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Cannes 2016
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How to Rustle Up New Biz Leads at Cannes

J. Walter Thompson London, 3 months, 2 weeks ago

J. Walter Thompson London’s Carmen Bekker on making the most of queues, low-commitment facetime and other brilliant tips

How to Rustle Up New Biz Leads at Cannes

As we all know, the Cannes Lions Creativity festival is a fantastic collection of the greatest creative talent, producers, marketeers and start-ups on the planet all set against the backdrop of the French Côte d’Azur and its beautiful blue sea.

With all this being on offer, we should take advantage of the prime new business opportunity to cast our nets in these waters and exploit the fact that we are rubbing shoulders with a veritable who's who of the industry.

So, if you want to make sure you come back with a fistful of business cards or a few good meetings, or even further commitment from a new or existing client here are a few ideas:

- Get shortlisted and win an award. Yes, it’s a toughie, but nothing beats the new business drum louder than awards.  If you win, everyone wants to talk to you. Job done.

- Go where your clients and prospects are.  From the Gutter Bar to Facebook Beach to the Carlton Terrace, you need to work out where they are and make sure you get yourself there and get talking to people. 

- Host an event and invite them along. Maybe ask them to speak or to DJ. From intimate lunches to big parties it is effective and fun. But you need to be creative in what you’re offering and what their involvement might be.

- Plan in advance.  It’s not too late to email today and see if clients are in Cannes.  Offer them a 30 minute sunset drink on their way elsewhere. Low commitment from them but you still get 30 minutes of face time.

- Are there other ways you can help out? Offering accommodation, to host a meeting if you have a nice residence for the week, put on some transport to get them from Nice to the Croisette. The experience can be stressful if you’re busy, so alleviating that stress is good win.

- Buy a pass. If you have the luxury of a pass then don't waste it, make sure you are up early and getting out and about and attending the conference. It is fascinating, enlightening and gives you a great opportunity to make new contacts. Find the presenter afterwards and ask a question. Engage them.

- Look at the events surrounding the conference, many media owners and agencies have fantastic talks in their lounges and they always have great client speakers. This is an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand what’s on client minds and a great opportunity to talk to them afterwards.

- Talk to everyone. Seriously, everyone. From the person standing behind you in the queue in the Nice taxi rank (or helicopter queue to those of you who go in style) to the person sitting next you in the Palais. There are a lot of queues in Cannes, make the most of them.

So, in one of the world’s most creative conferences, there is a wealth of opportunity floating around in those luscious blue waters just waiting for those bold enough, dedicated enough and talented to wade in and hook a prize catch.

Carmen Bekker is Managing Partner and European Marketing Director at J. Walter Thompson