The 8th annual BlogHer Conference in New York is bigger than ever with 5,100 attendees, compared to 4,200 in 2011, and exhibitors have to try hard to attract the attention of bloggers with interactive marketing techniques.
The conference is a dream for marketers because it is less expensive than launching an ad campaign and it reaches so many bloggers, many of whom have thousands of loyal followers. And as long as the writers adhere to Federal Trade Commission guidelines, which state that “bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service,” they'll be in the clear and remain good word-of-mouth marketers.
The three-day event, which also has 130 sponsors, 30 more than last year, and 228 speakers, 51% of which are women of color, offers brands a great opportunity to increase word-of-mouth marketing and build brand ambassadors. BlogHer also has such a diverse mix of brands that attend the conference, from Samsung and Chuck E. Cheese's to Wholly Guacamole and non-profit organization Bankrupting America.
While giving out samples is still a popular method at BlogHer, the women at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on Thursday evening seemed most attracted to the booths that interacted with them beyond providing free products (although that did help lure them in).
Nestlé's Nescafé Memento coffee brand gave out coffee samples to attendees, but the booth also had a magician, who drew in the crowd with card tricks and floating coffee cups. Dole's booth had tastings of new food products, as well as a fruit carving station, where passersby could watch chefs turn fruit into works of art. The Dannon area, which was offering bloggers an array of samples and introducing its Greek yogurt, had a photo booth for attendees to jump into and dress up in boas and other accessories. Some other brands were giving away big gift items or holding raffles for large prizes.