IDG reveals keys to an effective event marketing strategy to drive sales and engagement

Boston, Mass. – March 6, 2019IDG Communications, Inc. – the world’s leading tech media, data, and marketing services company – releases event marketing insights from the 2018 IDG Customer Engagement Survey [click to tweet]. In recent years, industry events have emerged as an increasingly important part of a holistic marketing strategy. Organizations are allocating more of their marketing budgets to in-person events, using the events platform to showcase products, build brand awareness, and drive sales. IT decision-makers (ITDMs) agree that events are valuable, particularly when it comes to learning about new technologies as well as specific vendors.

Tech Buyers and the Event Experience
The state of business is transforming as organizations shift towards a digital-first approach. Organizations are adjusting their strategic outlook, adopting new technologies to improve the customer experience and generate revenue. Yet as this transformation unfolds, 79% of ITDMs have reported difficulty in locating information and services to help meet their business needs, and many are turning to events to fill that gap.

Events create an educational environment conducive to peer interaction, vendor networking and knowledge sharing that is simply unmatched. This sentiment is shared by ITDMs as 90% have attended at least one industry-related event in the past 12 months. When determining which events to attend, nearly half of ITDMs (46%) expressed a preference for technology specific events – whether that be at the national or regional level. Security (60%), cloud computing (55%), IT services (45%), and data analytics (42%) are topics currently generating the most interest from ITDMs.

ITDMs Value Vendor Interaction
Vendor interaction is also top of mind for ITDMs when selecting events to attend. In fact, 71% of ITDMs attended an event in the past 12 months where they had the opportunity to interact with vendors. Moreover, enterprise ITDMs (1,000+ employees) ranked vendor presentations at events as their top information source during the purchase process.

Events provide an ideal opportunity for face-to-face engagements between IT buyers and vendors, leading to lasting business relationships between the two. When seeking strategic advice, ITDMs (54%) place the highest value on in-person peer connections. “ITDMs look forward to events where they can engage with reputable vendors with deep industry knowledge,” noted Adam Dennison, SVP & General Manager, IDG Events and Publisher, CIO. “These face-to-face conversations build rapport while on-site demos can showcase the strength of products and services.”

The opportunity to engage with vendors ranks in two of the top five reasons why ITDMs attend events. Specifically, ITDMs listed the top benefits from attending an industry event as: meeting with industry experts (57%), seeing/trying new products (57%), being introduced to new vendors/offerings (53%), bringing value back to their business (50%), and the ability to meet with/ask questions of vendors (49%).

Targeting ITDMs Through Events
When analyzing the study data closer, it is critical to note that event preferences do shift by title. IT executives tend to prefer events with broad themes as they are focused on overarching strategies to advance their business. Meanwhile, IT professionals are more inclined to attend technology specific events related to their daily tasks and responsibilities. For businesses using events as part of their marketing strategy, it is important to select the right combination of events based on industry, target personas, content, and price.

National events run for multiple days and are premium in scale, content and brand exposure. Given the time and travel cost commitment, national events typically attract a senior level audience creating a great opportunity for sponsors targeting IT executives. According to the Customer Engagement research, 52% of IT executives have attended a national event in the past 12 months.

Regional events are increasing in popularity as a way for sponsors to engage with ITDMs at a lower cost and shorter time investment. These events are usually limited to one day where sponsors can engage with a large, local audience helping to build their network. The price point also allows marketers to participate in multiple events a year while targeting the right geographies for their sales focus.

Custom Event Approach
Similar to regional events, custom events enable tech marketers to pinpoint audiences and deliver content specific to their interests and goals. Many organizations will choose to host their own custom events, serving as the only vendor involved. This allows an organization to be seen as the thought leader on a topic, creating an excellent opportunity to share their position on this trending topic and build strong business relationships.

From intimate dinners to educational roundtables to activity-based networking, there are many options for custom events. Marketers should select the tone and style that will create the right level of audience engagement based on their KPIs.

“The desire for targeted events is contributing to a changing landscape,” continued Dennison. “We’re seeing more vendors opt for customized events where they can effectively engage with a target audience. This is an area where a partner, like IDG, can help. Our Custom Event Services (CES) team can fully customize any event to match specific marketing goals. We’ve made efforts to expand our content and speaking services such as creating custom agendas or managing an entire CIO track.”

Businesses should identify the events that best fit their needs and implement a calculated strategy to maximize their investment. Learn about IDG’s opportunities to get in front of the right tech decision-makers, click here for our event offerings.

About the 2018 IDG Customer Engagement Survey
IDG’s 2018 Customer Engagement Survey was conducted among the audiences of eight IDG brands (CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, InfoWorld®, ITworld®, Macworld®, Network World® and PCWorld®) representing IT and security decision-makers across multiple industries. The survey was fielded online with the objective of understanding the various types and volume of content consumed throughout the purchase process for major technology products and services. It also looks to gain insight into the preferences of IT decisions-makers with regard to IT solution provider contact and follow-up during the purchase process. Results are based on 1,200+ global tech decision-maker respondents.

About IDG Communications, Inc.
IDG Communications connects the world of tech buyers with insights, intent and engagement. We are the world’s largest media, data and marketing services company that activates and engages the most influential technology buyers. Our premium brands, including CIO®, Computerworld®, CSO®, PCWorld® and Macworld®, engage the most powerful audience of technology buyers providing essential guidance on the evolving technology landscape.

Our global data intelligence platform activates purchasing intent, powering our clients’ success. IDG Marketing Services creates custom content with marketing impact across video, mobile, social and digital. We execute complex campaigns that fulfill marketers’ global ambitions seamlessly with consistency that delivers results and wins awards.

Alex Kastrinelis
Marketing Specialist
IDG Communications, Inc.