Setting up book club-style events: Belgium shares experience and tips

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04/09/2013
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The Belgian Advertisers Association (UBA) is experiencing increasing success with 'Book It', a book club-style event launched back in 2009. Book It presents outstanding marketing publications to an audience of marketing professionals who may not have otherwise had the time to read them. Participants come to learn the key take-outs of the book and have the opportunity to ask questions to the author. They also gather for a 'meet and greet' style breakfast and leave the event with a complimentary copy of the book.

Over the past five years, UBA has increased these sessions from one to six per year and the attendance for each event was multiplied four times. The audience depends mainly on the topic of the book; from middle management for very practical books, to C-suite management for more strategic publications. In addition to UBA members, marketers from prospect companies also regularly register, as well as a media owners and agencies. Book It also generates revenue as it is a paid event (with a discounted rate for UBA members).

“When we started, we had an ad-hoc approach; whenever we heard about interesting books that were about to be launched, we got in touch with the authors and they were generally very enthusiastic to present” says Frederic Ackermans, Events Manager at UBA. “Today, many authors reach out to us proactively but we decided to adopt a more structured approach. We now have a direct relationship with one of the main book publishers here. We meet every quarter to discuss the upcoming releases and we make our selection then.”

For advertiser associations willing to create such events in their country, Frederic shares a few tips. 1. Selecting the right author is key, especially in the early days as you will need to create word-of mouth and attract a sizeable crowd. 2. Schedule these events outside of office hours (from example, from 8-9am) and be strict on the start and finish time. 3. And as always, rely on a targeted and impactful communication plan!

For further information, please contact Frederic Ackermans - frederic@ubabelgium.be


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