What Is Event Marketing?
Event Marketing in business is the act of hosting a gathering that gives your company’s buyers, executives and prospects the opportunity to engage with your brand face-to-face – both in-person (with seminars/workshops etc) and virtually (live streaming of these events). There has been a rise in virtual events in recent years, which is extending the reach for B2B organisations to engage prospects despite their geographical location. Attendees can sign up online and are given login details to join sessions online no matter where they are from.
Events also hold the added appeal of providing the opportunity for your business and your attendees to build their professional networks.
Event Marketing facilitates the promotion of causes that are central to your organisations expertise. Events give organisations the opportunity to demonstrate their authority and skill by sharing insights and information with their audience.
By initiating dialogue between your business and individuals from other businesses you can begin to communicate how your offering could serve to solve your prospects business problems.
Why Should I Include Event Marketing in My Marketing Mix?
Event Marketing = Lead Generation!
Research conducted by the International Data Group indicates that executive events are among the highest yielding lead generation strategies. A well-executed marketing event has the ability to advance buyers through multiple stages of the sales funnel, in order to deliver qualified, sales-ready leads.
This is because hosting an event gives your business the potential to position your business with highly relevant people who may otherwise be entirely unaware of who you are and what you do. What’s more is that you have the power of knowing that those who register and attend your event are there because they actually want to learn more about the topic you’ve promised them and that you specialise in.
What’s more, leads generated through Event Marketing present organisations with the opportunity of significant return on investment compared to other generation methods, based on a cost-per-lead basis:
Meeting a prospective customer at an exhibition versus in the field saves an organisation $943 on average! [Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 2014]
It takes an average of 4.5 sales calls to close a sale without an exhibition lead, and only 3.5 sales calls to close a sale with a lead from an exhibition. [Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 2014]
Event Marketing is built around the idea of providing a solution for troubled businesses prospects that is based around your product or service offering as a solution. Chances are, many of those who attend will be troubled buyers that are looking for some clarity. If you can provide that clarity for them at your event they are much more likely to explore the solutions you can offer them, given that you’re the one who helped them.
99% of exhibitors find unique value delivered by B2B exhibitions which is not provided by other marketing channels. [Center for Exhibition Industry Research, 2014]
3 Tips For Hosting a Successful Marketing Event:
1. Tailor your event:
In order to effectively position your organisation to your audience’s industry or business problem ensure your event has a clear theme or focus that draws the specific crowd you will be best suited to service.
It is important to understand that the vast majority of those you invite will not attend your event, this is particularly true if you are inviting a “cold” list (i.e. those not aware of you already). As such, use of multiple touch points to promote your event is crucial! Experts recommend interacting with your invited audience a minimum of 5 times in the lead up to your event in order to maximise the number of attendees.
The most used and most effective form of promotion for Event Marketing is email. However, some other great promotion options include your businesses website, physical mail and word-of-mouth.
3. Have a communication plan:
Be sure you have a communication plan, post-event, that involves following-up up and keeping in regular contact with attendees, as well as those who were invited but did not register.
Every prospect you invite to your event is entered into your sales funnel for nurturing. By keeping in contact with these leads and prospects after the event you will minimise the chance of them exiting the sales funnel and ensure they understand the problems you can solve for them, keeping you front-of-mind for when they next come across that problem that you have the power to solve.
“Events are the original social experience. It’s the immersive experience centered around a central topic, idea, or belief, shared between the collective audience and presenters, which makes events so central.”-Matt McGowan, Ad Strategy, Google
Keep in mind that the scale of your B2B event will vary depending on your budget, your available resources and your target market.
Skilled B2B marketers are always looking for new ways to generate leads and build brand awareness. Staging a targeted, branded and unique event, seminar or conference presents the opportunity to expand from “business as usual” to offering a point of difference.