As the technology landscape continues to evolve, industry events have emerged as a great way for tech marketers to reach buyers and shorten the sales cycle. Events provide a fantastic opportunity to engage with your target audience, showcase a product, and build brand awareness. It’s a critical component of a holistic marketing strategy – in fact, 68% of B2B marketers agree that live events help generate the most leads.
Successful event marketing means doing your homework before you invest in an event. It’s about knowing where your targets will be and what types of events they value most. It’s also about understanding what they want to get out of their experience and ensuring they leave with a lasting impression of your company and products.
To help you get started, here are five easy tips to help you improve in your event marketing approach. For a complete deep dive, we encourage you to download our MarketingFit Events Guide.
1) Target Personas
To help define the best events for your goals, you must take a strategic approach to determine how to reach your target audience. When selecting the regions and cities (and ultimately events!) to focus on, you should rely on your customer data to identify target accounts and active sales opportunities. From that data, field teams can make an educated decision on the events where those prospects or customers are likely to attend for deeper conversations.
Also, don’t forget that event preferences shift by title. For instance, IT executives tend to attend events with broad themes as they are focused on overarching strategies to advance their business. Meanwhile, IT pros are more inclined to attend technology-specific events related to their daily tasks and responsibilities. This is important to keep in mind depending on who you are targeting. To learn more about this along with the benefits of different event formats (national, regional, custom), be sure to check out our annual Customer Engagement research.
2) Bring the Right People
When selecting staff to attend an event, choose people who can speak from the appropriate business or technology perspective based on the event’s theme, content, audience, etc. Your on-site staff should be prepared to address business challenges, market trends and how your solutions can help solve tech pain points. Look beyond your sales team to find the perfect fit! For example, if you’re investing in an event focused on specific technologies, bring a technical person (like a sales engineer) who can speak to the technology and go several layers deep on it.
3) Network with a Purpose
Prior to the event, it’s important to review the registration list and create a formal list of at least 15-20 targets including notes on each individual and their business role. Include other pieces of information that can be used as ice breakers or add color to the conversation. You can also work with the event facilitator beforehand to learn where your prospects will be on-site and ask them make soft introductions.
Once the event kicks off, be certain to take advantage of the dedicated networking times. You should split your staff between your display/booth and the common rooms where additional networking takes place. Your on-site staff must be comfortable introducing themselves to attendees and carrying conversations with senior-level executives; they cannot wait for the conversation to come to them!
4) Customize & Tailor Content
Consider customizing content and weaving it throughout the event experience to appeal to buyers. From a content marketing perspective, stitching together events with other forms of media is where you can make connections and create the omni-channel experience. So, if you’re telling a story through a digital campaign, then that needs to extend out to, and be the backdrop of, the experience at a face-to-face event.
Furthermore, if you’re taking advantage of a speaking opportunity, take the time to tailor your content to fit the specific needs and interests of your audience. As a speaker, you must be able to articulate a story in way that not only resonates, but also captivates your audience. The last thing the audience wants to hear is a generic or self-serving sales pitch – be creative and use real-life examples and case studies when possible.
5) Timely Follow-Up
For post-event, following up with relevant content for attendees can make a big impact when it comes continuing the relationship and generating future business. Again, ensure the content is tailored to their needs and correlates with the topics discussed during the event. When applicable, personalize your outreach efforts based on the conversations that took place. Additionally, marketers should hold salespeople accountable. If marketers are handing over leads, there should already be a 30/60/90-day plan in place.
Ultimately, it comes down to every business to select the right combination of events based on industry, target personas, content and price. Be sure to take a look at our robust events portfolio and explore sponsorship opportunities. We coordinate more than 700 different events each year, ranging from executive dinners to multi-day educational symposiums.
If you’re looking to host your own event, we can help with that too! Our Custom Event Services team can fully execute on specific parts, or all, of your event to match specific marketing goals. We’ll take care of every step along the way, ensuring engaging content, a high-quality audience, and flawless logistics.
For more event marketing tips and research insights, don’t forget to download the MarketingFit Events Guide.