Marketing marketing marketing

Early on in the work of planning and organizing the congress, we had a rather interesting discussion that went a little like this:

-So, this much time before the congress, we haven’t signed a contract with a PCO, we haven’t made a definite choice of venue, we have no keynote speakers confirmed and no idea where the gala dinner will be held.

-That’s right, what we have to focus on right now is marketing.

-But, if practically nothing about the congress is decided or confirmed, then exactly what are we supposed to be marketing?

It was a tough question, we had to sell the idea of going to a great congress, but we couldn’t promise anything that we weren’t sure that we’d be able to deliver. The first step we took was to decide on a number of core concepts that we wanted to be clearly felt throughout the congress. They were things like CBT community – the social and networking aspects of coming to a congress, associations – the two host associations for the congress as well as EABCT in a broader perspective, as well as the passion for CBT that many researchers and clinicians feel and express.


To package the core concepts of the congress in a suitable form, we contacted an art director to get some help on creating a graphical profile for our congress. We provided information about the congress theme, the kind of feel/vibe that we wanted to promote, and we got examples back that we could discuss and give feedback on. Pretty soon we had a congress logo that we were happy with, and a set of graphical profile documents which had information about which colors, fonts and more that would define EABCT2016. We wanted this profile to be a guiding document in as many aspects of the congress as possible, so that the congress visitor would get a feeling of coming to a well thought-through event.


A first-announcement website was made once we had decided on the venue and congress theme, so that people could interact with us in some way. We also started going to other congresses and meetings to market our coming congress, and we wanted as much interaction with everyone as possible. One way of doing this was to put up a medium size plant in our booth, and ask people to write their wishes for EABCT2016 and hang them in our plant. Another node of contact has been the newsletter that many have signed up for. We have also made short videos with people from around the world where they talk about the 2016 congress in Stockholm. We thought that these videos would be good for marketing purposes later (in fact we had started making these already at the 2012 congress in Geneva where Eiríkur Örn Arnarsson and Tom Borkovec agreed to participate). All videos that we’ve made can be found here.


In den Haag

Torun, Erica, Frida, Jens, Marie, Björn and Tadeusz at the 2014 EABCT congress in the Hague

Once most of the keynote speakers had been confirmed, we started working on a folder about the congress. In it we included all the information that we had about the congress, but also many photos and recommendations about Sweden and Stockholm – this was to meet the dual functions that these congresses have for many participants: keeping up to date with the developments in the CBT field, and going on a vacation.

Folder front page

Second version of the EABCT2016 marketing folder


We wanted to provide an easy way for the people we met to show their passion for CBT, and get a chance to interact with them as well. The way we did this was with temporary tattoos, which were handed out from our booth at various congresses and meetings. With the motive “I heart CBT”, these have been wildly popular around the globe! Even though we were a bit skeptical at first, we now believe it was the right decision not to have the name or logo for our congress on the tattoos, but instead a clear and direct message that people would associate more or less to our congress since they got their tattoos from us.


All in all, we’ve had a lot of fun marketing the congress and interacting with everyone who has showed an interest of going to Stockholm. Our fantastic keynote lineup has been a great help in marketing the congress, and once we had a preliminary scientific program online, the congress has more or less been marketing itself. We have thought of our marketing as the congress starting very early, since meeting up with some part of our marketing has been the starting point for many on a process of thinking and planning that will end with coming to the congress in Stockholm. Now it’s up to us in the organizing team to make a congress that meets the expectations that our marketing has given…

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