In majority of the B2B organizations, spends related to events participation holds the largest line item in the marketing budget. However, often ROI from events related spend is difficult to justify. We all agree the brand visibility or awareness gets a boost, but pipeline and conversions remains a concern. A properly executed event drives both revenue and creates positive mindshare.
Through this blog I wish to share three best practices which can be adopted by marketers to drive positive business outcomes through event participation:
- Choose the right events
As your budget is limited, ensure events you decide to participate are aligned to your business strategy. Create a list of potential events – do a google search, look into competitor websites, speak to sales team to identify regional CIO event, industry event.
Go through each of the event websites, and determine the answers to the following questions:
- Type of event – Is this event organized by industry association, or product vendor or trade media publication house or analyst firms or some other third party?
- How is this event aligned to your business strategy? – Is this aligned to your product or theme in which you company is invested upon?
- What are we trying to achieve by participating in the event?
- Is the focus to increase brand awareness?
- Is the organization making a product announcement?
- Will the participation advance some of the deals in the sales cycle?
- Is it general leads/interests around our product/service offering?
- Audience demographics – Get access to previous year’s attendee list – segment it based on industry, titles, to decide if this event is attended by your target segment
- Do we enough time to execute this event? – Minimum of two to three months are required to execute an event, so plan!
- Do we have sales teams buy-in? – Check if the event is relevant for their set of customers. Check how many customers have operations in the city where the event is being planned.
- Define measures of success
Remember – What gets measured gets managed. Metrics will help you align your marketing tactics.
Given below is a sample for measures of success for an event:
- Align appropriate marketing tactics in line with the stage of the event
For a successful event, it’s important to align marketing tactics in line with the stage of the event.
Before: The run up to the event is a crucial component for the success of the event
- Choose an appropriate theme for the event – preferably in-line with the conference theme
- Evangelize about your event participation within the organization. Ensure your sales team is aware of your participation.
- Complimentary customer passes as a great tool for your sales team to reinforce the importance of relationship
- Plan social media campaign evangelizing your presence, speaking session and blogs
- Send event related communications to your contact database
During: The actual moment of the event
- Plan for raffle to attract booth visitors
- Ensure the right mix of SMEs and sales are present at your booth to engage with your customers
- Most of the events will have a lot of customer speakers, hence plan with your sales team to identify the customers you want to target. Ask questions in their speaking sessions, walk up to them post their sessions, appreciate the talk, connect your relevant solution to their area of interest and ask for opportunity to share additional information
- Tweet about your presence at the event. Tag speakers with their quotes. Highlight positive comments from the conference
After: Having a strong post event follow up strategy is important for generating leads, opportunities and revenue.
- Engage our inside sales team for following up with the booth visitors
- Leads from your target accounts can be handed over to your sales
- Remember its takes four to five months of efforts to converts leads to revenue. Hence have a regular check on the progress to achieve new customer acquisition and current customer expansion
- Develop a lead nurturing plan leveraging marketing automation technologies to execute a compelling content marketing strategy
Based on my experience if the above mentioned strategies are adopted – high chance of your event being a successful one.
Note: Views are my own and don’t reflect the views of my employer
About the author:
Soumyadeep is a marketing leader with over 10 years of experience. He has worked with multiple leading companies like Wipro, NTT DATA Services (Formerly Dell Services) and Adobe, and has a proven track record of demand generation through digital marketing and raising the brand profile of the organization.
He is a strong proponent of content marketing and channel convergence. He believes that modern marketers should develop content that is “channel appropriate” and strategized for multiple channels rather than silos.
Soumyadeep holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Pune. Beyond his regular work, he prefers to spend time with his family and read about digital marketing technology.