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Posted By
Paul
Bowhay
paul.bowhay@cognitomedia.com

Only a few weeks to go before Money20/20 Europe, the most influential fintech conference in the fintech ecosystem. Are you prepared? Have you planned your activity?

Cognito has an excellent track record at Money20/20, having worked with a range of clients, from large banks to emerging FinTechs to help them maximise their exposure whilst at the event. We are already clients prepare for this year’s Money20/20, devising creative and stand out brand campaigns, setting up media briefings for CEOs and developing social and digital content ahead of the event. Our London and Amsterdam team is helping clients to develop impactful content and engaging with the media to secure opportunities pre, and during, the event.

With 18,000+ number of delegates expected to attend this year, the opportunities are plentiful. To help you plan for the conference, here is my advice and top takeaways for the show:

Media relations is not a one-size-fits-all approach

A lot of times when we’re speaking to clients, the question is ‘Should we do anything if we're not participating or speaking?’ The answer depends on what you can or want to say, and to whom you want to say it. For companies operating in and around the fintech sector, there are few greater windows of opportunity for external communications and brand-building than Money20/20. Just because a company doesn’t have a booth or doesn’t have a presence on stage, doesn’t mean they cannot get PR value or media attention.

A journalist will start considering what meetings to take 3-4 weeks away from the conference. The most in-demand reporters will likely be proactive in booking their meetings, which means they may hold out on filling up their calendar with companies if they feel they are not a priority.

Journalists are masters of their schedules and priorities. When we’ve run media relations campaigns at Money20/20, we’ve secured pre-booked meetings with journalists but they are often subject to change during the week depending on moment-to-moment changes in the reporters’ priorities. That also means last-minute opportunities can arise. Having boots on the ground to identify opportunities and connections on the fly and manage interview flight risk is a necessity to make the most of the conference.

So, you’ve got the interview scheduled, where do you arrange it? Money20/20 has an impressive press room that is available exclusively for journalists, but it might not be ideal for all meetings. The press room gets very busy and can be too loud. If it’s a simple meet and greet, then the conference floor might work better. If it’s a more formal interview where the reporter will want to take notes and be seated, then certainly it’s a great space.

Up your networking strategy

Networking at Money20/20 is frantic – more so than most conferences. The conference floor is always busy but dies down somewhat during sessions. The coffee and lunch breaks are obvious time slots to target for meetings but are high in demand. Do avoid times when the big and popular sessions are happening. Yet, it’s after hours where perhaps the most rewards can be reaped for networking. On the floor it's a case of prioritisation and yes, that word again, preparation.

It’s not inconceivable to have many different types of interactions and introductions over the week. Not every meeting is going to be memorable, which is why connecting on LinkedIn to follow up later is critical to ensure that each journalist or prospect you bump into on the conference floor will remember you.

Don’t be afraid to be creative on LinkedIn

The role that social media plays at conferences is different now as there is less desire to capture live sessions, I recommend investing more in LinkedIn activity. At last year’s conference, there was plenty of DIY filming taking place on the conference floor. It’s easy and cost-effective now to do quality short video interviews of your people and clients, which are edited and posted the same day. It gives a much better perspective of the conference vibe to your audiences not in attendance.

X, the artist formerly known as Twitter, isn’t redundant. It is still the number one when it comes to a journalist’s stream of consciousness. You can gain good insight into what a journalist is writing about and which sessions they find interesting. For media relations in particular, the platform still has an essential role to play in your Money20/20 strategy.

Finally, don’t underestimate the size and busyness of the conference

You don’t appreciate the size of the conference until you arrive - the conference floor is huge and getting to and from sessions to meetings can be a conquest on its own. The need to plan is vital in overcoming the sheer size and getting to meet all your partners, clients, prospects and media.

Madhvi Mavadiya, Head on Content, Finextra:

“Cognito’s longstanding relationships with journalists really come into play at industry events like Money2020 – and it is only these relationships that can ensure that the biggest stories, speakers and companies are highlighted in news coverage. The team at Cognito’s expertise across regions, industries and topics is unrivalled and the support that they provide event organisers, exhibitors, speakers, attendees and press at the event is rare to find, particularly because Cognito holds all these groups’ best interests at heart and have the knowledge of how to satisfy all their needs at the same time.

“As Money2020 has evolved, the constant for a journalist has been Cognito – from Las Vegas to Amsterdam and Bangkok, with brief stints in Copenhagen and Singapore, I have been able to rely on Cognito’s presence at Money2020 to provide me with access to those who have the most interesting insights to share. Equally, event organisers can rely on Cognito to ensure the best moments are captured by the press and shared.”

As always, Cognito is here to help and happy to advise as you build your Money20/20 Europe plans. Please get in touch with me at Paul.Bowhay@cognitomedia.com.

Paul Bowhay is a director in London