadfield, Chairman of Intellect’s Education Group to discuss how Stone Group / Intellect could work more closely to benefit its members.
Social media outputs
The Mantis teamed use social media to great effect during the BETT show campaign. We contacted bloggers and forums to share details of the Hackathon including expert education blogger, Merlin John. Merlin wrote this article following attendance to the hackathon.
Throughout the show the team used its own Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to promote Stone Group’s activity, news and show activity. This complemented Stone Group’s own in-house social media activity.
Impact on the business
The mantis team supported the strategic repositioning of the Stone Group brand to incorporate an ‘education services’ focus. Importantly, the number of qualified leads generated at the show was the highest ever – up 20 per cent year on year.